Cheese - additional information
Cheese-making came to North America with the English and French colonialists. Colonial farmers produced cheese at home on a personal scale until the mid-nineteenth century, when cheese factories began to emerge in the United States. Many sprang up in the rich farmlands of Wisconsin, and the state remains a top producer of cheese to this day. Thanks to its large bovine population, Wisconsin is also a top producer of milk.
In recent years, controversies have sprung up within the U.S. cheese industry, particularly regarding ties with European cheese makers. The European Union argues that American cheese makers should no longer be allowed to use classifications associated with European regions, such as Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano, on grounds that such a ban would protect the reputation of these traditional cheeses. American cheese makers would then have to find alternative names for American cheeses produced in the same manner as their European counterpart. Some see this ban as a way for European cheese makers to corner the American market.
Americans have been consuming cheese at a steadily increasing rate since the turn of the century, and market forecasts predict this trend should continue. The grilled cheese sandwich has seen some resurgence in popularity, perhaps thanks to a marketing campaign by Kraft aimed at getting every American to make one more grilled cheese sandwich per year. All manufacturers of sliced cheese stand to benefit from this trend.