FRAUGHT FROMAGE

—French cheesemakers warn that restaurant closures and a downturn in international trade have caused a 60 percent slump in sales of cheeses — from Camembert to Roquefort. A 5,000-ton surplus could rot. Cheesemakers are looking at desperate measures, ranging from destroying tons of luxury stock to deviations from the strict rules required to win a gourmet label, Eddy Wax reports. The coronavirus broke out during the seasonal peak of European milk production, and the drop in demand for high-value cheeses led farmers to create a glut of more storable dairy products such as butter and milk powder. “There are producers experiencing drops in prices that are catastrophic,” said Michel Lacoste, president of the National Council of Appellations of Dairy Origin, a group for producers of the 45 French cheeses protected by the EU’s lucrative geographical indication label. “Today it’s the France of 1,000 cheeses that is being threatened.”