Friday, January 16, 2009

This kind of thing gives cheese a bad name...



From Wikipedia: "Casu marzu is a traditional sheep milk cheese, notable for being riddled with live insect larvae. Although outlawed there for health reasons, it is found mainly in Sardinia, Italy on the black market...

"Several food safety issues have been raised in relation to Casu marzu, including anecdotal reports of allergic reactions and the danger of consuming cheese that has advanced to a toxic state. In addition, there is some risk of enteric myaisis, or intestinal larval infection. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea. Piophila casei larvae are very resistant to human stomach acid and can pass through the stomach alive, taking up residency for some period of time in the intestines and causing stomach lesions and other gastrointestinal problems. The larvae have powerful mouthhooks which can lacerate stomach linings or intestinal walls as the maggots attempt to bore through internal organs...

"There are several other regional varieties of cheese with fly larvae in Europe. The most similar is found in Piemonte, Italy, where ... goat-milk cheese is left to the open air until Piophila casei larvae are naturally laid in the cheese. Then it is aged in white wine, grapes, and honey, preventing the larvae from emerging, giving the cheese a strong flavor. In addition, other regions in Europe have traditional cheeses that rely on live arthropods for aging and flavoring, such as the German Milbenkäse and French mimolette, both of which rely on cheese mites."

Via Boingboing

4 comments:

Pete said...

"Blessed are the cheese-makers..."

Rockstar said...

Isn't mimolette the stuff we had at Xmas?

Buyo said...

It is indeed! (Though, happily, the mites spend their time on the outside, I think, carving intricate patterns into the rind.)

Rockstar said...

Yiks! glad I did not spot them doing their stuff!