SHARE
COPY LINK

CHEESE

Babybel offends disabled children with ‘mental’ slogan

Cheese company Bel is apologising after a summer advertising campaign sparked a threatened boycott of its products from the disabled peoples' unions.

A marketing campaign sparked outrage at the beginning of the summer when some of their products aimed at children, like Mini Babybel, came with a free toy.

One of the free toys was a stamp, with the slogan written underneath: “Holidays for the mental!”

The French National Union of Associations of Parents of Mentally Handicapped Children, Unapei, called for a boycott of Bel products on Monday, which include Boursin, Leerdammer and Laughing Cow cheeses.

Speaking to local paper le Parisien, Bel director general, Etienne Lecomte, said: “Bel absolutely recognises this message is extremely tactless and apologises to disabled people.

“We’re conducting an internal inquiry to find out who is at the origin of this mistake, even if it is clear they did not intend any harm.

“We’re very sensitive to the problem. We have a high number of disabled people working for us in our factories,” adding that he had also apologised personally to the Unapei.

Christel Prado, president of Unapei, said: “We have to stop using words that don’t correspond to reality.

“Children could feel they have the right to reuse this terminology when talking to a mentally handicapped child.

“We cannot imagine the damage this could cause. On Facebook, a few are already adopting the Babybel “holidays for…” slogan to discriminate against the homosexual community.”

Bel have stopped all production and distribution of the promotional toys in question.
 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CHEESE

Why is everyone in France talking about Mont d’Or cheese today?

Mont d’Or cheese is a French treasure you can only find at a specific time of the year. But why's that?

Why is everyone in France talking about Mont d’Or cheese today?
A Mont d'Or cheese. Photo: AFP

Today is the day!

September 10th marks the beginning of the sale of the famous Mont d’Or cheese in France.

This rich cheese with a rich history borrows its name from the highest point of the Doubs département (located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in Eastern France) and goes way back since it was already mentioned in the 1280 Encyclopédie des Fromages (the Cheese Encyclopeadia).  

 

You can also find it under the name Vacherin, but rather in Switzerland than in its original region.

Though it is much loved, the Mont d’Or cheese is also much awaited as it can only be savoured from September 10th to May. Here’s why.

A seasonal cheese

The Mont d’Or was first created after peasants looked to create a smaller cheese with their “winter milk”, as the production was reduced during the coldest months. A raw milk that, according to the Fromagerie La Ferté, gives it a “texture that offers a soft and creamy consistency without being too runny”.

It can only be produced from August 15th to March 31st, hence why its appearances in dairies are seasonal.

Consequently, it became a winter cheese and could not be produced in the summer since it can’t handle hot temperatures. During spring and summer, where milk is more abundant, Comté cheese is made. 

READ ALSO: This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese

Specific production process

But other than being unobtainable during the sunny months, its making process also follows a list of specifications since it has both the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée and the Appelation d’Origine Protégée.

These designations attest to the authenticity of the product and of the savoir-faire of its producers while protecting its name not only in France but in the entire European Union.

The Mont d’Or can then only be produced in a designated area of 95 Haut-Doubs municipalities – all at least 700 metres above sea level – and made at of raw milk from grass-fed Montbeliarde or French Simmental herds.

A woman cutting the spruce straps that circle the Mont d'Or cheese. Photo: AFP

The cheese is also supported by a circle of spruce wood to provide it from running. After at least a 12-day maturing (during which the cheese is scrubbed daily with salted water), the Mont d’Or terminates its ripening process in a slightly smaller spruce box that gives it its wrinkled crust as a nod to the mountain it took its name from.

But these many specificities do not prevent producers from delivering (on average) 5,500 tonnes of Mont d’Or each year.

SHOW COMMENTS