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Mar 26, 2008 08:13 AM

Government Cheese

Is there any way to buy this cheese?

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  1. Isn't that essentially Velveeta or any other pasteurized process cheese (aka
    American cheese)?

    1 Reply
    1. re: verily

      Not quite the same as velveeta which is a cheese product
      Government cheese is a step up into processed cheese and is also kosher:

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. What's special about it? I'm just curious.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Rene

          Government cheese is the ONLY way to make El Paso's famous (best crap you'll ever eat drunk) CHICO'S TACOS!!!!

          1. re: amysuehere

            Oh man, that's one of the few things I miss from El Paso!

            1. re: katybz

              A friend put it best - it's the best cr-p you'll ever eat

          2. re: Rene

            It melts great, a lot of people like the taste (me for one), makes pretty good cheesey sauces for things like nachos and stove top mac & cheese, etc

            1. re: hannaone

              To me there is nothing special about it. When you have to stand in line for it just to feed your babies when their dad won't pay child support, you never want to look at it again.

              1. re: thecountryrose

                I remember the long lines waiting to pick up my families share from the food shelter. The powdered milk. block of no name butter, white boxes that simply said breakfast cereal or flour or sugar. Six years of lines.
                Still like that cheese block though.

          3. Government cheese (usually pronounced variably as "guv'mint... gub'mint... or "gummmit") is great stuff and very practical.

            We covered lots of details about it last year in this thread:


            1. I used to find it, along with Government peanut butter (like Jiff, but better) at my local Aldi.

              11 Replies
              1. re: FoodieKat

                Aldi is a commercial chain, right? How is it selling commodities made available to low-income people under government subsidy programs? I am presuming that those commodities are not to be sold, but used by the rightful recipients. Anyone have further information?

                I, as a taxpayer, would not be happy to know the program is being so blatantly abused. (I expect hidden abuse, such as individuals selling/trading their commodities. That's people, after all.)

                1. re: alkapal

                  I haven't noticed Government cheese at my Aldi.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    The subsidy works both ways, for dairy farmers and low-income end users. In some years there is a huge surplus and the cheese would otherwise be discarded. When you see it for sale commercially, it means the amount earmarked for the needy has been more than met and the Gov't is recouping its investment in the program rather than let it sit in a warehouse, taking a complete loss. I think that was instituted under Clinton, but it may have been Bush I.

                    It also has a much better texture than most commercial American cheese.

                    1. re: hill food

                      thanks, hill food. good to know. would you recommend a primer on how the dairy subsidy program works, end-to-end, so to speak?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        sorry, don't know the exact details, but the way I understand it is,

                        ag subsidies have been around for a while, originally to stabilize food prices (keep them up to a certain level) and (I believe) promote land-use conservation. understandably popular in some locales. the cheese program was intended as a way for the gov't to get something for the money. turned out to be so successful that by the mid-late 80's there were huge stockpiles of the stuff, more than could be used before it rotted. so IIRC in a cost-conscious effort the surplus was traded to the commercial market.

                        try searching the USDA website.

                        1. re: hill food

                          those dairy and other subsidies distort the market, but are so politically popular where the subsidies enhance income.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I'm kind of torn, I appreciate a free market, but w/o them I think we'd have switched to an entirely Big Agribusiness system years ago.

                            and I might be wrong on some of those details, but pretty sure I'm on track with the general idea.

                            1. re: hill food

                              thanks hill food. like your posts.

                              1. re: hill food

                                don't bitch about nuthin'
                                except Big Sugar.

                      2. re: alkapal

                        Dunno, but I swear they did sell government cheese. It was labelled differently of course, as Aldi's 'generic' brand, but trust me. It was guvmint cheese. There is no mistaking it. Velveeta it ain't.

                        Hill food, last time I shopped at an Aldi store, running errands for Grandma, this would've been around the time of Bush I, up to the beginning of the Clinton era, so I think you might have something there in regards to when government subsidized foods started being sold in supermarkets (well, stores like Aldi at least). I recall a lot of the 'generic' dairy and cupboard items at Aldi had that very basic-looking white label, just like government products did back in the day. Do you know if those subsidies are still in play?