Canada Cracks Down On Cheese Smuggling Problem

Camembert Cheese

Photo: grongar via flickr Creative Commons

Canadian authorities announced Thursday that three men, including a Canadian police officer, have been arrested for running a cheese smuggling operation over the US border.According to a report from the Niagara Regional Police (NRP), the group had bought and distributed over C$200,000 over nine months for an estimated profit of over C$165,000 (approximately $168,000 in US currency). They purchased the cheese in the USA and smuggled it across the border without playing customs fees, before selling it to restaurants in southern Ontario.

CBC had reported on the investigation earlier this week, revealing that the scam involved  cases of “brick” cheese — a common pizza topping — forced into vehicles and smuggled across the border. Smugglers could expect to make up to C$2,000 a trip.

According to the BBC, the black market for cheap American cheese exists due to the restrictions placed by the country’s dairy board and tight regulation on the import of US cheese. An article in the Vancouver Observer last year observed that “a 300-gram block of old cheddar was (in Canadian dollars): $3.58 in Washington, $4.85 in London, and $6.99 in Montreal”.

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