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Global demand for food and fuel is rising, and competition for resources has widespread ramifications. We all eat, so we all have a stake in how our food is produced. Our goal is to provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on things like climate change, food safety, biofuel production, animal welfare, water quality and sustainability.

Illinois Man Charged With Stealing 42,000 Pounds Of Muenster Cheese

Seems cheese crime is booming: Today we get news that an Illinois man is being charged with trying to steal 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese from a Wisconsin creamery. Last year we had news of the "mozzarella mafia," which was smuggling American cheese into Canada and selling it for a third of the price.

In the latest incident, WISC-TV reports that Veniamin Konstantinovich Balika, 34, allegedly drove his semi truck to K&K Cheese in Cashton, Wis. According to authorities, he provided fake documentation and the company loaded roughly $200,000 worth of cheese onto his truck.

WISC reports:

" 'This is the first time this has ever happened to us,' said Kevin Everhart, the general manager of K & K, which operates under the Old Country Cheese Factory label. 'The trucking company we contract with will take care of the money we lost, but it's still a shame. Still sad that this happened.'

"The Monroe County company processes 120,000 pounds of fresh milk every day from more than 200 Amish milk producers in the area. It ships Amish cheese and gift boxes all over the country."

CBS Chicago reports that Balika was busted once he was in the New Jersey Turnpike. The company doesn't want the cheese back, "because there's no guarantee it hasn't been tampered with" New Jersey will inspect it, though, and if it's OK, it will be donated to charity.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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