The cheese theft epidemic

Three per cent of our planet’s cheese is stolen every year

Cheese wheel of fortune

Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Forget candy bars and bubble gum: according to the U.K.’s Centre for Retail Research, over three per cent of our planet’s cheese is stolen every year—making it the “most stolen food item in the world.” Apparently, says Joshua Bamfield, director of the centre, “a lot of the theft is for resale and a lot of this cheese will be resold into other markets or to restaurants.” And he has a point. Yahoo! News reports that two Michigan men were recently caught stealing over $1,000 worth of provolone, and a group of ambitious shoplifters in Oregon attempted to roll three large wheels of cheese worth approximately $600 out of a supermarket. It’s hard to believe their motives were fondue related.

At home, Express Fine Foods in Toronto’s Greek village has resorted to keeping its cheese in the centre of the store under bright lights and a video camera, all to dissuade the too-familiar cheese thief. One staffer says cheese theft has become “a huge problem,” with patrons stealing the store’s cheese and “taking it to the bar for when they have a beer” (how he came to that conclusion remains a mystery). Other foods commonly targeted include fresh meat, baby formula, chocolate and seafood.

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