Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Say “no” to cheese? September 28, 2011

“Did u hear about the anti-cheese billboard up by green bay?” my Wisconsin-resident daughter texted.

Since I discovered her message seven hours after she sent it, I was on my own to investigate. You don’t dangle a tidbit of information like that in front of my eyes and expect me to let it go.

So here’s the deal, according to information I gleaned in a quick online search.

The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has sponsored a billboard along Highway 41 near Lambeau Field with this message:


Cheese Can

Sack Your Health

Fat. Cholesterol. Sodium.

I don’t need to explain. If you want details on the Physicians Committee’s stand, click here.

Originally, the billboard featured an image of the Grim Reaper wearing a cheesehead hat. Now he’s hatless, reportedly due to a threatened lawsuit by the company that makes those signature hats.

So, that all said, I wonder if the D.C. folks understand, really understand, the importance of cheese in Wisconsin.

I’ll take you on a little photographic tour through Wisconsin, showing you images taken within the past 10 months.

I expect this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this billboard controversy.

And, just for the record, I love cheese.

Cheese is a big part of the tourism industry in Wisconsin as evidenced by this photo taken at Simons Specialty Cheese in Little Chute. Yes, those would be the famous cheesehead hats.

Simons Specialty Cheese is one of the retail outlets for Trega Foods, Ltd., which produces natural curds and mozzarella sticks right next door at its Little Chute plant.

Kitschy cheddar cheese shapes sold in Wisconsin.

You can't miss these cows and cheese sign along a Wisconsin roadway.

A small sampling of the cheeses available at Simon's Specialty Cheese.

Humbird Cheese, a popular tourist stop at Tomah.

Promoting cheese on a billboard along a central Wisconsin highway.

SO, WHAT’S YOUR take on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine billboard and/or its stand on cheese?


12 Responses to “Say “no” to cheese?”

  1. Trace Adams Says:

    They’re nuts!

  2. Please! Really, in this world, there are physicians concentrating on cheese? There is such a plethora of unhealthy food and behavior or lack of behavior threatening the health of people, and then there is cheese. One of the classic comforts of humankind. I think the billboard is silly and tragic. I love cheese.

  3. Amy Says:

    There is nothing in the world more awesome than squeaky fresh cheese curds from Wisconsin. As with EVERYTHING else, it is good for you in small and healthy size portions. Not saying I can resist eating the entire package of cheese curds while driving through Wisconsin….but I second the first post. They are most certainly CRAZY!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      OK, that’s vote #3 in support of Wisconsin cheese. I’ve eaten those squeaky fresh cheese curds, too. Yummmmmm.

      Your comment about moderation is spot on correct.

  4. Ridiculous. Are they trying to sabotage Wisconsin’s economy? Maybe they should have gone with a Cheese In Moderation approach 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That’s exactly what I think. I mean, Wisconsin isn’t called the Dairyland State for nothing. Dairy farmers, cheesemakers, tourists buying all that cheese…

      Moderation would have been a more sensible approach.

  5. randy Says:

    The D.C. folks messed up big time!
    The GR should be holding a brat and a beer, bad for you but a food staple in every midwesterner diet. This is the USA. Can we eat artery clogging food if we want to?
    Excuse me now while I step out back to light up a cig and cool off!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are so right. A brat and a beer should have been included, even though brats are not (typically) part of my diet.

      And, BTW, just to clarify, Randy doesn’t really smoke. He’s simply trying to make a point.

  6. Dan Says:

    I think the billboard is great. The health concerns are real (regardless of whether or not you find cheese to be tasty). I agree that beer, meat, soda and other sweets are more damaging to your health. But, you can never have too much information. I find it odd that in the U.S. it’s become patriotic to fight against good health.

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