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China says 'non' to French finest cheeses

Camembert, brie and roquefort are no longer welcome in China. Greg Baker/AFP

Fans of French cheeses in China have received news they may find hard to digest: the country's food hygiene authorities have turned their noses up at some people's favourite fare, blocking imports of Camembert, Brie and Roquefort.

"We haven't been able to get our orders through customs for three weeks," Vincent Marion, co-founder of Cheese Republic, one of China's leading online cheesemongers, told the AFP news agency on Friday.

"Our suppliers say food hygiene authorities have tightened their rules," he said.

One major supplier identified soft cheeses including Camembert and Brie as well as goats cheese and blue varieties such as Roquefort as being among those in for the chop.

Axel Moreaux, manager at French restaurant Paradox in Beijing, said the measures had destroyed months of hard work on a new menu.

"It was all going so well and then in a single blow a lot of work and ideas have been ruined."

"We've got one Camembert in stock," he explained. "We've put it in the freezer as a souvenir."

- with AFP