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There's a Petition to Remove the 'American' From American Cheese

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Tillamook says American cheese is actually quite un-American.


Is American cheese — that unnaturally orange, admittedly plasticky, yet perfectly melty fodder for grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers — really worthy of bearing our nation's name? Cheese brand Tillamook doesn't think so. The latest campaign from creative agency 72andSunny for the farmer-owned dairy co-op is aiming to get 100,000 signatures for a petition urging the White House "to remove America’s name from processed cheese." (That's the number of signatures required to merit a response from the White House.)

The campaign includes some truly epic artwork depicting Abraham Lincoln skewering slices of American cheese while riding on a bear's back, as well as one of flag-sewing icon Betsy Ross doing the same while perched on top of a great white shark. Tillamook chief marketing officer John Russell tells Mashable, "We believe something called American should be 100% natural, and American cheese is definitely not."

The campaign's timing is no coincidence: "The July 4th weekend is the high point for cheese during the year, as more than 153 million Americans are expected to have barbecues and picnics," Mashable points out. A large number of those folks will no doubt be melting Kraft American cheese slices over their burgers.

Of course, American cheese isn't even technically cheese at all. Since it contains less than 51 percent actual cheese, the FDA requires that labels identify it as various other products like "pasteurized cheese food." With the recent trend of restaurant chains and major food manufacturers going "all-natural," perhaps it's time America's namesake cheese did the same.

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