America has its problems but a cheese shortage definitely isn't one of them, according to the latest USDA figures. The stockpile of unsold cheese has swelled to more than 1.2 billion pounds, its highest level in records going back to at least 1984, Bloomberg reports. The cheese glut in American freezers is due to soaring European Union production and the strong US dollar, which has led US importers to snap up huge amounts of European dairy products, even though American farms are already producing more milk than they can sell.
More than half of the cheese mountain is US-made, with 2% Swiss and the rest, mostly from the EU, classed as "other." Europe has also been selling huge amounts of cheap butter and cheese to the Middle East and Asia, making life harder for American producers. "It's been difficult for them to export, given the strong dollar, and they're sucking in imports," a global dairy market strategist explains. "Where the US has lost out on business, Europe has gained." Despite the export boom, European dairy farmers are struggling because the price of milk is so low and EU authorities are working on a deal to compensate them in return for producing less, Forbes reports. (Read more cheese stories.)