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Australian cheese brand changes name amid racial controversy

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/13/2021 Joseph Wilkinson

After decades of campaigning by activists and 2020′s worldwide anti-racism protests, a major Australian cheese company has rebranded “Coon Cheese” as “Cheer Cheese.”

“Coon Cheese” had been a popular brand in Australia for 80 years, with the brand changing ownership multiple times in that span.

Cheer Cheese © Saputo Dairy Australia Cheer Cheese

Cheer Cheese (Saputo Dairy Australia/)

Canada-based Saputo Dairy has owned the brand since 2015 and announced in July 2020 that it would be dumping the “Coon Cheese” name. The announcement came weeks after Quaker Oats redesigned its Aunt Jemima logo and Mars Inc. promised to change its Uncle Ben’s imagery.

Saputo announced the new “Cheer Cheese” name Wednesday.

“Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do,” company chair and CEO Lino Saputo said in a press release.

Australian anti-racism activist Stephen Hagan had been advocating for the name change since the 1990s, Australian news outlet 9News reported.

During that time, the various owners of “Coon Cheese” argued the name was fine because it referred not to a racial slur against people of color, but to Edward William Coon, an American who allegedly created its recipe.

Saputo said that recipe would remain unchanged under the new name. “Cheer Cheese” will appear on shelves in July 2021.


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