I’m reading The Fermented Man by Derek Dellinger. He talks about U.S. government’s regulations about cheese making. For example, cheese can be sold to the public only if it’s been aged a minimum of sixty days. Then he says:
The government’s thinking here seemed fairly sound. One can always
assume a little extra buffer of paranoia built in when it comes to
anything related to public health, but sixty days of fermentation, two
solid months, I didn’t think that sounded unreasonable.
I’m confused about the part in bold. I looked up the definitions of assume, buffer, paranoia and built in. But I still couldn’t figure out what it means. The sentence just seems very indirect to me. Can anybody explain its meaning for me?
A buffer is a device that provides some protection in case something goes wrong. Governments often add protective measures (“buffers”) into legislation related to different products and services. Such legislative “buffers” are often paranoid, i.e. they are poorly justified. Just because something theoretically might go wrong, the government adds (builds in) a buffer in the legislation.
The author says: “okay, it’s not a surprise that there’s this protective buffer in the legislation concerning the dairy industry. Such buffers are often paranoid. However, in this particular case, the buffer is justified. Why not let cheese sit and ferment for a couple of months, and thus ensure its safety?”