The Finer Details About Cheese

Cheese, like butter functions as the balance wheel of the dairy industry. This holds good in developed dairying countries, whereas in developing countries production of cheese is in nascent stage. In countries with predominant vegetarian population, there is slackness in the growth of cheese industry because of use of animal rennet for clotting of milk. However, with the advent of alternatives for animal rennet, the production is steadily looking up.

Cheese has been defined by Davis as a product made from the curd obtained from milk by coagulating the casein with the help of rennet or similar enzymes in the presence of lactic acid produced by added or adventitious microorganisms, from which part of the moisture has been removed by cutting, cooking and /or pressing, which has been shaped in a mould, and then ripened by holding it for some time at suitable temperature and humidity.

According to PFA rules, cheese (hard cheese) means the product obtained by draining after the coagulation of milk with a harmless milk coagulating agent, under the influence of harmless bacterial cultures. It shall not contain any ingredients not found in milk, except coagulating agent, sodium chloride, calcium chloride not exceeding 0.02 per cent by weight, annatto or carotene colour; and may contain certain emulsifiers and / or stabilizers, namely citric acid, sodium citrate or sodium salts of orthophosphoric acid and polyphosphoric acid not exceeding 0.2 per cent by weight; wax used for covering the outer surface should not contain anything harmful to the health.

In case the wax is colored, only permitted food colors may be used. Hard cheese shall contain not more than 43% moisture and not less than 42% milk fat on dry matter. It may contain 0.1% sorbic acid or its sodium, potassium or calcium salts; or 0.1% of nisin.


Cheese may protect against dental caries. When it is eaten immediately after six sucrose rinses a day, it reduces the demineralization caused by sucrose by an average of 70%. In-vivo intraoral tests in human beings confirmed the cariostatic nature of cheese. There are many explanations for the beneficial effects conferred by this product.

The release of calcium and its diffusion in to the dental plaque might be regarded as the most important effect. Calcium and phosphorous present in the aqueous cheese extract influence the demineralization-remineralization process.

Cheese consumption increases the flow of saliva, which is slightly alkaline and will act like a buffer. Textural influences of the product also play a major role in the protective effect. Peptides of casein play an important role in counteracting the caries development. It is also claimed that cheese has an inhibitory effect on the direct acting mutagens.

Preservation of cheese

Calcium, sodium and potassium salts of sorbic acid are very effective in preventing the growth of yeasts and moulds. The surface of hard and semi hard cheeses are treated with sorbic acid to prevent the growth of moulds during the ripening and storage and thus preserve the quality of the cheese. This is also helpful in preventing the growth of aflatoxin producing moulds such as Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Sorbic acid concentration of 200-400 PPM inhibits the growth of mycotoxin producing moulds. Sorbic acid is also effective in preventing the growth of Penicillium patulum which produces patulin. Sorbic acid is a harmless compound for the body as it is used by body similar to any other compound. Sorbic acid is permitted in many of the countries because of its harmlessness and effectiveness.

Natamycin (Pimaricin), an antibiotic produced by Streptomyces natalensis suppresses the growth of yeasts and moulds but has a little effect on bacteria. Aspergillus flavus is very sensitive to natamycin and it can be used in the same manner as that of sorbic acid for the surface treatment of cheese. Cheese coated with natamycin protects it against the moulds for up to eight weeks. Natamycin has no physiological effect on the body and it is non toxic. The permitted level of natamycin should not exceed 2 mg / dm2 of the product surface and the penetration depth of into the cheese should not exceed 5 mm at the time of delivery to the consumer. Though the natamycin has been used for several years, there is no single incidence of report on the development of resistance against it and development of allergy. The acceptable level of daily intake of natamycin is approximately 0.25 mg per kg body weight.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Cheese Food:
Cheese Wheel Cheese Curd
About The Author, Kathirvelu Thenmozhi
The author is an expert in Dairy Science; for more info on milk and dairy products please visit her site , A Professional Dairy Site. More on cheese nutrients :; Source