Cheese Vs. Cheese Products

Are “cheese products” like Velveeta actually considered cheese?

Are “cheese products” like Velveeta actually considered cheese?

Unlike other cheeses that are simply aged and sold, pasteurized process cheese goes a step further. One or more cheeses, such as colby or cheddar, are mixed with cream or milk fat and then heated with an emulsifier. The heating kills bacteria and increases the shelf life of the cheese, and the emulsifier promotes easy melting and a creamy texture. Since good bacteria provide cheese with much of its flavor, this process yields products with very little cheese flavor.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the labeling of pasteurized process cheese according to the percentages by weight of moisture and milk fat. The FDA assigns three labels to goods made with pasteurized process cheese (in descending order of actual cheese content): food, spread, and product. Pasteurized process cheese products, like Velveeta, are no more than 51 percent cheese.

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