Well, what a can of worms ...I started off looking at processed cheese slices and how healthy or not they are etc… When you look at a picture like the one above it screams healthy, good for you…Doesn’t it??
Well, read on and No those pretty, healthy cheese slices nestling in the grass with a glass of milk…Are not! You just have to read what is in one slice and then look at the picture again …a picture can be so very deceiving. Can’t it?
After researching cheese for a few days I realised that the cheeses which I thought were natural proper cheese may not be…
Although further investigation revealed that Europe has far more natural cheeses than the US…which appears to be the home of processed cheeses.
Which is why their dairy industry is having such a hard time of it and it seems almonds are the new cow. So are cashews. Coconuts. Beans and peas. And pretty much any plant-based ingredients that can be turned into frothy, creamy, and delicious plant-based milk. No cow required.
Processed cheese the kind you find in a cheeseburger is known as prepared cheese it is made from real cheese however in what percentage I will tell you…Made from cheese and sometimes other unfermented dairy by-products, plus emulsifiers, saturated vegetable oils, extra salt, artificial food colourings, whey or sugars.
They have a longer shelf life than natural cheese and when it comes to things like burgers which have melted cheese in them it doesn’t separate. Natural cheddar and mozzarella separate into molten lumps…
Which is why processed cheeses squares are so popular...Unless you eat burgers for each meal with double cheese every day of the week then for a tasty occasional burger processed cheese is fine. MODERATION!
The law is very clear on processed cheese slices and they cannot be sold as cheese if they are not…There are three categories:
- Pasteurised processed cheese is 100% cheese.
- Pasteurised processed cheese food must contain at least 51% cheese
- Pasteurised processed cheese product contains less than 51% cheese.
My advice... Always read the label as it should be clear and this is probably why there are so many different flavours, textures and colours of processed cheese on the supermarket shelves.
For my illustration, I will use Kraft Processed cheese as I think most people can relate to Kraft… although originally processed cheese was invented in Switzerland over 100 years ago and I suppose as the Swiss are famous for their cheese fondue’s that makes sense.
It wasn’t until after WW2 that an American called James L. Kraft commercially produced the cheese slice. Just take a look at the ingredients label on a package of Kraft American Cheese Singles which we get imported here in Thailand.
Milk, Whey, Milkfat, Milk Protein Concentrate, Salt, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid as a preservative, Apocarotenal ( Colour) Annatto( Colour) Enzymes, Vitamin D3, Cheese Culture.
What shocked me just as much is how MPCs( Milk Protein Concentrate) are a cheaper, foreign alternative to non-fat dry milk (NFDM) usually coming from water buffalos or yaks in places like China, India, Poland, and Ukraine the import of them is pretty much unregulated…That always sets off alarm bells for me as so many unregulated or very lax checking appears to be happening with regulated products which have been since proven to be detrimental to our health.
It seems that the US is far laxer and does not and this is my opinion seem to put much store on the nation’s health and well-being in the words of the FDA “found no evidence of any significant hazard to the health of the human population”
This list tells you which products are banned in many countries and not in the US… What shocks me more than anything is the fact that some companies who export to countries who ban certain additives in food DO NOT put them in food which is exported BUT still add them to the food in the US… That to me is absolutely appalling and shows what total disregard those companies have for the health of US citizens.
A quick walk through the grocery store reading dairy labels, and you’ll note that most processed cheeses now contain MPCs, including Kraft Singles.
I was quite shocked when I came across this list of cheese which is also processed:
- Blue Cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Gorgonzola Cheese
Unless of course they are made in Europe or by Artisanal cheese makers then they are very likely to be processed and not Natural cheeses.
Below is a link to the Natural cheeses made around Europe… It has certainly made me hungry and wanting to try some of those cheeses. DON’T THEY MAKE YOUR MOUTH WATER?
On balance, after writing and researching processed cheese ( The slices) I would buy the better ones but as the melting for burgers which we have very rarely but enjoy with cheese I would still use but not on a regular basis and I am also very pleased that I have resisted my grandson’s plea’s to buy this unappetising liquid cheese in pots to make macaroni cheese…I am pleased I didn’t give in given what I have just discovered about the ingredients…
Thank you for reading if you liked what you have read please share as I think everyone should be aware of what is in their food and then make a choice as to whether they will still buy it…An informed choice is good…
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
Connect to Carol( Moi)
Until next time when I will be looking at what is in ice cream….xx