New research reveals how we’re being cheated with cheese, bumping it with palm and soy protein to…
70% of cheese is pure water. This was shown by a study by the Center for Food Biology. Of the 10 different brands of the dairy product examined, only three of them meet the standard, writes “Telegraph”.
“It is a matter of dry content within the limits allowed by the Bulgarian State Standard (BDS), which is over 56%. In the remaining 7 samples, it is between 49.7 and 54.5 percent, the other is water,” said Dr. Sergey Ivanov.
The record holder for low water content is a product of a well-known brand, in which the percentage reaches 61.5%.
Our research also found that price cannot be a criterion for quality. The reason is that among the brands of cheese with an increased water content, priced from BGN 16.50 per kilo to BGN 29, the most expensive is the one with the most liquid.
The three quality cheese brands that comply with BDS cost BGN 19 and BGN 26 each.
For the study, 10 packages of cheese were purchased, some of which were prepackaged in the enterprises, and others were cut and wrapped with stretch film, on which labels were placed in the facility itself. The samples were purchased from three different stores, and the research was done immediately after purchase. The selection of goods is based on appearance and price.
The results show that apart from cheese, there is also a problem with the water content of yellow cheese, commented Dr. Ivanov. According to him, it is unacceptable to offer products with deviations from quality indicators, especially at high prices.
It is also no secret that many Bulgarian enterprises for the production of dairy products import significantly cheaper preparations from Germany and Poland, which are called kaliata, and use them as a substitute.
In addition to being cheaper, the amount of production can be doubled with them, Ivanov explained. For example, from 100 tons of callia, up to 200 tons of cheese can be produced. Emulsifiers, salts, soy protein, as well as hydrogenated fats (palm) are added to improve the taste and appearance of the product.
They do not have the qualities that cheese has due to the ripening period, since the preparation is sold directly after its formation, that is, there is no lactic acid leaven.
In this way, they are actually deceiving consumers into offering them cheese, since the production technology of the Bulgarian product is completely different, Ivanov explained. 10 liters of milk are needed to make one kilogram of cheese, after which it is curdled and goes through technological processing. In addition, this product must mature for 60 days. However, cheaper options are available commercially.
The use of dairy products in our country also applies to other dairy products, Ivanov pointed out. It can be used to make cheeses, spreads and many other types of milk products traditional for the Bulgarian market.
According to Ivanov, the use of this preparation is not prohibited and harmful, except in cases where coloring and flavoring chemicals are added to it, but it is misleading to enter the technology of products that have traditional methods of production.
The traditional becomes thready when baking
The cheese, produced according to traditional Bulgarian technology, is stretched into threads during heat treatment, comments Ivanov. This is currently the only way in which it can be recognized, but he personally does not count on this being an indicator of good quality either. Experts believe that imitation products, in which fats are added, including palm, melt and spill when baked.
Ivanov also commented that thanks to the bad practices of some producers, the export of Bulgarian cheese has collapsed in recent years. For the last year, it has shrunk by more than 15 percent for EU countries. According to representatives of the industry, about 90 percent of the cheese production available in the country is made with German or Polish preparation.
Dimitar Zorov, head of milk processors: Offering potassium for cheese is a fraud
Kaliata is a semi-finished product that is used as a preparation for the production of processed cheeses, but it is produced using a technology that has nothing to do with that of making cheese. This was commented by Dimitar Zorov, chairman of the Association of Milk Processors in Bulgaria.
He pointed out that there are producers who import and process it here and then market it, and others offer it directly without processing. If we have to compare how much a kilogram of cow’s milk cheese costs and the price of this preparation, we must first specify the value of the raw material.
The cheese currently sold in the market should have been produced in January or the end of December because of the ripening period, which should be 60 days. At that time, milk cost BGN 1.25 – 1.30 per liter. With the necessary 10 kilograms of milk per kilogram of cheese, the bill for the raw material alone is BGN 13.
To them, between 4 and 5 BGN must be added for production, packaging, logistics, energy and others, and the amount swells to 17-18 BGN, and if we add VAT, its cost becomes between 20.40 and 21.50 BGN, explained Zorov. From now on, the price in the store is subject to trade markups. If it is 20%, then the product should cost 25-27 BGN.
I cannot make a comparison with milk potassium, because we do not know what technology they use, but this product is imported at a price of BGN 8-10. In order to prevent this fraud, the definition of cheese production should be included in the regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products. After that, everything else that is sold should not be called cheese, but a dairy product, for example.
Follow the latest news with BLITZ and on Telegram. Join the channel here