Food Guts - Ingredient Information

Ingredient Lookup

Processed Cheese

Nutritional Information

1 slice, NFS (.75 oz), processed cheese

  • Calories 69
  • Calories from Fat 47.61
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 5.29g8%
  • Saturated Fat 3.128g16%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.515g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.233g
  • Cholestreol 17mg6%
  • Sodium 266mg11%
  • Potassium 61mg2%
  • Total Carbohydrate 1.64g1%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g0%
  • Sugars 1.56g
  • Protein 3.86g8%
  • Calcium 12mg1%
  • Iron 1mg6%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%

Processed Cheese on Wikipedia:

American processed cheese (wrapped slices)

Processed cheese, process cheese, cheese slice (UK), prepared cheese, or cheese food is a food product made from normal cheese and sometimes other unfermented dairy ingredients, plus emulsifiers, extra salt, food colorings, or whey. Many flavors, colors, and textures of processed cheese exist.

In the United States, the most recognizable variety of processed cheese is sold under the name American cheese, although this name also has other meanings. The name American cheese also has a legal definition as a type of pasteurized processed cheese under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.[1]

The Laughing Cow, a French product, is another type of processed cheese, which shows the international reach of this variety of cheese.

Although processed cheese was first invented in 1911 by Walter Gerber of Thun, Switzerland, it was James L. Kraft who first applied for an American patent for his method in 1916.[2][3] Kraft Foods also created the first commercially available sliced processed cheese, which was introduced in 1950. This form of sliced cheese with its derivatives were to become ubiquitous in the United States, most notably used for cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.



Processed cheese slices individually wrapped in plastic

Processed cheese has three technical advantages over unprocessed cheese: extended shelf-life, resistance to separation when cooked, and the ability to reuse scraps, trimmings and runoff from other cheesemaking processes.

Traditional cheesemaking inevitably produces 'scrap' pieces that would not be acceptable for supermarket display; production of processed cheese from cheese scrap allows the cheesemaker to use otherwise unmarketable scrap. Processing can turn these scraps into new presentable shapes for repackaging and sale.

The use of emulsifiers in processed cheese results in cheese that melts smoothly when cooked. With prolonged heating, unprocessed cheese will separate into a molten protein gel and liquid fat; processed cheese will not separate in this manner. The emulsifiers, typically sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, tartrate, or citrate, reduce the tendency for tiny fat globules in the cheese to coalesce and pool on the surface of the molten cheese.

Because processed cheese does not separate when melted, it is used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes. It is a popular addition to hamburgers, as it does not run off, nor does it change in texture or taste as it is heated.


Processed cheese is often criticized for its small range of flavors, which is far narrower than the range for unprocessed cheeses and normally very mild. Processed cheese also normally lacks the range of textures available in unprocessed cheeses; processed cheeses are normally very smooth and medium-firm.[citation needed]

Sale and labeling

File:Easy Cheese varieties.jpg Spray cans of processed Easy Cheese

Processed cheese is sometimes sold in blocks, or spray cans, but more often sold packed in individual slices, sometimes with plastic wrappers or wax paper separating them.

Legal issues

Due to the processing and additives, some softer varieties cannot legally be labeled as ``cheese`` in many countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, and so are sold as ``cheese food``, ``cheese spread``, or ``cheese product``, depending primarily on the amount of cheese, moisture, and milkfat present in the final product.

In the United States processed cheese is defined, categorized, and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Food and Drugs), Section 133 (Cheeses and Cheese Related Products).[1][4] Pasteurized process cheese can be made from a single cheese or a blend of several cheeses. Cream, milkfat, water, salt, artificial color, and spices may also be added. The mixture is heated with an emulsifier, poured into a mold, and allowed to cool. The definitions include:

Pasteurized process cheese which is 100% cheese (includes ``American Cheese`` and ``Pasteurized process American cheese``),[1] (e.g., ``Kraft Deli Deluxe American Cheese``, ``Land o Lakes American Cheese``, ``Laughing Cow``). Pasteurized process cheese food which contains at least 51% cheese. Pasteurized process cheese product which contains less than 51% cheese (by FDA regulation this cannot be advertised as cheese), (e.g. ``Velveeta``, ``Kraft Singles``) Pasteurized process cheese spread (e.g. ``Cheez Whiz``)

American cheese

Main article: American cheese

The best known processed cheese in the United States is marketed as American cheese by Kraft Foods, Borden, and other companies. It is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor, with a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily. It is typically made from a blend of cheeses, most often Colby and Cheddar.

American Cheese also refers to government cheese, which can consist of a mixture of any of Cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, cheese curd, or granular cheese.[5]


^ a b c Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Food and Drugs), Article 133, Section 169 (Pasteurized process cheese), the allowed usage of the term ``American Cheese`` for certain types of ``Pasteurized process cheese`` is detailed. Specifically, in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of section 133.169, it states In case it is made of cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, colby cheese, or granular cheese or any mixture of two or more of these, it may be designated ``Pasteurized process American cheese``; or when cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, colby cheese, granular cheese, or any mixture of two or more of these is combined with other varieties of cheese in the cheese ingredient, any of such cheeses or such mixture may be designated as ``American cheese.``U.S. Food and Drug Administration (April 1, 1999). ``Title 21, Article 133``. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2007-02-17.  ^ ``Emmi Fondue AG - Gerber - Geschichte:``. Emmi Fondue AG. Retrieved 2009-10-17.  ^ ``Patent reference at Kraft Foods``. Kraft Foods. Retrieved 2007-02-17.  ^ Refer to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Food and Drugs) Article 133 (Cheeses and Cheese Related Products) at the U.S. Government Printing Office. ^ PCD5 Pasteurized Process American Cheese for use in Domestic Programs

External links

American Chemical Society article on processed cheese. From Cheese to Cheese Food: How Kraft persuaded Americans to accept cheese by divorcing it from its microbe-laden origins.