NETHERLANDS - The salt content of Gouda cheese has reduced by 22.2 per cent since 2006 thanks to producers' efforts, the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) has said.
In 2015, an independent third party conducted an audit on factory measurements. This audit showed that the average salinity at the end of 2015 is 686 mg of sodium per 100 grams of cheese.
Salt in cheese has an important function for the durability, firmness and flavour. In naturally ripened cheeses such as Gouda cheese the quality and safety of the cheese must also be guaranteed at the end of the ripening period.
Therefore, NZO said that lowering the salt content of the cheese took a lot of research and time.
Dairy company FrieslandCampina explained how salt content varies in Gouda in a statement celebrating the results: "When making cheese, salt plays a role in forming the rind, it has influence on the taste and preserves the cheese.
"In order to make cheese from curd, the pressed curd is put into brine. The cheese remains in the brine for several tens of hours and so it receives its salt content.
"In order to make a cheese contain less salt, the curing times need to be adjusted. It is not easy to achieve a consistent salt reduction.
"For example, there will be more salt just underneath the rind than in the centre of the cheese. An older cheese shrinks through evaporation and this increases the (relative) salt content."
FrieslandCampina said that as well as changing curing times, better hygiene and milk quality meant that cheese did not require as much salt in it for preservation these days.
The company said that people in the Netherlands eat too much salt, and reducing salt in key products like bread and cheese really help reduce the population's salt intake.
TheCattleSite News Desk