Advertisers want to make the products they represent appealing; in this they are not to be faulted-at least not if they do not resort to dishonesty. There are no really dishonest advertisers, are there? No more than there are dishonest lawyers. Does this make the point? One of the products almost all American households purchase some time during the year is cheese-or at least what they may think is cheese.
Misleading Advertising – Not Cheese Only
Advertising doesn’t have to be illegal to be misleading. Does a dessert contain chocolate, or is it merely “chocolatey?” Does a dog food contain meat, or is it “meaty?” Is that sandwich a “burger” or a hamburger?1
What’s the Difference?
Actually, there are a number of differences. If something is chocolatey, it doesn’t necessarily contain chocolate. If a dog food is meaty, it doesn’t necessarily contain meat. If the sandwich is a burger, it is likely not a hamburger. It’s a matter of maybe not getting what you think you are getting. Also, the price could be disproportionate for the ingredients it contains.
What is Cheese?
The “definition” of cheese may be quite complicated, and depends upon the country involved, but in general, the definition of cheese is, “a solid food made from the curdled milk of various animals-most commonly cows but sometimes goats, sheep, reindeer, and water buffalo.”2 This is pretty straightforward. Cheese, in fact, does not contain a host of additives. The FDA uses primarily two criteria in its definition of cheese-moisture content and butterfat content.
What is Pasteurized Process Cheese Food? And Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread?
Cheese food and cheese are related, but two different things. Besides the modification of water and butterfat levels, a host of substances may be added to pasteurized process cheese food, such as dry milk, whey solids, and anhydrous milk fat. The list is longer for pasteurized process cheese spread, which can contain sweeteners and stabilizers (substances that prevent separation), such as xanthan gum or carrageenan!3
My wife always made me by cheese at the grocery store, and I always wondered why, as I enjoyed eating pasteurized process cheese food. Noting that the job she put before me has become more and more difficult to achieve, I chose to research what the differences are. If you are a consumer who wants to receive his or her money’s worth and the product you seek to purchase is really and truly cheese, allow me to recommend you check the label of the products your grocery carries. If you find none of them contain the single descriptive word cheese without following it with descriptive modifiers, you may wish to contact the store manager, or the chain, and if you cannot achieve satisfaction, you may wish to seek another provider for your dairy products.
1 Compare the article, “When is Meat Not Ground Beef? – when it’s Hamburger. – FDA.”
2 Word IQ – Cheese Definition
3 Chemical and Engineering News Feb 2007 by Steve Ritter – “What’s That Stuff?”
Chicago Business – “What is ‘Real Kraft Cheese’?” by Julie Jargon, February 5, 2007.