Sadly, the state of cheese in the U.S. is deeply disturbing. Velveeta, or “American” cheese, both can’t even legally be called “cheese” and instead are labeled as “cheese products.” They bulk up their real milk with a large amount of “Milk Protein Concentrate”, a much cheaper ingredient than real milk.
Just take a look at the ingredients label on a package of Kraft American Cheese Singles:
MILK, WHEY, MILKFAT, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SALT, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SORBIC ACID AS A PRESERVATIVE, APOCAROTENAL (COLOR), ANNATTO (COLOR), ENZYMES, VITAMIN D3, CHEESE CULTURE.
Basically, try to find REAL cheese. Cheese that’s as traditional and natural as possible. Cheese food, cheese product, cheese spread and pasteurized processed cheese are all forms of processed cheese. They contain additives and preservatives and have more moisture and less fat than natural cheese. Processed cheeses tend to have a longer shelf life, are less expensive, have consistent quality and flavor, melt well and most importantly can be a chemical sh*t storm.
There are a few basic things to look for…
Basically the purest form of cheese you can get!
Way better than factory farmed! The organic label can only be assigned to products that contain no fertilizer, no hormones, no pesticide, and antibiotic-free.
Bagged, pre-shredded cheese contains an anti-caking agent called cellulose that’s sometimes made from wood pulp. Whether this additive concerns you or not the point is it’s an extra additive you will not find in a block of cheese. Yes, it’s an extra step to grate your own cheese, but it’s worth it especially because the texture is much better, less “powdery”.
Avoid buying any reduced-fat or non-fat cheese products. Real cheese is naturally full fat and the only way to change that would be to process all the natural out of it.
Not to sound like a broken record but here I go…cows are meant to eat grass. When animals are fed a proper diet their food products are in turn more nutritious for you. Sometimes it’s hard to find, but look for cheeses that either say “grass-fed” or “pasture raised” on the package.
The best choice will be to find local sources for cheese, because then you can find out how the animals are treated and what kind of diet they are fed. 🙂