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New process used to cut cholesterol in cheddar 45 per cent

By Guy Montague-Jones , 28-Jul-2009

Alliance Enterprises has applied its new processing technology to cheddar cheese and claims to have reduced the cholesterol content by 45 per cent, without affecting the original taste or mouth feel.

The results were obtained using the company’s Benelact process, introduced in 2007, whereby milk is mechanically treated to separate the cholesterol from the fat molecules.

Alliance Enterprises developed the technology to meet growing demand for low cholesterol dairy products, as awareness of the link between cholesterol and heart disease continues to spread.

Following the introduction of the Benelact process two years ago, the company has been applying it to a variety of dairy products including mozzarella cheese, ice cream, butter and milk.

Partnerships

It is in the process of commercialising process and is looking for partnerships with processors, retailers and manufacturers.

In the latest project Alliance Enterprises teamed up with Cedar Grove Cheese to create a cheddar cheese with 45 per cent less cholesterol in product testing.

Prior to this, the Benelact process had been used to remove 25 per of the cholesterol from cheddar cheese. Since then the process has been refined and improved.

“Over the past year we have built up our research and development centre and having been working to increase the efficiency of the process,” said marketing director Brandon Malacara.

The company spokesperson said the process does not affect the flavour or function of finished products because the fat is not adulterated. The cholesterol is disassociated from fat by applying an all-natural mechanical treatment process.

The process

The Benelact process combines mixing and separating operations with the addition of natural oils to the milk, according to the manufacturer

During the ongoing processing, the group says that these oils work to 'grab' and then separate cholesterol from the actual milk under controlled temperature conditions.

“Because temperatures and other factors are controlled throughout the process, proteins, calcium and vitamins are left undisturbed,” said the company spokesperson. “Since none of the flavour is lost, no [taste-enhancing] additives are required.”

Alliance Enterprises claims the nutritional content and the shelf life of the products also remain in tact.

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