The study, published in the Journal of Dairy Science, used cottage cheese because its manufacture allows for the addition of vitamin D after the draining step without any loss of the vitamin in whey.
The Canadian research was done by scientists at St-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre, and the Institut sur la Nutrition et les Aliments Fonctionnels, Centre de Recherche en Sciences et Technologie du Lait, at the Université Laval, in Quebec City.
Cheddar not a good medium
In Canada, drinking milk is fortified to provide vitamin D and help the population meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). However, the authors point to studies that say one-quarter of Canadians do not meet the RDA (a proportion that rose to more than one-third in the winter).
Previous studies reported on the vitamin D fortification of Cheddar cheese, however, results showed that a large proportion of the added vitamin D is lost during the wheying-off step of cheese manufacture, contaminating the whey and making it difficult to use for other purposes.
This led to the authors investigating cottage cheese as an alternative.
No loss of vitamin D
Cream containing vitamin D (145 IU/g of cream) was mixed with fresh cheese curds, resulting in a final concentration of 51 IU/g of cheese. Unfortified cottage cheese was used as a control.
The cottage cheese was fortified without any loss of vitamin D in the cheese whey. The vitamin D added to cream was not affected by homogenization or pasteurization treatments.
In cottage cheese, the vitamin D concentration remained stable during three weeks of storage at 4°C. Compared with the control cheese, the cheese fortified with vitamin D showed no effects of fortification on cheese characteristics or sensory properties.
In taste tests, the fortified cottage cheese was also found to be not significantly different to cottage cheese that was not fortified.
Potential for use
The authors concluded cottage cheese could be considered a new source of vitamin D fortification or an alternative to vitamin D in drinking milk, and could help reduce the proportion of the population deficient in vitamin D.
The research was supported by a grant from Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Source: Journal of Dairy Science
Production of cottage cheese fortified with vitamin D
Authors: Benoît Crevier, Gaétan Bélanger, Jean-Christophe Vuillemard, Daniel St-Gelais
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