Graduate Project

Possible contributors to variation in cultured cheese produced in different geographical locations when typical cheese production controls are employed

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  • Variation in cheese quality due to geographic location is important to cheese producers, consumers, and retailers on a global level. Understanding the impacts of geographic location of cheese plants may be useful to businesses for marketing, cost reduction, and quality improvement. Many aspects of variation due to geography have been studied with relation to milk production and cheese quality, but the body of knowledge is insufficient to understand the variations observed during cheese manufacture. Inferences can be made by comparing known factors which influence variation in cheese with known geographic variables. Literature review revealed variation of meteorological, dairying, milk quality, microbial, equipment, human, cultural, and regulatory aspects tied to geographic location of cheese plants. Each of these factors relates to changes in cheese quality due to changes in production characteristics and ingredient quality. Quantification of the impact of root causes of variation may be difficult due to compounding factors and the complexity of cheese. Frameworks focusing on sensory, chemical, and microbial investigation are suggested as an approach to determining root causes of variation in cheese. Frameworks focusing on company culture and human factor investigation are also suggested to address possible intermittent variation in production parameters. More research is needed to understand quality implications of geography on cheese, but may be justified due to business implications.
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