Government warned that removal of salt will ruin the taste of Cheddar cheese

A report warning the Government that health chiefs would ruin Cheddar cheese if more salt is removed has been welcomed by cheesemakers. Controversial findings in an independent report backed the region’s cheese producers saying that manufacturers would not be able to remove much more salt from Cheddar.

Removing salt will not only alter the taste but could cause safety issues, it is revealed in the report by the Leatherhead Food Research institute. The report looked at a range of foods, revealing that more salt could be removed from certain foods but not Cheddar cheese.

The Cheddar firms said that it was not viable to use mineral salts such as potassium chloride or highly-flavoured spices. The Government will now receive the report and discuss options to force further reductions in salt.

One of Somerset’s largest Cheddar makers is Wyke Farms. Group technical manager, Nigel Pooley, said that the governing body should make an exception for cheese. He claims that as cheese is amongst the most natural of products the agency should concentrate on processed foods first. Salt is actually an integral part of making cheddar, as it causes the reactions to make cheese.

A spokesman for Dairy UK, Simon Bates, confirmed that salt is not used in cheese as a flavour enhancer, at performs an important part of the maturation process. He went on to say that you would get a messy lump if you did not use salt in cheese. It also ensures that the product is safe.

Dairy UK has been working with the Food Standards Agency and the Government for years on the salt reduction programme. The FSA have been to see cheesemakers to be advised on how cheese is made and why salt is deemed to be so important in the process.