Over the past few years, dairy researchers have been listening as medical and regulatory voices have raised concerns regarding the dietary intake of sodium for individuals with hypertension. Committed to helping the situation, researchers have been working to reduce the overall sodium content of cheese, but this effort has had its fair share of challenges. Salt modifies texture, helps control the moisture content, regulates acid development, provides flavor and contributes to the excellent safety record of fermented products like cheese.
So, modifying the salt content can be a difficult task. In last year’s sodium update column (January 2014), we discussed a few of the new cheeses and products that have come out of this research effort. This year, we will discuss the solutions and tests that researchers have been developing to deal with the effects of sodium reduction. Many methods show promise in producing a good quality reduced-sodium cheese, but there are always pros and cons to consider.