In a major win for cottage cheese manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C., codified its acceptance of higher packaging temperatures and longer cooling times for cottage cheese with specific added preservatives and specific microbial inhibitors. Since 2005, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., has been working to provide FDA with the necessary scientific data from product challenge studies to demonstrate the safety of cultured dairy products at higher filling temperatures.

Based on scientific data provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis., and IDFA member dairy and ingredient companies, the FDA issued two memoranda that outline the specific criteria and parameters for the cold filled packaging of cottage cheese with the specified microbial inhibitors at a temperature of 55ºF or less; cooled to 50°F or less within 24 hours of filling.

"The changes to the cottage cheese filling parameters and accepted microbial inhibitors are to take effect immediately, and these changes will be reflected in the 2011 Pasteurized Milk Ordinance," says Jon Gardner, IDFA vice president for regulatory affairs and international standards.

The higher filling temperature for cold cottage cheese was achieved through a proposal IDFA submitted to the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS). The 2011 NCIMS meeting was held April 28-May 4 in Baltimore, Md.

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