Food Specialties | Food Specialties | Insights | Dairy

September 06th, 2019

Meeting the need for benzoate-free coagulant enzymes

The step DSM takes to ensure cheesemakers can produce cheese and whey free of benzoate.

Benzoates such as sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate are widely used food artificial preservatives that inhibit the growth of mold, yeast and some bacteria to extend shelf life. However, their presence in food is a cause for concern for many consumers.

While benzoates are allowed by regulatory authorities, many people are beginning to ask if these chemical preservatives really are beneficial to their health and are seeking to eliminate them from their diets. Food producers, keen to deliver what consumers are looking for in terms of a clean and clear label, are also turning away from artificial preservatives and scrutinizing their supply chains to deliver completely benzoate-free products.

Such a move is part of the clean label trend which has significantly influenced the food industry in recent years. The trend is leading to sweeping changes in product formulation, emphasizing fewer artificial additives, including preservatives, in favor of more natural, recognizable ingredients.

Cheesemakers and benzoates

Cheesemakers do not traditionally use artificial preservatives in their production processes. However, artificial preservatives such as benzoates can be used to preserve cheese-making enzymes to ensure that the enzymes remain stable during storage and transport. The benzoates that stabilize the enzymes end up in the whey, and to a lesser extent in the cheese. Generally, this is not a problem because of the carry-over principle that states that an additive in an enzyme can be present in a food even when direct addition of that additive in the food is not allowed.

Infant nutrition: a special situation

Whey is an important side-stream of cheese production. It’s used as an ingredient in high-value end products such as pharmaceutical applications, dietetic foods, sports nutrition and infant nutrition. Its use in infant formula is particularly valuable. In the European Union, the carry-over principle is stricter for producers of infant formula. Benzoic acid and sodium benzoate, among others, are not allowed to be used in infant formula, so the carry-over principle cannot be applied to infant food.

For this reason, makers of cheese and whey products are asking enzyme suppliers to make sure that their enzymes are benzoate-free, to back up their product claims and prevent cross-contamination.

DSM's complete range of cheese coagulant enzymes is benzoate-free

DSM has invested in innovative production technology and changed the formulation matrices of its coagulant enzymes to eliminate the need for benzoates, without impacting the shelf life of the enzymes. This means that DSM’s core range of coagulants Maxiren® and Fromase® is benzoate-free, giving cheesemakers complete peace of mind that their cheese and corresponding whey are also benzoate-free.

For more information on our benzoate-free range of coagulant enzymes, contact us and we will be delighted to respond to your specific questions or requirements.

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