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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

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The information on this page is current as of Oct 17, 2023.

For the most up-to-date version of CFR Title 21, go to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).

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Help | More About 21CFR
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 2]
[CITE: 21CFR133.181]



Subpart B - Requirements for Specific Standardized Cheese and Related Products

Sec. 133.181 Provolone cheese.

(a) Description. (1) Provolone, a pasta filata or stretched curd-type cheese, is the food prepared by the procedure set forth in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, or by any other method which produces a finished cheese having the same physical and chemical properties. It has a stringy texture. The minimum milkfat content is 45 percent by weight of the solids, as determined by the methods described in § 133.5 and the maximum moisture content is 45 percent by weight. If the dairy ingredients used are not pasteurized, the cheese is cured at a temperature of not less than 35 deg.F for at least 60 days.

(2) If pasteurized dairy ingredients are used, the phenol equivalent value of 0.25 gram of provolone cheese is not more than 3 micrograms as determined by the method described in § 133.5.

(3) One or more of the dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section may be bleached, warmed, and is subjected to the action of a lactic acid-producing bacterial culture. One or more of the clotting enzymes specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section is added to set the dairy ingredients to a semisolid mass. The mass is cut, stirred, and heated so as to promote and regulate the separation of whey from the curd. The whey is drained off, and the curd is matted and cut, immersed in hot water, and kneaded and stretched until it is smooth and free from lumps. Antimycotics may be added to the curd during the kneading and stretching process. Then it is cut and molded. During the molding the curd is kept sufficiently warm to cause proper sealing of the surface. The molded curd is then firmed by immersion in cold water, salted in brine, and dried. It is given some additional curing. Provolone cheese may be smoked, and one or more of the other optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section may be added during the procedure.

(b) Optional ingredients. The following safe and suitable ingredients may be used:

(1) Dairy ingredients. Milk, nonfat milk, or cream, as defined in § 133.3, used alone or in combination.

(2) Clotting enzymes. Rennet and/or other clotting enzymes of animal, plant, or microbial origin.

(3) Other optional ingredients. (i) Blue or green color in an amount to neutralize the natural yellow color of the curd.

(ii) Calcium chloride in an amount not more than 0.02 percent (calculated as anhydrous calcium chloride) by weight of the dairy ingredients, used as a coagulation aid.

(iii) Enzymes of animal, plant, or microbial origin, used in curing or flavor development.

(iv) Safe and suitable antimycotic agent(s), the cumulative levels of which shall not exceed current good manufacturing practice, may be added to the cheese during the kneading and stretching process and/or applied to the surface of the cheese.

(v) Benzoyl peroxide or a mixture of benzoyl peroxide with potassium alum, calcium sulfate, and magnesium carbonate used to bleach the dairy ingredients. The weight of the benzoyl peroxide is not more than 0.002 percent of the weight of the milk being bleached, and the weight of the potassium alum, calcium sulfate, and magnesium carbonate, singly or combined, is not more than six times the weight of the benzoyl peroxide used. If milk is bleached in this manner, vitamin A is added to the curd in such quantity as to compensate for the vitamin A or its precursors destroyed in the bleaching process, and artificial coloring is not used.

(c) Nomenclature. (1) The name of the food is "provolone cheese". The name of the food may include the common name of the shape of the cheese, such as "salami provolone".

(2) One of the following terms, in letters not less than one-half the height of the letters used in the name of the food, shall accompany the name of the food wherever it appears on the principal display panel or panels:

(i) "Smoked" if the food has been smoked.

(ii) "Not smoked" if the food has not been smoked.

(d) Label declaration. Each of the ingredients used in the food shall be declared on the label as required by the applicable sections of parts 101 and 130 of this chapter, except that:

(1) Enzymes of animal, plant, or microbial origin may be declared as "enzymes"; and

(2) The dairy ingredients may be declared, in descending order of predominance, by the use of the terms "milkfat and nonfat milk" or "nonfat milk and milkfat", as appropriate.

[48 FR 2745, Jan. 21, 1983, as amended at 48 FR 49014, Oct. 24, 1983; 58 FR 2895, Jan. 6, 1993]