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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 Dec 22, 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: 21CFR133.187]



Subpart B - Requirements for Specific Standardized Cheese and Related Products

Sec. 133.187 Semisoft cheeses.

(a) The cheeses for which definitions and standards of identity are prescribed by this section are semisoft cheeses for which specifically applicable definitions and standards of identity are not prescribed by other sections of this part. They are made from milk and other ingredients specified in this section, by the procedure set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. They contain more than 39 percent, but not more than 50 percent, of moisture, and their solids contain not less than 50 percent of milkfat, as determined by the methods prescribed in § 133.5 (a), (b), and (d). If the milk used is not pasteurized, the cheese so made is cured at a temperature of not less than 35 deg.F for not less than 60 days.

(b) Milk, which may be pasteurized or clarified or both, and which may be warmed, is subjected to the action of harmless lactic-acid-producing bacteria or other harmless flavor-producing bacteria, present in such milk or added thereto. Sufficient rennet, rennet paste, extract of rennet paste, or other safe and suitable milk-clotting enzyme that produces equivalent curd formation, singly or in any combination (with or without purified calcium chloride in a quantity not more than 0.02 percent, calculated as anhydrous calcium chloride, of the weight of the milk) is added to set the milk to a semisolid mass. Harmless artificial coloring may be added. After coagulation the mass is so treated as to promote and regulate the separation of whey and curd. Such treatment may include one or more of the following: cutting, stirring, heating, dilution with water or brine. The whey, or part of it, is drained off, and the curd is collected and shaped. It may be placed in forms, and may be pressed. Harmless flavor-producing microorganisms may be added. It may be cured in a manner to promote the growth of biological curing agents. Salt may be added during the procedure. A harmless preparation of enzymes of animal or plant origin capable of aiding in the curing or development of flavor of semisoft cheese may be added, in such quantity that the weight of the solids of such preparation is not more than 0.1 percent of the weight of the milk used.

(c) For the purposes of this section:

(1) The word "milk" means cow's milk or goat's milk or sheep's milk or mixtures of two or all of these. Such milk may be adjusted by separating part of the fat therefrom, or (in the case of cow's milk) by adding one or more of the following: Cream, skim milk, concentrated skim milk, nonfat dry milk; (in the case of goat's milk) the corresponding products from goat's milk; (in the case of sheep's milk) the corresponding products from sheep's milk; water in a quantity sufficient to reconstitute any concentrated or dried products used.

(2) Milk shall be deemed to have been pasteurized if it has been held at a temperature of not less than 143 deg.F for a period of not less than 30 minutes, or for a time and at a temperature equivalent thereto in phosphatase destruction. A semisoft cheese shall be deemed not to have been made from pasteurized milk if 0.25 gram shows a phenol equivalent of more than 5 micrograms when tested by the method prescribed in § 133.5(c).

(d) Semisoft cheeses in the form of slices or cuts in consumer-sized packages may contain an optional mold-inhibiting ingredient consisting of sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium sorbate, or any combination of two or more of these, in an amount not to exceed 0.3 percent by weight, calculated as sorbic acid.

(e) The name of each semisoft cheese for which a definition and standard of identity is prescribed by this section is "Semisoft cheese", preceded or followed by:

(1) The specific common or usual name of such semisoft cheese, if any such name has become generally recognized therefor; or

(2) If no such specific common or usual name has become generally recognized therefor, an arbitrary or fanciful name which is not false or misleading in any particular.

(f)(1) When milk other than cow's milk is used in whole or in part, the name of the cheese includes the statement "made from ______", the blank being filled in with the name or names of the milk used, in order of predominance by weight.

(2) If semisoft cheese in sliced or cut form contains an optional mold-inhibiting ingredient as specified in paragraph (d) of this section, the label shall bear the statement "______ added to retard mold growth" or "______ added as a preservative", the blank being filled in with the common name or names of the mold-inhibiting ingredient or ingredients used.

(3) Wherever the name of the food appears on the label so conspicuously as to be easily seen under customary conditions of purchase, the words and statements prescribed by this section, showing the optional ingredient used, shall immediately and conspicuously precede or follow such name, without intervening written, printed, or graphic matter.

(g) 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.

[42 FR 14366, Mar. 15, 1977, as amended at 49 FR 10096, Mar. 19, 1984; 58 FR 2895, Jan. 6, 1993]