What causes cheese to mold?

Mold can develop on cheese once the product is exposed to air. Shredded, cubed and sliced cheese, because they have more surface area, often develop mold faster than chunk cheese.

The zippered packaging on most Sargento cheeses allows you to store the unused portion in the same package in which it was purchased, but even zippered packaging isn’t 100% airtight and doesn’t always prevent mold development.

Sargento identifies all products with a freshness date. This date assures freshness in an unopened package only. Once the package is opened and the cheese is exposed to air, there’s the potential for mold to develop. For this reason, we recommend using our cheese within 3–5 days of opening, as stated on the back of the package. If you won’t be using all of the cheese in 3–5 days, you can freeze the remaining portion for up to 2 months. Be sure to press out as much air as possible before reclosing the package. Freezing and thawing may change the texture of the cheese, making it more crumbly.


What is natamycin?

Natamycin is a food grade mold inhibitor that’s manufactured from natural sources. It’s naturally derived from fermented milk and is organic in nature. Natamycin has been used in the food industry for more than 20 years. There are many other foods that include mold inhibitors (for example, bread). Natamycin isn’t soluble in water or fat so it passes through the intestines without getting absorbed. It’s not an antibiotic. It won’t destroy any bacteria; it only prevents growth of yeast and mold. Our research with the use of natamycin shows that we can reduce the chance of cheese molding before the package is opened and extend the freshness of the cheese after opening the package.


What is the source of the enzymes in your cheeses?

Rennets (enzymes) are added when making cheese to thicken the mixture to form the curds. These milk-clotting enzymes originate in microbial (synthetic) and animal sources. The manufacturing process of most varieties of cheese involves enzyme coagulation.

Most Sargento shredded cheeses and all of our sliced cheeses and Sargento natural cheese snacks are made with non-animal rennets. The only Sargento natural cheeses that may contain animal enzymes are those that contain Romano or Asiago cheeses. Those include: Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian, Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian and Tastings Medium Asiago Cheese. The cheese dip in our non-refrigerated MooTown Snacks, Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks and Cheese Dip & Crackers, is made with beef rennet.


Are Sargento products kosher?

No, our products aren’t kosher because their production isn’t supervised and certified by a rabbi. If, however, you’re asking about the sources of our enzymes, none of our products contain pork enzymes. In fact, the only Sargento natural cheeses that may contain animal enzymes are those that contain Romano or Asiago cheeses. Those include: Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian, Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian and Tastings Medium Asiago Cheese. The cheese dip in our non-refrigerated MooTown Snacks, Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks and Cheese Dip & Crackers, is made with beef rennet.


Is there gluten in Sargento cheeses?

We’re pleased to tell you that all Sargento natural cheeses are acceptable for a gluten-free diet.

Those on a gluten-free diet shouldn’t eat the following non-refrigerated Sargento MooTown Snacks: Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks and Cheese Dip & Crackers.

You’ll notice that we use powdered cellulose or potato starch as anti-caking agents on our shredded cheeses. When added to shredded cheese, they prevent the shreds from sticking together.

Powdered cellulose is a white, odorless, tasteless powder made from cellulose, a naturally occurring component of most plants. Potato starch is also a natural ingredient. Neither of these anti-caking agents is derived from wheat, rye, oats or barley, so they’re acceptable for a gluten-free diet.

The source of vinegar in Sargento Ricotta Cheese can vary, but it’s triple distilled, and, to the best of our knowledge, no gluten is present.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have questions about how our products may affect your medical condition, we suggest you discuss this information with your doctor.


Does Sargento have any lactose-free cheese?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest lactose, the predominant sugar in milk. This condition results from a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is normally produced in the small intestine. Levels of lactose intolerance differ from person to person.

When cheese is made, 96-98% of the lactose in the milk is removed. As cheese ages, even more lactose disappears. Most people who are lactose intolerant can eat hard, aged cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan because they’re naturally low in lactose. As cheese ages, the lactose in the cheese changes into lactic acid, which aids in digestion. Even a non-aged cheese like Mozzarella is less than 1% lactose.

Sargento natural cheeses are very low in lactose, and, in fact, many are lactose-free. Be sure to take a look at the nutrition facts panel on the package. If it lists the sugar content as 0g, then the cheese is lactose-free or very low in lactose.

Whether you develop symptoms of lactose intolerance often depends on how much cheese and other dairy products you eat, your ability to produce lactase, whether you eat a dairy product with a meal or by itself, and other variables. Generally it’s beneficial to eat dairy products with meals. If you have questions about lactose intolerance, we suggest you discuss this information with your doctor.


Can I freeze cheese?

Yes, our shredded and sliced cheeses and natural cheese snacks can be frozen for up to two months. If you’ve already opened the package, be sure to press out as much air as possible before reclosing the package. Freezing and thawing may change the texture of the cheese, making it more crumbly.

Sargento Ricotta cheese can also be frozen for up to two months, but freezing may affect the texture of the cheese. If you freeze it, we suggest thawing it in the refrigerator. After thawing, you may find some liquid on top of the cheese. Just stir that liquid back into the cheese.


Ingredients listed on the shredded cheese packages include powdered cellulose and potato starch. What are those?

Powdered cellulose is a white, odorless, tasteless powder made from cellulose, a naturally occurring component of most plants. It’s refined into a very fine white powder and can be from a variety of plant sources. It’s not derived from wheat, rye, oats or barley, so it’s acceptable for a gluten-free diet.

We use powdered cellulose or potato starch as anti-caking agents on our cheeses. When added to cheese, they prevent it from sticking together. They pass through your body as any food does; they’re not harmful.


What does the date on your packages mean?

Sargento identifies all products with a freshness date. This date assures freshness in an unopened package only. Once the package is opened and the cheese is exposed to air, there’s the potential for mold to develop. For this reason, we recommend using our cheese within 3–5 day of opening, as stated on the back of the package. If you won’t be using all of the cheese in 3–5 days, you can freeze the remaining portion for up to 2 months. Be sure to press out as much air as possible before re-closing the package. Freezing and thawing may change the texture of the cheese, making it more crumbly.

We recommend purchasing and using Sargento products by the date indicated to assure optimum product freshness. If you use the product after the date, you may experience less than ideal flavor and texture.


Why do I have more trouble melting reduced fat cheeses?

Milk fat is important to the texture and flavor of cheese. Any reduction in fat levels may change the flavor or texture of a dairy product. With current technology, it’s hard to make reduced fat cheese with the same flavor and consistency as regular cheese.

High temperatures or long periods of heat can cause any natural cheese to melt unsatisfactorily and reduced fat cheeses are slightly more heat-sensitive than other natural cheeses. As a general rule, it’s best to reduce the temperature and cooking time when using a reduced fat cheese. Also, avoid broiling, since reduced fat cheese toughens quickly after melting.

A good tip is to heat the food thoroughly and then top it with shredded reduced fat cheese. The heat of the food will usually melt the cheese without putting the dish back in the oven or microwave.


Your package is labeled as containing 8 ounces of cheese and says that’s 2 cups. I thought 8 ounces equals 1 cup.

Sargento packages our products by weight, not by volume. A package labeled as 8 ounces weighs 8 ounces. We also give the corresponding cup (volumetric) measurement for ease in recipe use. A package of shredded cheese that weighs 8 ounces fills a 2 cup measuring cup. Although there are 8 ounces in a liquid cup measure, 8 ounces in weight won’t always yield the same cup measure. Eight ounces of shredded cheese equals 2 cups; four ounces of shredded cheese equals 1 cup.

Some other food examples might be even easier to visualize. Eight ounces of corn flakes equals 8 cups. Eight ounces of popped popcorn equals 16 cups. Cup measure will vary based on the density of the food product.


Does Sargento have online job listings?

Yes we do. All Sargento job openings are listed on Sargento’s Career Center page.


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