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How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese: NPR

Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner

Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there\’s a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

Well, not really. Centuries ago in England, lots of cheeses had a natural yellowish-orange pigment. The cheese came from the milk of certain breeds of cows, such as Jersey and Guernsey. Their milk tends to be richer in color from beta-carotene in the grass they eat.

So, when the orange pigment transferred to the cow\’s milk, and then to the cheese, it was considered a mark of quality.

But here\’s where the story gets interesting.

via How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese : The Salt : NPR.

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