Article

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TEPEQUE CHEESE FROM “LA TIERRA CALIENTE” OF THE STATE OF MICHOACÁN: A CHEESE PRODUCED IN AN INTENSIVE SILVOPASTORAL SYSTEM

Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 11/2012;

ABSTRACT The objective of the present work is to describe the characteristics of the Tepeque cheese from “La Tierra Caliente” of the State of Michoacán, Mexico. Its region of origin, manufacturing process, physico-chemical and microbiological characteristics, were investigated. In addition the changes that occurred in the milk and cheese due to the introduction of a feeding system based on the use of an intensive silvo-pastoral system (ISPS) were described. The methodological approach consisted of field visits for data collection, semi-structured interviews to farmers in order to know the milk production systems and the cheese elaboration process. The physical (pH and density) and chemical characteristics (protein, fat, lactose, non fat solids and added water) of the milk used to elaborate the Tepeque cheese were determined. For the cheese the protein, fat, salt, history and great tradition that is older than 300 years. On the other hand, the cheese elaborated with milk from the ISPS had higher fat content (P<0.05) that the cheese of the traditional system, for the other nutrients no significant differences were observed between systems (P>0.05). Finally, it was observed that the sanitary characteristics of the milk and cheese were deficient in both systems; this problem is attenuated with the maturing process of cheese since as the cheese matures the number of undesirable bacteria is reduced. Therefore the consumption of matured cheese is recommended.

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