When Do Fish Sleep

Why is Cheddar Cheese Orange?

When Do Fish SleepUnless they’ve been breeding some pretty strange cows in Wisconsin, we would expect cows to produce white milk.  All the folks in the dairy industry assured us that they haven’t bred a mutant race of cows just to produce orangeish cheddar cheese.
Cheddar cheese is artificially colored with natural ingredients, most commonly annatto, a seed obtained from a tropical annatto tree, found in Central America.  Kraft, the largest seller of cheese in the U.S., uses a combination of annatto and oleoresin paprika, an oil extraction of the spice paprika, to color its cheddar cheese.  Depending upon the natural color of the milk and the amount of annatto added, cheese can be turned into a bright orange color or a more natural-looking yellow shade.
The only reason why cheesemakers color their product is because consumers seem to prefer it.  Regional tastes differ, though.  Some areas of the eastern U.S. prefer white cheese, while most of the rest of the country favors yellow.  Kraft even makes white “American Singles,” although the artificially colored yellow slices far outsell them.