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Discussion Threads: Questions from the Field


What is a processing aid and how do I know when to declare an ingredient on a product label? Would an antimicrobial compound such as natamycin have to be declared on an ingredient statement?


A processing aid is one that has no functionality in the finished product such as for flavor, or body and texture, shelf-life extension, etc. Natamycin is an antimicrobial (yeast and mold inhibitor) so yes, it does have functionality in the finished product … suppressing or inhibiting yeast and mold in the finished product, so the short answer is yes, it would have to be labeled.

There is a big environmental mold problem this year across the whole country from California to New York. We have been receiving calls from all over. Perhaps it’s bad farm dirt, barn environment, moldy silage or even a lot more mold on trees liberating all those nasty little mold spores that get into our dairy plants.

Photo 1: Yeast cells (magnified)             Photo 2: Mold hyphae                            Photo 3: Large curd cottage cheese

We have had customers asking about some of our natural antimicrobial cultures such as the DuPont™ Danisco® Holdbac® YM-C Plus, Holdbac® B-Plus or Holdbac® XPM. You can add these cultures to dairy products along with the regular culture and they will produce antimicrobial compounds and acids that inhibit yeast and mold. The best part about them is that in the case of cultured products which are already “cultured,” the antimicrobial effect becomes invisible on the ingredient statement since “cultured skim” is usually already declared on the ingredient statement and adding another culture already falls under the term “cultured skim.”

Add the Holdbac® culture along with your regular culture for that product when setting as is the case for sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese for “all natural” and label friendly “invisible” protection for shelf-life extension. As is the case for cottage cheese, adding Holdbac® XPM along with our Holdbac® MC or Holdbac® MCT cultures and fermenting right in the cheese vat during the set will produce antimicrobial compounds that stay with the cottage cheese curd may give you a few more days of shelf-life on your creamed or dry curd cottage cheese.

Holdbac® XPM doesn’t have any effect on set time, curd texture, or taste. In fact, it’s invisible except that when it grows it produces some antimicrobial compounds that stay with the cottage cheese curd, and don’t get killed during the cooking process. The Holdbac® XPM cultures provide some inhibiting compounds in the finished curd itself. The usage level for Holdbac® XPM in cottage cheese curd is 10-20 DCU per 4000-gallon vat. This is equivalent to adding 4 bags of Holdbac® YM-XPM to one vat of cottage cheese skim along with your regular cottage cheese culture. You may be glad you did. 

We hope you have enjoyed the latest issue of “DuPont Insights for Cultured Dairy.” See you next issue!


This is business-to-business information intended for food producers and is not intended for the final consumer of a finished food product. The information is provided “as-is” and its use is at the recipient’s sole discretion and risk. It is the recipient’s sole responsibility to determine the suitability and legality of its proposed use of DuPont products for specific purposes. Manufacturers should check the local regulatory status of any claims according to the intended use of the product. 

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