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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
Jamaican Cheese is the favourite of many and we create new ways to have it every day. When that fails, some of us eat it on its own (and I am embarrassed to say this but I am one of those people). But who is responsible for the cheesy goodness we all love?
Dairy Industries Jamaica Ltd has been manufacturing dairy products since 1964. They started producing cheese in February of 1968 through their brand Tastee Cheese. Tastee Cheese is not only a favourite in Jamaica but carries its distinct savoury flavour throughout the Caribbean and the world.
The company was the first in the Caribbean to manufacture processed canned cheese and has been the favourite for Jamaicans ever since.
Dairy Industries Jamaica Limited owns the brand Tastee Cheese. However, the company is governed by a partnership that began in 1996 between GraceKennedy & Company Limited and Fonterra, also known as New Zealand Co-operative Group Limited.
Dairy Industries became the first Caribbean company to achieve ISO 9001 standard and has been able to be recertified every year since. They were also granted Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. This was granted by Guelph Food Technology Centre who were satisfied with the rigorous food safety programme at the company.
In addition to producing Jamaica’s favourite cheese, they also manufacture:
But let’s talk about the star of the whole operation, the Tastee Cheese product line.
No matter the occasion or the season, there is a Tastee Cheese option. And speaking of seasons?
While we eat Tastee Cheese every day in Jamaica. There is still a season where we indulge a little more than usual. This is during the Easter period. One of our favourite parts of Easter is that we get to eat bun and cheese in copious amounts without odd stares and feelings of guilt because we know everyone is doing exactly the same thing.
Although Easter is when Jamaicans have the most cheese. There is a second cheese season celebrated the entire month of September. Yes, September is cheese month. Since 2009 the concept began in Jamaica and spread to Florida and New York.
Cheese Month is really just another chance in the year to indulge a little more in Jamaica.
In 2010, Tastee Cheese had Jamaica’s first-ever cheese fair and since September is also back-to-school, it was also an opportunity to give back to its consumers just in time for the new school year.
The cheese fair is also where we met Mr Wedge, the official mascot for Tastee Cheese, for the first time.
Fonterra being one of the companies overseeing the operations of Dairy Industries, the cheese used to make Tastee Cheese is brought from New Zealand. It contains Milk, Salt, Bacterial Culture, Enzyme, Water, Butter, Sodium Phosphates, Salt, Citric Acid, Preservatives and Annatto which is used for colouring.
Tastee Cheese is rich in calcium and Vitamin B. This is great for the structuring and strengthening of bones and overall bone health. Expecting mothers, growing children and the elderly are encouraged to have cheese to aid in bone health and the prevention of diseases like Osteoporosis.
Yes, Jamaican Tastee Cheese is a pasteurised, processed cheese made from real cheese.
After opening, Jamaican Cheese can last up to 8 weeks if it is stored correctly. This means keeping it in the refrigerator and covering it properly.
After all the information I have given you, I think I can confidently say, Yes Jamaica does produce cheese and it is absolutely Tastee. I’m sure you would love to try it now so I will share a recipe with you.
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