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My question is about commercially mass-produced cheddar cheese sold in vacuum-sealed plastic packaging. The particular variety is a medium-age marble. I find that sometimes, when a package is freshly opened, the cheese has a firm almost crumbly consistency which cuts cleanly and easily with a dinner knife (which I prefer), and when I open a different package of the identically labeled product, it may be softer and somewhat gooey. The taste is also a bit different. I find that the cheese does not noticeably "age" after opening over a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, so it doesn't seem as though it is a "shelf life" issue with the sealed product. For a mass-produced product, I would have expected a consistent product in every package.

What would cause the variation? Would there be batch-to-batch variations before packaging due to manufacturing? Is it caused by differences in handling after packaging?

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    Have you attempted to contact the producer?
    – moscafj
    Jan 3 at 2:51
  • Block cheddar should never be "gooey." Based on that description, I can't answer your question of why, but I feel fairly confident in saying it's not right. Contacting the producer or reseller would seem logical
    – AMtwo
    Jan 3 at 5:17
  • Is it generic supermarket own brand, or a named brand? The former could be sourced from multiple suppliers under the same label. But gooey is wrong unless melted. Cheddar doesn't have to be crumbly though; it can be rather smooth particularly if young /mild
    – Chris H
    Jan 3 at 8:46
  • I see similar variation in the (discount) brand of string cheese I buy. Some batches are overly salty and kind of hard; some batches are under-salted and bland; some batches the "strings" don't run parallel so you can't easily pull the cheese stick apart into strands; some batches are absolutely perfectly soft, stringy and only moderately salty. If you want a consistent product, buy a more expensive name brand, and shop around until you find one that's consistent.
    – csk
    Jan 3 at 18:49
  • Is this a consistent issue, or is this an issue between two recently purchased and opened blocks of cheese specifically? If it's just something you've seen there could have been issues with temperature with the "off" block during shipping. I've noticed that if a block of cheese gets too warm at any point, the oils rise to the surface, and that does effect texture.
    – BobKayser
    Jan 3 at 19:30
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Depends on how large the production is. You would expect extremely large scale production to be tightly controlled, but something that is quite large might just be made from a series of large batches. Large batches, particularly in dairy production, can allow very high levels of variance between the beginning and end of a batch.

Your issue sounds like a quality control problem though. Contact the manufacturer.

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