No, Easy Cheese does not require refrigeration. Read on for more details if you wish to learn more about the topic.
Easy cheese is canned spray cheese made by Nabisco, a brand of Mondelez International. It is available in the following flavors: cheddar, cheddar ‘n bacon, sharp cheddar, and American.
The cans of Easy Cheese, no matter flavor, clearly indicate “No Need To Refrigerate” on the front of them. You can store Easy Cheese in the cupboard or bring it along with you without having to keep it cool.
Below are the ingredients for the cheddar flavor to give you an idea of what is in Easy Cheese and why it is shelf stable.
You’ll notice that it has sodium phosphate and sodium citrate. These two ingredients help balance the pH in this spray cheese to extend it shelf life. They also help maintain texture without separation of oils.
Sorbic acid is also used as a preservative to inhibit the growth of molds. Similarly, the acetic acid in Easy Cheese is a preservative used to regulate its pH and to assist in detering bacterial growth.
Easy Cheese Cheddar Ingredients: Whey, Canola Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzymes), Milk, Contains Less Than 2% of Sodium Citrate, Sodium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Lactic Acid, Milkfat, Sodium Alginate, Sorbic Acid as A Preservative, Sodium Caseinate, Acetic Acid, Color (Annatto Extract, Apocarotenal), Enzymes, Cheese Culture.
We don’t have the inside details of how Easy Cheese is produced. However, it likely goes through a heating process to kill off harmful bacteria in order to create a sterile shelf stable product in the can.
The process was described in a 1921 patent issued to George Herbert Garstin who was working for the Phenix Cheese Company.
Under the present practice of sterilizing cheese by heat the cheese is ground up, heated to a temperature somewhat higher than its melting point, stirred for a time by me chanical stirrers, poured into cans and sealed. The cans containing the cheese are then placed in a sterilizer and there heated for a sufficient length of time varying with the character of the cheese, the size of the cheese mass, and within proper limits the temperature, to complete the work of sterilization.Patent US1368624A: Cheese and Process for Sterilizing
The patent goes on to discuss sodium phosphate as the “ideal substance for the purpose-of maintaining the homogeneity of the cheese”.
Overall, it is perfectly safe to eat Easy Cheese that has not been refrigerated. If you choose to leave it unrefrigerated, try to keep it in the most ideal condition such as a cool, dark pantry or cupboard to maximize shelf life.
Image Credit – Mike Mozart/flickr