|Contents||||Introduction||Comments by:||31 Jan 00|
|||Milk classification, version 99/1|
|||Classification of milk products and substitutes|
|||Fat content criteria for milk products|
|||Classification of cheeses by type|
|||Classification of cheeses by fat content|
|||Conclusions and future work|
|||Request for comments and suggestions|
|Information||||Cheese subgroups, version 93/1|
|||Cheese subgroups, version 99/1|
|||Cheese subgroups, version 99/2|
|||Fat content data for cheeses|
|||CODEX classification for cheeses|
|||Links to external cheese information|
The classification of cheeses in version 99/1 retained that in version 93/1, in part at least while awaiting comments on the types of revision being proposed overall during the Eurocode Review project. The Paris meeting suggested that the options for dividing cheeses into categories should be considered further in a discussion note.
Since some similar aspects apply to the classification of milk and of cheese, and it is helpful to record the various considerations in defining the classification within the major Milk and milk products subgroups, this note has been produced to collect and combine the discussions.
The version 99/1 proposal separated Cow milk and Other milks so that the number of top-level subgroups was kept to a minimum while allowing the fat content for Cow milk to be applied at the next level down. This was seen as a temporary solution in case a unified approach to recording fat content using descriptors is developed. Then a single subgroup could be created for Liquid milks, divided by species at the next level. The subgroup would include all 'fresh' milks, including forms such as sterilised, UHT, etc., with descriptors defined to record such types of processing.standard set of codes has been defined. Generally within the current classification this would be applied at the fourth level, e.g. 22.214.171.124 - Skimmed cow's milk. However the Processed milks subgroup is further subdivided by product type before fat content is applied and if species is required here, it will be at the next lower level, e.g. 126.96.36.199.30 - Dried whole sheep's milk.
The subgroups of the milk products group are categorised on the basis of product type which can be considered to include the characteristic use of the food item. Thus if a product is used as a substitute for animal milk, it should be categorised as a milk. On this basis, soya milk and cocolait (coconut milk processed for use instead of cow's milk) would be classified in the Milks group as milk substitutes whereas coconut milk itself would be considered a vegetable product.
Version 99/1 introduced an Imitation milk and cream subgroup for substitute products (which included Soya yogurt and Soya cheese). This remains inconsistent with the overall structure of the group, as outlined above, in which the first level is based on product types such as milk, yogurt or cheese. For full consistency, classification of the soya source could be relegated to the fourth level. In that case, Soya milk (1.9% fat) would be coded as 188.8.131.52. Alternatively, the 'Imitation' subgroup could be viewed as a separate product 'type' which would be subdivided on a second product type basis into substitute milk, cheese, etc. (rather as the Processed milks are given a further product type subdivision). Again, for the consistency, this should be categorised as Imitation milk
Crete workshop discussion, a preference was stated for categorising cheeses by criteria such a method of production rather than on fat percentages which were often very similar for different cheeses. It was also suggested that individual cheeses should be assigned to their place in the classification so that codes could be looked up using the cheese name in the index. However the Rationale Document and the version 93/1 classification applied a very simple classification by type (into Hard cheese, Soft cheese, Fresh cheese). Although the Rationale Document states that this approach was taken after the investigation of several alternatives, there may be advantages in a revised cheese type criterion. Subdivision by fat content, discussed below, may also be improved by revising the cheese type categories.
Version 99/2 proposes seven cheese subgroups: Fresh cheese, Soft cheese, Semi-hard cheese, Hard cheese, Blue cheese, Smoked cheese and Processed cheese. Descriptions of these types have been drafted and comments are welcome on any advantages or disadvantages compared to the set of three simple types (Fresh, Soft and Hard). A possible advantage of distinguishing between Semi-hard and Hard may be that it separates out cheeses with differing percentages of water, as suggested in the Crete workshop. An alternative faceted classification of cheeses contained in the CODEX General Standard for Cheese uses separate factors for firmness, fat content and the principal curing characteristics.
In practice the subdivision into cheese types should probably be moved down a level, below a general subgroup category of 'Cheese'. Are there other possible cheese categories that should be included, for example Whey cheese?some sample data show, many hard cheeses (many of which would be assigned to the 99/2 'Semi-hard cheese' category) have close to 50% fat on a dry-weight basis. When the product type categories for cheese are finalised, the set of data should be extended and organised by the revised categories so that appropriate fat content ranges can be identified. Where products spanned three categories, the data used may have covered distinctly different products, perhaps including low-fat varieties of the cheese which should be given more specific names.
The Core Classification as presently defined includes the subgroups and sub-subgroups and thus equates with the two product type levels proposed for the Milk and milk products main group. Therefore the type categories will be defined in the present project but the subsequent task of subdividing these into suitable fat content categories is considered future work. This will involve identifying the most useful (and most easily applied) fat ranges for each product type category. It should be based on an extensive international collection of fat and moisture data for individual cheeses that will have been assigned to product type categories. Extracts from the data collection can now easily be extracted into HTML pages, as demonstrated by the sample data.
If and when the use of longer but more structured codes is shown to improve the categorisation, the approach might be applied to other main groups. The gains in flexibility are considerable, allowing new categories to be created by users from existing criteria and permitting intermediate criteria to be skipped as unassigned. For example, the code for the general food 'Buffalo cheese' can be generated as required rather than being predefined (endnote). Other groups would require different sequences of subdivision criteria to maintain compatibility with generally accepted food grouping hierarchies, but a structure key for each group would allow retrieval systems to locate comparible criteria in different groups, for example the source species criterion. Relevant (or available) information identifying the food could be recorded even where intervening criteria are unknown and a wide range of aggregation groupings could be derived, including very general categories such as 'Sheep products'. The necessary revision and clarification of the Milk and milk products classification, particularly with regard to milks and cheeses, provides an opportunity to test the further possibilities.
Comments on the above notes, together with any further information or suggestions for specific categories, would be very welcome. Please return your comments using the project feedback form, if possible by 31 January 2000.