Control processing to produce natural cheese

Business Sectors (Suites): Dairy
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 30 Mar 2023


This standard covers the skills and knowledge needed for you to produce natural cheese in food and drink manufacture and/or supply operations. Knowing how to produce the correct specification of natural cheese is important to the production of a final product that adheres to regulatory food safety and organisational quality and yield specifications.

The raw material could be from a variety of sources (e.g. milk from sheep, goat, cow and buffalo).

You will need to know how to prepare equipment to produce natural cheese and control the natural cheese making process. You must also know how to adhere to regulatory standards and standard operating procedures. You must be able to apply your skills and knowledge within food safety regulations and any relevant international industry codes especially when referring to HACCP, TACCP and VACCP.

This standard is for you if you work in food and drink manufacture and/or supply operations and are involved in producing natural cheese.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

1. prepare to receive prepared milk from upstream processing equipment/storage and associated compliance documentation
2. use the correct personal protective equipment
4. selection of the correct starter culture and the weight/volume
5. check organisational standard operating procedures and product recipes relating to the production of natural cheese
6. check that all necessary plant, equipment, plans for production, ingredients and services are available and fit for use
7. check documentation to ensure plant is ready for use
8. start up and control dairy processing equipment within the limits of your responsibility
9. work at a pace suitable to meet the production plan
10. make adjustments to equipment to maintain organisational product specifications
11. take representative samples for testing adhering to organisational sampling plan within the limits of your responsibility
12. evaluate faults for impact on product and processing equipment operations within the limits of your responsibility
13. make dairy product available to next stage of processing or packaging
14. prepare for changeover of product recipe or packaging in line with organisational requirements
15. prepare to handover process on shift changeover in line with organisational requirements
16. deal with product waste in line with legislation and organisational requirements
17. liaise with relevant personnel to prepare plant for shutdown
18.  process and route interphase product
19. establish and maintain effective spoken, written and electronic communication with relevant people
20. complete the necessary documentation and process to organisational requirements

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

1. the food safety aspects of the production of natural cheese products including HACCP, TACCP and VACCP

2. the dairy science underpinning natural cheese production

3. the health and safety aspects associated with the process
4. how natural cheese is classified and the key differences between relevant varieties

5. the regulations relating to the composition requirements for different types of natural cheese
6. the key stages in the production of cheese
7. the function of the key ingredients needed to make cheese
8. how changes in a cheese recipe including amounts of ingredients, time/temperature combinations and handling or processing can affect the type of cheese produced

9. what the actions are to address variations in intake milk fat levels and environmental factors including seasonality and temperature

10. how to adjust the process controls in response to quality testing, to ensure the cheese meets organisational final product quality and yield specifications

11. the function and role of primary and secondary cultures in the production of cheese

12. how to source, select and mix starter cultures in the production of cheese
13. why and how the type of starter culture used can affect the ingredients and processing requirements during cheese making

14. how the variety of starter culture used can affect the final cheese product

15. the specific types of starter used to make different types of cheese such as hard cheese, soft cheese and Swiss cheese
16. the recipe changes and additions required to produce mould ripened cheese
17. the function of rennet in cheese making
18. the sources, advantages and disadvantages of animal and vegetarian rennet
19. common colours used in the production of natural cheese
20. how environmental conditions in the cheese vat including time/temperature combinations and pH affect the cheese making process and the final cheese product
21. at what stages are pH and titratable acidity measurements carried out and why they are important to the production of cheese
22. the significance of "slow vats" to cheese making and how they are dealt with
23. why the mechanical techniques of stirring, cutting, scalding, pitching and milling are carried out in cheese making and their effect on the final cheese product
24. the importance of salt addition to cheese taste, preservation and water loss
25. how different time/pressure cheese pressing combinations affect the final product
26. the importance of maturation and ripening to the aroma, flavour and texture of the final cheese product
27. common faults occurring in cheese and how they occur
28. the key differences between equipment and processes in large and small scale craft production environments
29. why it is important to control storage maturation temperature(s) of natural cheese
30. how to maintain communication with relevant people when producing natural cheese
31. how to control equipment to ensure the natural cheese meets organisational final product quality, yield and productivity specifications
32. common sources of contamination during processing, how to avoid these and what might happen if this is not done
33. how to deal with product that can be re-cycled or re-worked
34. the hygienic design of natural cheese plant
35. How the manufacture process and support operations  use digital technologies rather than paper based systems to monitor and control production


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2028





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Food Preparation Trades, Manufacturing Technologies, Process Operatives, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

SOC Code



Dairy; commercial; cheese; product; food; drink; yield; quality; ingredients