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Have you ever bought a loaf, or a package of sliced Tillamook Cheddar and noticed a thin layer of white, crystal like formations on the outside? Before you cut it off or through away you cheese, read this! The white substance that you are seeing on your cheese is not mold, it is calcium lactate!

Calcium lactate is quite common in aged cheese because it forms during the natural aging process. When you see calcium lactate in cheese, it usually means you’ve found a well-aged and flavorful loaf. Well done, you!

The calcium lactate often looks like a white, film-like coating, or small dots. In older cheeses, like our Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, it may even be sprinkled within the loaf. That’s what those little crunchy pieces are in your cheese!

Calcium lactate particles can be as large as peas, but they’re usually about pinhead-size, or a white coating when found in Tillamook Cheese, The most important thing to remember about Calcium lactate is that it is naturally occurring and perfectly safe to eat!

If you’re ever unsure or want to chat about what you’re seeing on your cheese, reach out to the Consumer Relations team here!



Funny. I sort of knew it was OK to eat, but still cut it off any away. I am kind of OCD about these things. Next time I will try and use my cheese w/out shaving off the white stuff.

June 17th, 2015 at 9:22 am

Tillamook Team

Hi Chrissy,
Glad this post could help. If you're ever nervous, you can always give the team a call (1-855-562-3568) or email us to chat about what you're seeing on your cheese to be sure. :)

All the best,
Amalya of the Tillamook team

June 17th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Tom Roberts

My wife bit into a pea sized piece that was not crunchy it was solid and about broke her tooth. I am taking it back to Costco for a refund. She is afraid to eat any more of the wedge.

November 15th, 2016 at 4:43 am


Tillamook Team

Hi Tom,

Ouch! I hope she is ok! The more aged a cheddar is, the more calcium lactate or "cheese crystals" will be in the cheddar. If you wouldn't mind contacting our Consumer Relations team ( we'd love to get a little more information from you.


Sierra, of the Tillamook team

November 15th, 2016 at 10:15 am


how can I prevent this stuff from accumilating

March 5th, 2017 at 7:28 am


Tillamook Team

Hi Jan,

Thanks for your question. Calcium lactate forms naturally in cheese as it ages. The more aged the cheese is, the more calcium lactate will accumulate. If you dislike calcium lactate, we suggest choosing cheeses that are not aged. You can find all of our cheeses and how long they are aged on our Cheese Product Page.

Thanks again for reaching out!

Sierra, of the Tillamook team

March 6th, 2017 at 6:20 pm


Oh thank goodness. I have a mold allergy and a tight budget, so this block of Tillamook was a splurge. I'd seriously cry if I'd had to throw it away. Thank you so much for the peace of mind! And this was the top google result too so kudos to your web team.

March 9th, 2017 at 12:56 pm


Tillamook Team

Hi Jen,

I'm so glad this was useful for you! Moldy cheese is never fun, so we're glad it turned out to be calcium lacate:) I also shared your message with our web team and told them to keep up the good work. Thanks again for stopping by our blog!

All the best,

Sierra, of the Tillamook team

March 10th, 2017 at 5:04 pm


Thank you for this! I was about to throw out an entire package of the thin sliced cheese, and have actually scraped the calcium lactate off blocks before. From now on I'll just enjoy the crunch!

March 23rd, 2017 at 11:18 am


Tillamook Team

Hi Nikolette,

Happy to help! Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Sierra, of the Tillamook team

March 27th, 2017 at 9:55 am

Pam White

Hi tillamook,
I was very concerned until I read these messages, never eaten cheese with white, normally scrape off, but on thin slices that not easy; manager said i could return for a better one, but I may convince myself it's ok.

May 27th, 2017 at 1:21 pm


Tillamook Team

Hi Pam,

I hope this helps reassure you! Calcium lactate is completely normal and safe to consume. If you're ever concerned, feel free to contact our Consumer Relations team and send us a photo at We're happy to double check with our Quality Assurance team just to be safe.


Sierra, of the Tillamook team

May 31st, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Terry Tankersley

Is there calcium in medium white cheddar?
I am taking some meds and can't have any calcium for 2 hrs before or after taking the meds. But I love my cheese with my eggs.

June 25th, 2017 at 7:51 am


Tillamook Team

Hi Terry,

Yes, there are 180mg of calcium per serving in our Medium White Cheddar. You can find the nutritional information for this cheese on our website:

I hope that helps!

Sierra, of the Tillamook team

June 26th, 2017 at 5:14 pm
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