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Hygienic cheese production

Production and use

Practical Action's main concern was to develop techniques to improve the quality of the Quesillo produced in Yanacancha. It discovered that most of the faults with the cheese resulted from unhygienic production methods. Milk was mixed with cuajo (the ingredient that turns it into cheese) in a metal bucket by hand. The utensils used were often not sterilised and the processing was carried out with animals and children around. As a result, microbes in the milk affected the quality of the cheese.

Practical Action trained the villagers in more hygienic methods and explained the importance of cleanliness and quality control. They also suggested more efficient methods, which enabled the villagers to reduce the amount of milk needed to make 1kg of cheese from 10kg to around 8kg. Over 80 villagers have now been trained in better cheese-making techniques, helped by a series of Practical Action booklets. These are illustrated with explanatory photographs so that anyone can use them, whether they can read or not.

Today, the villagers still make some lower-quality Quesillo to sell as an ingredient for buttery cheese. However, they are also able to make high-quality cheese for eating, which they sell at a higher price.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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