As much as I love cream cheese, it can be a bit worrying if it turns pink!
It doesn’t happen very often, but I decided to try and find the cause and let you know.
Personally, I would throw it away, but is it actually safe to eat?
Is the pink color caused by the bacteria in the cheese?
Could it be food coloring or other ingredients?
Can cream cheese pick up coloring from other foods?
What is the best way to store cream cheese to stop it from turning pink?
Let’s solve the mystery of pink cream cheese!
Cream cheese should not naturally be pink, and it can indicate that it has been contaminated. The process of making cream cheese includes adding lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria could induce the pink color as they react with other components. There is the possibility that food coloring has caused the pink tinge, but this is unlikely, as the manufacturer would have discarded the cream cheese before shipping it. Other added ingredients could affect the color of the cheese, such as prawns. It is possible for cream cheese to be cross-contaminated by other pink or red foods.
How Does Cream Cheese Turn Pink?
We don’t expect cream cheese to be pink, it should be creamy white in color.
And we wouldn’t automatically assume it is moldy, as that would typically be indicated by blue or green discoloration.
So, how does cream cheese turn pink, and should we be worried about it?
Realistically, it is likely to be contaminated, but this can be from different sources.
One thing to understand is that purposely adding bacteria is part of the cheesemaking process.
Typically, this is lactic acid bacteria, and it can result in what is known as a microbial action.
In other words, the bacteria are reacting with other components of the cream cheese and turn it pink.
If this is the case, then the cheese can still be safely consumed.
However, let’s face it, there is no way of knowing if this is the cause of the pink color!
So, if it is not the bacteria, but a sign that the cream cheese has gone off, then we shouldn’t eat it!
Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk and would throw it away.
There is also the potential for the pink discoloration to be caused by food coloring, but this is unlikely, as the manufacturers are scrupulous about avoiding cross-contamination with other foods.
Some brands of cream cheese add extra ingredients, such as garlic or herbs, for additional flavor.
If pink ingredients such as prawns were to be added, then potentially, the color could spread through the cheese.
Is Pink Cream Cheese Safe to Eat?
If we consider the facts above, then realistically, pink cream cheese should not be eaten, as you have no idea as to the true cause of its changing color.
The most logical explanation is that it has turned moldy.
We are used to mold on cheese being green or blue, but don’t assume that pink is a safe color.
Pink mold can be a common occurrence in cheese due to the specific bacteria that are introduced during the manufacturing process.
And unfortunately, unlike some other cheeses, you can’t simply ignore the portion that has turned pink and use the rest.
The mold spores could have spread throughout the rest of the cream cheese but not yet be visible.
Moldy cream cheese can cause severe stomach upsets.
Of course, there may be occasions when you know that you have caused the discoloration.
For example, if you have used a knife for chopping red peppers and then dipped that same knife in the cream cheese.
Always use fresh, clean cutlery when taking the cream cheese out of the tub.
And ensure you keep it refrigerated, only taking it out when immediately ready to use the cheese, and cover it again straight away in an airtight container.
DIY Pink Cream Cheese Frosting Fluffy Slime
- If cream cheese has turned pink, the cause needs to be established.
- Realistically, the unusual color will indicate that the cheese has gone off
- It could be cross-contaminated by other pink or red foods
- The bacteria introduced during the cheesemaking process could cause the pink discoloration
- Ideally, the cheese should be thrown away, as it could be a risk to your health
Let me know your thoughts, have you ever eaten pink cream cheese?
If you enjoyed this article, you may wish to find out why brie goes brown!