Yellow cheese  production
(produktion af gul ost)


Process description

The present data refer to yellow cheese production in Hjørring Cheese Dairy (Arla Foods) in 2002 where the main production processes are following: 1) milk is received from farms 2) the milk is pasteurised 3) the pasteurized milk is mixed with enzymes and lactic acid bacteria in a large tank, 4) the mixture undergoes solidification and a watery liquid (whey) is separated and removed until a certain consistency of the curd (a thick white substance) has been achieved, 5) the curd is formed into cheese and stored cool (weeks or months depending on desired taste of the final product), 6) the cheese is covered with wax, packed in plastic foil and stored until distribution. Wastewater generated during the process is diverted directly to municipal wastewater treatment. The dairy is characterised by a high degree of specialisation in cheese production and all processes modern and automatic.

Data collection and treatment

Data are derived from Hjørring Cheese Dairy's records (Green Account 2001/2002). Average inputs and outputs per produced unit of cheese have been calculated ignoring minor contributions from other products.

Technical scope

Production processes from receipt of raw milk to storage of the final product before distribution as well as administration and wastewater treatment are included. Packaging, cleaning agents and chemicals are not included.


Similar technology is used in other cheese producing units in Arla. Arla is a major supplier cheese to the Danish market and the present data provides a reasonable representation of yellow cheese production in Denmark.

Cheese with strong taste need longer storage time than cheese with mild taste. Since data are average for all kinds of yellow cheese produced at the dairy and cool storage requires electricity, the data for electricity may be somewhat overestimated for mild cheese and somewhat underestimated for strong cheese. 


Data have been compared with data obtained by Berlin (2002) in terms of contributions to environmental impacts. At some points results are quite similar whereas at others they are very different. The reason is probably that heat and electricity scenarios are different but probably also that production principles vary.

Inputs and outputs

Inputs and outputs associated with yellow cheese production are shown in the table below. Data are provided per kg of yellow cheese whithout packaging at the factory's gate.

    Unit  Quantity
Inputs Milk from farm ton 10
  Electricity kWh 596
  Heat MJ 4800
  Water m3 15
Outputs Products    
Yellow cheese ton 1.0
Whey  ton 8.5
Cream ton 0.68
Emission to municipal wastewater treatment plant    
COD kg 38
N kg 2.1
  P kg 0.8

Location in database: Material/Food from industry/From dairies/Cheese


Berlin J. (2002).  Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of Swedish semi-hard cheese International Dairy Journal. 12(11), 939-953.

Administrative information

Data URL:
Version no.: 1.00
Authors: Per H. Nielsen,
2.-0 LCA Consultants
Data entry: Data have been entered in this format by Per H. Nielsen

Data completed: July 2003.