Oscypek cheese is one of the most recognizable regional products in Poland. Together with other ewe’s milk products manufactured in the Podhale region, it determines the specific character of this region. Because of limited supply of ewe’s milk and the lack thereof during the winter season, many farmers replaces it with cow’s milk. Thus, various types of cheeses similar to oscypek, such as scypek, łoscypek, gołka etc., are found in the local market. The objective of the research study was to characterize some selected quality features of cheeses available via direct sales in the region of Podhale, to compare them with the features of traditional oscypek, and to determine how much the cheeses from cow’s milk, which are similar to oscypek, impact the opinion on the quality of oscypek. Further to sensory evaluation, a basic chemical and microbiological profile was performed. The protein fractions of cheeses were analyzed using chromatography and electrophoresis, and the content of biogenic amines was determined therein. The products tested differed from the traditional oscypek cheeses, but there was also a great variability among them as regards their chemical composition and quality features. This can be a reason why it is not possible for a common consumer to distinguish a real traditional oscypek from some other similar smoked products produced from cow’s milk. In the cheeses described, the level of biogenic amines was, generally, similar to the level thereof found in the commercially available rennet cheeses; however, the presence of Enterobacteriaceae microflora therein proved poor hygiene during production.
oscypek, smoked regional cheeses, food safety, texture, protein fractions, biogenic amines