Scientists say they've discovered why Swiss cheese has holes in it and it’s all down to dirt, apparently

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Image: This is why your Swiss cheese has holes in

Photo: Filter Forge /  CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: filterforge

Swiss cheese is becoming whole again

Tom and Jerry lovers, we’re sorry to tell you but your Swiss cheese does not get its holes from mice nibbling away at your favourite treats in the night.


New research has poked holes in the mystery that has plagued Swiss cheese eaters and producers for years. Namely: where do those cheese holes come from?


Thankfully, a Swiss laboratory says it has found the answer.

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Tom and Jerry cheese

Gif: Tom and Jerry /

Agroscope, a Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research, says that “microscopically small hay particles” fall into buckets collecting the milk and develop into bigger holes as the cheese matures. This only affects certain cheeses such as Emmental and Appenzell.


This also solves another burning cheese-related question: why have the holes been decreasing over the last 15 years for no apparent reason?


Scientists say that modern milking methods make it less likely for hay to fall into the containers.


Agroscope arrived at this hay-pothesis after adding small amounts of hay dust to milk before making it into cheese over 130 days.


The new research overturns a previous theory, which has been held since 1917, that the cheesy holes were created by bacteria that produced carbon dioxide bubbles.


Consider those holes in the cheese mystery well and truly plugged.