Following widely covered news reports of adulteration and fraud in some sectors of Italian cheese, Schuman Cheese, Fairfield, N.J., announced plans to introduce what is said to be the industry’s first trust mark. The on-package seal is intended to verify product quality and manufacturing integrity.

The True Cheese trust mark will appear on Schuman cheeses and snacks sold in supermarket and mass retail channels.

This move follows similar food industry initiatives for olive oil, honey and fresh fish, intended to help consumers know the product they are purchasing is real and what it claims to be. The True Cheese label will mean the verified product is made only with milk, cultures, salt and enzymes, is aged as required, and that any use of an anti-caking ingredient is at or below industry accepted levels and properly labeled.

Schuman Cheese also announced a product testing agreement with Covance Food Solutions, Princeton, N.J., to independently test True Cheese-labeled products. Periodic testing of randomly-selected products taken from retail locations will be performed at Covance’s laboratory in Madison, Wis. Covance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Burlington, N.C.

“We guarantee that all of our products are properly labeled and produced in accordance with the strictest regulations. Our partnership with Covance provides us with an objective, third-party verification of that promise,” says Neal Schuman, chief executive officer. “Our goal is to assure consumers that they’re getting real Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheeses when they buy cheeses with the True Cheese trust mark.”