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S.W. Florida Daily News


The Illegality of Clotted Cream in the US: Unveiling the Enigma and its Culinary Significance

What Is Clotted Cream And Why Is It Illegal In The US?

Clotted cream is a rich and indulgent dairy product that has been enjoyed in British cuisine for centuries. With its thick, creamy texture and velvety taste, it is often used as a topping for scones, puddings, or fruit. However, despite its popularity in the United Kingdom, clotted cream is illegal in the US. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this prohibition and shed light on the quirks of food regulations that vary from country to country.

Introduction to Clotted Cream

Clotted cream is a unique type of cream that is made by heating unpasteurized cow’s milk and allowing it to slowly cool. During this process, a thick layer of cream rises to the surface and forms a golden “clot” or crust. This crust is then carefully skimmed off and used as the final product. The resulting clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter and a rich, buttery taste.

A Favorite in British Cuisine

In the United Kingdom, clotted cream holds a special place in culinary traditions. It is a staple component of the quintessential British afternoon tea, often served alongside freshly baked scones, strawberry preserves, and a piping hot cup of tea. The combination of the buttery clotted cream and the sweet, crumbly scone is an absolute delight for the taste buds, making it a highly sought after treat.

The Controversial Fat Content

One of the main reasons behind the prohibition of clotted cream in the US is its high fat content. Clotted cream typically boasts a fat content ranging from 55% to 64%, which is significantly higher than most other types of cream available in the market. In comparison, heavy cream, which is commonly used in the US, usually has a fat content of about 36%. The high fat content of clotted cream is a concern for health officials, as it is believed to contribute to heart disease and obesity, among other health issues.

Pasteurization and Food Safety Concerns

Another reason clotted cream faces restrictions in the US is due to the process used to produce it. Traditional clotted cream is made using unpasteurized milk, which poses potential health risks. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill harmful bacteria, making it safer for consumption. In the US, the majority of dairy products, including cream, are made from pasteurized milk to ensure food safety. The use of unpasteurized milk in clotted cream is considered a departure from established safety standards, leading to its prohibition.

Food Regulations and Variations around the World

The prohibition of clotted cream in the US shows how food regulations can differ from country to country. Each nation sets its own standards and guidelines for what is considered safe for consumption. While clotted cream may be perfectly legal and widely enjoyed in the UK, it does not meet the stringent criteria set by US food regulatory authorities.

This variation in food regulations can often be attributed to a difference in cultural practices and historical contexts. What may be deemed acceptable or traditional in one country may not meet the requirements or standards of another.


Clotted cream, a beloved delicacy in British cuisine, remains illegal in the US due to its high fat content and the use of unpasteurized milk. While it may be disappointing for clotted cream enthusiasts across the nation, it is important to understand that food regulations differ from country to country, in line with varying cultural and safety standards. Although clotted cream may be off-limits in the US, its unique and indulgent qualities continue to be enjoyed by those fortunate enough to have access to it elsewhere in the world.


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