The fat and fatty acid content of three traditional Greek cheeses were determined monthly for a period of 1 year. The analyzed cheeses, feta, graviera and manouri, are traditional Greek dairy products made exclusively or primarily from sheep milk. In all cheeses, the content of the fatty acids varies during several months, especially the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content of feta, graviera and manouri ranged between 0.5 and 0.9, 0.5 and 1.0 and 0.4 and 0.8 g/100 g total fatty acids, respectively. The average content of CLA in graviera and feta was similar (0.75 and 0.72 g/100 g fatty acids, respectively). On the other hand, the CLA content of manouri (0.54 g/100 g fatty acids) was less than that of the other two cheeses. In every case, the analyzed cheeses can be characterized as good or very good CLA sources.
No data exist about the variation in the fatty acid composition of standardized cheeses during the various months of the year. Several investigations were carried out in order to determine the fatty acid composition and especially the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content of various kinds of cheese. However, cheeses were produced from milk and it is suggested that the milk composition is affected by seasonal factors. In the present investigation, we tried to find out if the beneficial fatty acid content of cheeses, which were previously found as rich CLA sources, is season dependent. The results of this research are a potential tool for food technologist in order to provide CLA-enriched diets.