World's oldest cheese discovered, but scientists say don't eat it

Do not eat the ancient cheese.
Do not eat the ancient cheese. Photo credit: Analytical Chemistry / Supplied

Archaeologists have found the world's oldest cheese, but connoisseurs shouldn't get too excited about having a taste.

The 3300-year-old cheese was uncovered in Egypt as the archaeologists re-examined the tomb of Phtames, a mayor of the former capital Memphis.

It would have first been uncovered in 1885 during the tomb's initial excavation but according to journal Analytical Chemistry, it remained unnoticed for more than 100 more years.

Scientists analysed the substance, found inside broken jars, and found it had a mixture of cows' milk and sheep or goats' milk.

But the taste will forever remain a mystery - it's also riddled with the incredibly toxic Brucella melitensis bacteria. A study published in May, unrelated to the cheese find, warned the bacteria "could be used in a bioterrorist attack".

Even if it were edible, scientists still aren't sure what its flavour would be.

"I'm Italian, I love cheese and I know how much they can change in flavour and appearance even with very few differences in ingredients and process," co-author Enrico Grego told the Telegraph.

Despite the cheese discovery, the scientists still haven't managed to find the mummified body of Phtames or his family, according to local media.