It’s a bad day to be a cheese-loving vegetarian…
It turns out that one of the most beloved and iconic cheeses, Parmesan, is actually made from animal rennet.
If you’re not sure what that is, prepare your stomachs (hint, hint) as we break it down for you.
Warning: this can make you feel a bit dizzy. 🤢
The Little Known Fact About How Parmesan Cheese Is Made
Parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, which is an enzyme that comes from the fourth lining of the stomach of animals, usually calves, goats, and lambs.
The animal usually dies in the process.
Then the rennet is taken and dried to solidify.
Then, when it’s time to make the cheese, the rennet is rehydrated in water.
This liquid is then added to milk which is then whipped to make cheese.
Rennet is the ingredient that helps separate the solid particles in milk from the water content to form a solid mass, which allows the curd to form.
“I never want cheese in my life again”
The revelation has sparked a debate online, with some expressing surprise that they had been consuming an ingredient derived from animal stomachs.
A popular tweet that drew attention to the subject he said: “Years today when I found out that Parmesan cheese is made from the stomach of a baby cow and I started crying. I’m going to have to go completely vegan at this point.”
“Creepy! Why are we eating something baby as a species?” one person replied.
Another said: “I just can’t… I’m done.”
A third wrote: “Wow, never heard of that! Dairy is really scary.”
“That’s really gross. I never want cheese in my life again,” said a fourth.
There are alternatives!
So what’s a cheese lover to do?
If the whole animal rennet thing doesn’t sit well with you, but you’re not quite ready to give up cheese altogether, fear not, there are other natural and more ethical options available.
Fortunately, modern technology has made it possible to develop non-animal rennet, and some brands of cheese use plant-derived rennet.
Some cheesemakers even use microbial rennet, which comes from bacteria and fungi.
Of course, you can also look into plant-based cheese alternatives, like vegan cheeses.
But unfortunately, Parmesan cheese is always made with animal rennet, because cheeses from a specific place must follow a consistent recipe to use the name.
According to the Vegetarian Society, Parmesan cheese always has to use animal rennet.