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What Type of Rennet Do We Use in Our Cheesemaking?

posted on

March 18, 2024

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What Type of Rennet Do We Use in Our Cheesemaking?

We have fielded dozens of inquiries this month from many of you since the news article release from The Defender – Children’s Health Defense, written by Dr. Mercola. 90% of U.S. Cheeses Contains GMO Made by Pfizer 

For those that didn’t read this article, let’s back up. 

What is Rennet?

There are traditionally four ingredients in cheese - milk, salt, rennet, and culture starter. Rennet is used as a clotting agent to curdle the milk into cheese, separating the liquid parts of milk from the solids. It’s an essential part of the cheese-making process.

What are the 4-Types of Rennet?

Animal rennet 

Oldest and Most natural form coming from the stomach lining of a ruminant and produces superior flavor. Because of its multiple types of enzymes, chymosin, pepsin and lipase, it best breaks down milk protein molecules like casein, divides and re-coagulates into even larger clumps producing a richer flavor and healthier cheese. 

Vegetable rennet 

Varies depending on the source, and the term “vegetable rennet” is misused a lot. True vegetable rennet is derived from plants (nettle, thistle, fig bark) that possess coagulation enzymes which unfortunately have a low MCA/PA (milk clotting activity/proteolytic activity) ratios resulting in poor cheese yield and formation of bitter substances during cheese ripening. Thus, most of the cheese with the label “vegetable rennet” isn’t real vegetable rennet. It’s either microbial rennet (made from mold) or FPC (the GMO version) since there is no regulation on the terms used for what rennet is used in cheese labeling. 

Microbial rennet 

Enzymes are produced by a specific type of mold, fungus or yeast organism grown and fermented in a lab setting (often fed soy). So, while the microorganisms aren’t genetically modified, their food source likely is. This is considered vegetarian-friendly as the enzyme produced by the organism is not derived from an animal however produces a bitter taste. This option is commonly used in “certified organic” and “certified vegetarian” cheeses. Microorganisms have the advantages of a short growth cycle, easy fermentation,  and are not limited by space and region of production. Therefore, the cost of microbial (MCE) is low.

Genetically Modified FPC (fermentation-produced chymosin) made by Pfizer rennet 

To overcome some of the shortcomings of the vegetable and microbial rennets like the potential bitter cheese taste, scientists have leveraged genetic engineering technology to create new, genetically modified species that generate these milk-curdling enzymes.  

Introducing the most common alternative to animal rennet in cheese making — FPC is made possible by using CRISPR GENE EDITING technology where the genomes of living organisms are modified. And, it was granted GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) loophole status (unique to our country) meaning Pfizer was exempt from pre-approval requirements for new food additives. 

An estimated 90% of North American cheese is made with FPC rennet, and ingredient labels do not distinguish between bioengineered rennet and the original animal-based type so consumers have no way of knowing what they’re eating.

What Kind of Rennet Do we Use at Simply Grassfed’s Alpine Heritage Creamery?

Animal Rennet 

We use animal rennet from WalcoRen that does not contain any DNA recombinant enzyme obtained by genetic engineering. 

The ingredients are: 

  • Veal Rennet
  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium benzoate 1%
  • Water

Feel free to email me to obtain their technical data sheet and sleep well knowing that when you bite into any of our (14) flavors of our Alpine Heritage Creamery cheeses you are eating truly 100% GMO-FREE, and the healthiest, tastiest organic raw cheeses made in the USA.

Phoenix
Simply Grassfed Families

organic raw cheese

A2/A2 cheese

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