Panicked foodie claims they’ll never eat Parmesan again after discovering how it’s made: ‘I think I’m going to get sick’
- Parmesan cheese is made using animal rennet
- The substance is found in the stomachs of small mammals
- The use of rennet makes the cheese unsuitable for vegetarians
Foodies have been horrified after learning exactly how Parmesan cheese is made—many swear to never eat it again.
In a viral outburst, a woman announced her shock at the discovery of the popular cheese containing a substance taken from the stomach of a calf.
Today, when I found out that Parmesan cheese is made from the stomach of a young cow and I could cry. She said in a tweet.
The substance known as animal rennet is a key ingredient in traditional Parmesan cheese, a fact that has especially given many vegetarians a spin.
Rennet is an enzyme found in the stomach lining of mammals, usually young cows, sheep or goats, that helps them digest breast milk.
Vegan foodies share their shock at the ‘terrifying’ discovery that Parmesan cheese is made using rennet, a substance found in the stomach of a young cow.
Animals have to be killed in order for cheese makers to extract the substance making anything containing an ingredient unsuitable for vegans.
“Wow, I’ve never heard that before! Dairy is really scary,” someone replied.
‘horrifying! Why would we eat anything for children as a species? request again.
What is rennet?
Rennet is usually taken from the fourth stomach of a relatively small grazing animal such as calves, goats, or lambs.
This stomach is given over to concentrate an enzyme called chymosin, which gradually loses potency over time as grass replaces milk in this animal’s diet.
Traditionally, obtaining rennet meant cutting young calves’ stomachs into small pieces that were dropped into salt water or whey, with something acidic like wine or vinegar used to help extract the enzymes.
Once filtered, this solution can curdle a much larger volume of milk.
More modern methods use a little bit of precision chemistry to produce the most effective rennet, but calf stomachs are still involved.
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‘I did not know. This makes me very sad. I love Parmesan but don’t think I’ll ever eat it again,” a third admitted.
One user replied that, while the truth is known to many, you often see dishes with Parmesan served to vegans in restaurants.
“You’re not alone — I still see ‘eggplant parmesan’ as a ‘vegan’ option in restaurants or suggested recipes in ‘vegan’ articles,” she wrote.
Another noted that “it’s one of the few cheeses still made this way,” while a third said, “Most hard cheeses are made with rennet.”
Other cheeses traditionally made from animal products include Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, Camembert, Gruyère, and Manchego.
However, vegans need not despair just yet, as some cheese producers have made it clear that they are beginning to use animal-friendly rennet.
Rennet does not have to be from animal sources, there are plant-based types that work the same way. That but it’s true that you’ll have to check if you can say it’s actually vegan,” one person wrote.
Most rennet today uses genetically modified yeast and bacteria in its production, rather than calf stomachs. Obviously there are still some products that use calf stomach (as a matter of tradition), but most mass-produced cheese uses genetically modified rennet,” another agreed.
This process is outdated and is no longer used due to mass manufacturing (as far as I know)! You are safe to eat your Parm! said a third.
Can parmesan cheese be suitable for vegans?
Traditionally referred to as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan cheese is a highly regulated cheese made in Italy under strict guidelines.
A long-life cheese made from cow’s milk, it’s made using an ingredient that might be foreign to non-cheesemakers: calf rennet.
The use of rennet is essential for the production of traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Parmesan cheese is a close relative of Parmigiano-Reggiano and can be made elsewhere without strict regulations; It may or may not contain calf rennet.
Other cheeses of the larger Parmesan family can be made with vegetable rennet (also called bacterial or vegetable rennet) that is not derived from animals.
Evidence that cheese is vegan can be found on food labels that clearly indicate that the product is free from animals.
In the absence of such transparency, you can look for “microbial rennet” in the ingredients list, or stick to kosher products, which religiously use plant-based rennet.