HOW CAN CHEESE BE A VEGETARIAN OR NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD WHEN THE MILK FROM WHICH IT IS MADE IS CONSIDERED VEGETARIAN?
The answer is in the first step of cheese making. The Rennet which is added for the coagulation of milk is a product extracted from the stomach of slaughtered unweaned calves [cows] or piglets or goats. Thus, cheese produced using Rennet is a Non-Veg product.
In Vegetarian Cheese instead of using rennet, milk is coagulated with the help of vegetable or microbial enzymes hence it is considered Vegetarian.
HOW to know VEGETARIAN CHEESE from Non-Vegetarian cheese?
The Rennet which is used most of the time in cheese making is of animal (Non- vegetarian) origin. It is important to be alert while selecting a cheese if one wants to buy a vegetarian cheese only and avoid Non- vegetarian one.
Let’s see how one can select a vegetarian cheese safely.
- First and fore most thing while buying a cheese is check whether the cheese packet has Green dot mark or Red dot mark. Green dot indicates a vegetarian product and Red dot is for Non-vegetarian one. If the package has a red dot reject it. Proceed further to buy it only in case it has a green dot.
- Though the packet has a Green dot, it is important to read the nutritional and ingredient label printed on that packet. The Type of coagulating enzyme must be mentioned in the ingredients list.
- Now in the following points we will see how the type of enzymes gives us the idea about the vegetarian or non-vegetarian source of that cheese.
- If the ingredients label mentions Rennet or traditional rennet reject the cheese as it is of non- vegetarian type.
- If the Label mentions only Enzymes, that means it is not confirmed the source of these enzymes either vegetarian or non- vegetarian. In such case it is better not to buy it.
- If the ingredients label does not mention about any enzyme or coagulating factor, then it is risky to buy it. Since we don’t know what exactly is used in making of this cheese. It is better to avoid it.
- If the label specifies vegetable or microbial enzymes, then only it is confirmed that the cheese is of vegetarian type and it is safe to buy it.
- Same procedure is not required to be applied while buying Paneer. Because during Paneer making the milk is coagulated with the help of lemon juice or curd and does not involve any rennet/ enzyme. It is always safe to buy Paneer without any concern.
IMP: On occasions, we eat outside food which may contain cheese e.g. at restaurant. It is always better to ask the concerned person (chef/ manager) about the type of cheese used in that food. If it not confirmed then better to avoid that cheese.