Author Topic: Vegetarian rennet query  (Read 1783 times)

Offline TimT

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Vegetarian rennet query
« on: November 14, 2014, 05:02:34 PM »
Hey ho, folks! It's been a while since I've been round these parts!

Had an interesting question from a friend yesterday; they have problems with some of the additives and processes used in most commercially-sold cheeses in Australia. In particular they were concerned about the use of sodium benzoate as a preservative along with rennet. They've done some research and reckon it's quite common. I'm assuming they'll want to steer clear of animal rennet and GM produced rennet too.

We had some discussion around this and I suggested that some small organic producers might be worth going and talking to, and that some obvious go-to cheeses would include those non-rennet coagulated cheeses: ie, ricotta, paneer, labneh, some chevres(?) 

Anyway, the upshot of it is we're looking around for producers in Australia who either use a vegetarian rennet that doesn't have additives like sodium benzoate - or, I suppose some good options for non-rennet curdled cheeses. So what do you reckon?

Offline qdog1955

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Re: Vegetarian rennet query
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 05:37:02 AM »
  Can't help you out with your actual question-----but I'm curious. Is their concern caused by an actual allergy to the chemicals in question?
 In the U.S. there always seems to be some chemical or substance that is under attack by the media---almost like a fad----and sometimes with little proof of the negative effects, examples---MSG, sodium nitrate, acetaminophen, trans fat---currently ---gluten ---and of all things--peanut butter. My Grand kids can no longer take a peanut butter sandwich  to school because someone might be allergic.
  Sometimes the few negative effects are far outweighed by the benefits.
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Vegetarian rennet query
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 08:02:04 AM »
Just a note, qdog, but the peanut butter issue is well founded.  I actually had a neighbor who died from it.  Agree with you on the fad notion.  Low fat, low or no animal products, high carb diet that is the USDA's paradigm of the last several decades being one.

Tim, I'm sorry, I can't offer much either.  Just to say, there are some producers of alpine cheeses - and less so now than before, with numbers continuing to dwindle - who make up their rennet daily, so they do not use sodium benzoate.  But absent that, the preservative is necessary.  If it helps, the amount of sodium benzoate actually consumed in finished cheese is really tiny - I can't recall precisely, but I seem to recall one producer talking about parts per billion in finished cheese.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 08:07:19 AM by ArnaudForestier »
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Offline TimT

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Re: Vegetarian rennet query
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 08:33:11 PM »
Thanks for the replies folks. I guess said friend wants to just minimise the possible risks and dislikes eating/consuming a food with several preservatives and additives that aren't a traditional part of the recipe, which I'm sympathetic with.

Offline SiletzOregonFarm

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Re: Vegetarian rennet query
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 11:00:11 PM »
If you can't find their cheese locally or have it shipped via the internet you can always ask them where you can purchase such things locally, certainly they would know who their competition is:
Australian based cheese maker that makes cheeses without preservatives.
UK Based company, organic cheeses, some without preservatives
USA based company, Organic cheeses without Gums, Fillers, Preservatives, Added hormones, Antibiotics, or Rennet.
USA based company that ships some preservative free cheeses.

I also came across these websites that ship to Australia and claim they have rennet's without preservatives so you can make your own cheese, or pose the question to them on who might be making the cheese and/or selling the cheeses or rennet with out preservatives locally.

The Cheese Maker, Organic Vegetable Rennet does not contain preservatives and does a comparison between its other rennet's. Their customer service guy, Steve, whose phone number and email address is included may be able to help you out?
    You can telephone me your order by calling 414-745-5483.- Steve Shapson
    Technical support is included with any purchase. 
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