When we think of the word Halal, most of us think of meat. Is there Halal cheese? You may not know it but yes!
Cheese without animal rennet
The issue of rennet is an important debate for vegetarians and Muslims. Indeed, to produce soft cheese up to semi-hard, while maintaining taste properties hardly altered, animal rennet is technically used. The rennet extract comes from the fourth stomach compartment of the calf or abomasum which contains pepsin and chymosin. This extract needs to be immersed in salty water. This element allows the milk to curdle and thus to obtain cheese. Even though the proportion of this animal rennet is about two to ten thousand, animal extraction remains a problem for the vegetarians and religious communities mentioned earlier.
Cheese coagulation remains possible without animal rennet, but through substitutes or coagulants of vegetal, microbial, or even with transgenic coagulant enzymes. The concern of rennet substitutes is the change of taste, especially the increase of bitterness and pasty consistency of the cheese.
Certificate without animal rennet
In fact, there are many labels that make sure that the cheese is made without animal rennet, i.e. vegan labels … and also halal. Indeed, a certified halal cheese requires many clean and sharia-abiding by manufacturing constraints, including the non use of animal rennet. The vegans are not mistaken because they consume halal food, failing to find vegan certified food in supermarkets. This partly explains the rise in sales of ” Halal ” food, the best choice for vegetarians’ when they lack their suitable products.
CDO or PDO without animal rennet
Unfortunately, rarely do consumers we are talking about have access to CDO cheese because the specifications of these designations explicitly require the use of animal rennet. This is Swiss Gruyère with CDO… The Swiss Emmental with PDO uses rennet of another kind which explains why the Swiss Cheese Company is proud to produce Emmental PDO for vegetarians and Muslims. Finding quality cheese is not a problem, finding one that has no rennet and proudly displaying it is much more difficult. Today, many consumers know what to choose.
Even though many cheeses have banned animal rennet, it remains that in Switzerland no information is provided about its use. As a result, the advantage of a vegan and ‘halal’ labeling is the respect of the consumer. No offense to those who no longer buy the product they did not know without animal rennet but whose logo suddenly becomes a mark of opprobrium, even rejection.
Traditions are not easy to change, besides, why change something successful? Many cheese makers are intimately and objectively convinced that the abomasum is irreplaceable….