Hello, someone just pointed out to me that in the co-op in forest row all cheese has been made using a vegetable rennet extracted from a genetically modified micro-organism. so you might decide not to get your cheese from there, and to check other conventional cheeses before you buy!
wow - thanks for pointing this out. Do you have a source for this info to confirm it?
Info on the Coop website
Traditionally, rennet used for cheese-making is taken from calves' stomachs. Rennet contains an enzyme - chymosin - which separates milk into curds and whey, and the curds are used to make cheese.
Vegetarian cheese can be made using a "chymosin like" gene produced naturally by mould, thus avoiding animal products. It is also possible to make vegetarian cheese with a "chymosin like" genetically modified enzyme, to ensure that it has not been produced using any animal by-products.
Recently, scientists have been able to transfer genetic material (DNA) from calf cells to bacteria which then produce the enzyme chymosin – which is identical to that obtained from calf rennet. Although a GM rennet has been used, there is no actual GM in the final cheese. As the final cheese is identical to that which uses traditional calf rennet, chymosin is now widely used in all types of cheese - NOT just for vegetarians.
A lot of cheese today, whether loose or pre-packed, is produced using genetic modification - unfortunately many brands don’t tell you this.
On the majority of our own brand pre-packed cheeses, the rennet used is not derived from a genetically modified organism. In these cases we state:
" Unlike many cheeses, the rennet used in this Co-operative cheese is NOT derived from a genetically modified organism."
We also use a roundel on the front of our pack that states the cheese has been made using non GM rennet. On the few cheeses where chymosin produced by genetic modification is used we state:
"Made using genetic modification and so free from animal rennet"
And where traditional chymosin from calf rennet has been used, we state:
"Made using calf rennet"
Well, he showed me the labels of their own brand cows cheese and goats cheese, and it said 'made with a vegetable rennet extracted from a genetically modified micro-organism'.