Uncovering the Surprising Truth: How GMO Rennet from Pfizer is Used by 90% of the U.S. Cheese Industry

In the highly competitive U.S. cheese industry, there is an astonishing revelation that is shaking things up. It involves the widespread use of GMO rennet from Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that has quietly taken over the rennet market. In fact, they have so taken over the market that 90% of U.S. cheesemakers use their GMO rennet in the cheese making process. This surprising truth has sent shockwaves across the industry, raising serious questions about the quality, integrity, and long-term effects of this genetically modified ingredient. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, have long been known to cause a host of health problems. And the fact that GMO rennet dominates the cheese-making process in the U.S. is a major cause for concern. 

But what does this mean for consumers? Are we unwittingly consuming genetically modified cheese without even realizing it? And what are the potential health and environmental implications of this takeover? In this article, we will delve deep into the world of GMO rennet and uncover the surprising truth behind its domination in the U.S. cheese industry.

GMO rennet is in 90% of U.S. made Cheese

The history of rennet and its traditional sources

Rennet, a key ingredient in the cheese-making process, has a long history dating back to ancient times. Traditionally, it was derived from the stomach lining of young calves, lambs, or goats. These natural sources of rennet contain enzymes that help coagulate milk and form curds, a crucial step in cheese production.

However, as demand for cheese grew and the need for a more consistent and readily available source of rennet arose, alternatives were sought. This led to the development of microbial and vegetable rennet, which offered a more sustainable and reliable solution.

4 types of rennet

1) Animal Rennet

Animal rennet is the most natural and oldest form of rennet, and what was traditionally used in cheese making. There are milk-clotting enzymes naturally occurring in the stomach lining of ruminant animals.

2) Vegetable Rennet

Real vegetable rennet is derived from plants that produce enzymes that coagulate milk. These plant extracts have been used as milk coagulants since ancient times. Some examples include cardoon thistle, fig tree bark or nettles.

3) Microbial Rennet - -

coagulating enzymes are produced by a specific type of mold, fungus or yeast organism

Cheese makers have turned to GMO rennet due to marketing efforts of the pharmaceutical companies, its low cost, and also due to the fact that vegetarian or microbial rennet can impart a more bitter sour taste to the cheese, and its less predictable.

Yes its true, making real food requires hard work, time and money!

For these reasons we arrive at the 4th type of Rennet:

4) GMO Rennet or FPC (Fermentation-Produced Chymosin)

What is GMO rennet

GMO rennet, on the other hand, is a genetically modified version of rennet. It is produced by introducing specific genes from other organisms using CRISPR technology into bacteria or yeast, which are then used to ferment milk and create the desired enzymes.

However, it also raises concerns about the potential risks associated with consuming genetically modified ingredients.

How GMO rennet has become so popular its in 90% of U.S. Cheeses

In recent years, GMO rennet from Pfizer has gained significant traction in the U.S. cheese industry. The company's vast resources and marketing strategies have propelled its GMO rennet to the forefront of the market.

Cheese producers, both large corporations and small artisanal cheesemakers, have turned to Pfizer's GMO rennet due to its low price and ease of use. Unfortunately, This dominance has created a situation where genetically modified cheese has become the norm, rather than the exception.

How GMO rennet or FPC is made using CRISPR

One of the most widely utilized alternatives to animal rennet is FPC, which stands for Fermentation-Produced Chymosin. This enzyme, traditionally sourced from the stomach lining of ruminant animals, is essential for curdling milk in cheese production. Notably, approximately 90% of cheese produced in the United States relies on these enzymes derived from genetically modified organisms.

Pfizer, a prominent biotechnology company, developed FPC using CRISPR gene editing technology, which involves modifying the genetic makeup of living organisms. The safety of FPC underwent a rigorous 90-day trial involving rats to assess its suitability for use.

The production process of FPC involves extracting the rennet-producing gene from animal cells' DNA and inserting it into the DNA of bacteria, yeast, or mold host cells through gene splicing, a form of recombinant DNA technology. Subsequently, the newly introduced gene triggers the synthesis of the chymosin enzyme within the host cell. The host culture is then cultivated and fermented to produce the desired enzyme.

Recombinant DNA technologies emerged in the 1980s and gained popularity following a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of patenting new life forms through a 5-4 vote. In 1990, another significant decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) paved the way for the approval of FPC for use in food. This marked the first instance of a bioengineered product being permitted in the U.S. food supply.

No labeling required for cheese made with GMO rennet

The use of GMO rennet in the cheese-making process has sparked intense debate and controversy. Critics argue that genetically modified ingredients have not been sufficiently tested for long-term health effects, and that consumers have the right to know what they are consuming.

While the organisms responsible for producing Fermentation-Produced Chymosin (FPC) are genetically modified, dairy products utilizing this technology are not mandated to disclose their products as "GMO."

Interestingly, FPC is typically labeled as "microbial rennet" or "vegetable rennet" on packaging, with no requirement to specify the source of the rennet used. This practice can be perceived as somewhat misleading.

The "Non-GMO" national project opposes the use of FPC technology, viewing it as a potentially high-risk ingredient. Furthermore, FPC is not sanctioned for use in cheeses certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as organic.

Furthermore, there are concerns about the environmental impact of GMO rennet. The widespread use of genetically modified organisms can have unintended consequences, such as the potential for cross-pollination with wild plants or the development of resistant pests.

Alternatives to GMO rennet in cheese making

Despite the dominance of GMO rennet, there are alternatives available for cheese producers who wish to avoid genetically modified ingredients. Microbial and vegetable rennet, which have been used for centuries, offer viable options that are both natural and sustainable.

Microbial rennet is derived from fungi or bacteria, while vegetable rennet is sourced from plants such as thistle or fig leaves. These alternatives provide the necessary enzymes for cheese production without the need for genetic modification.

Consumer awareness and labeling of GMO rennet in cheese

One of the key issues surrounding GMO rennet is the lack of consumer awareness and labeling regulations. Many consumers are unaware that the cheese they are consuming may contain genetically modified ingredients, as there are currently no mandatory labeling requirements in place.

This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to make informed choices about the food they purchase. Clear and accurate labeling of GMO rennet in cheese would enable consumers to decide whether they wish to support or avoid genetically modified products.

Why Cheese should be avoided for better health

While cheese is a beloved culinary staple enjoyed by many, it's important to consider the potential health implications of consuming genetically modified cheese. GMOs have been linked to various health concerns, including allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, and potential disruptions to gut microbiota.

Additionally, cheese is full of binders and thickeners like cellulose, which destroys the gut lining, triggering food allergies and disease.  

Cheese is much more concentrated than milk.  Cows nowadays are pumped full  of growth hormones, antibiotics and vaccines. So every time you eat cheese , you are consuming these substances in much higher doses than milk.  These growth hormones can trigger all sorts of diseases when consumed by humans, one of which is cancer.

Cheese is often high in saturated fat and sodium, which can have negative effects on cardiovascular health. 

Avoiding cheese can help mitigate these potential health risks.

Dangers of Consuming GMO rennet

Consuming GMO rennet may have long-term consequences that are yet to be fully understood. The genetic modification process introduces foreign genes into the rennet, and there is a possibility that these genes could interact with the human body in unforeseen ways.

In conclusion, the widespread use of GMO rennet from Pfizer in the U.S. cheese industry is a surprising truth that raises important questions about the quality, integrity, and long-term effects of genetically modified ingredients. The dominance of GMO rennet has sparked controversy and concerns about consumer awareness, labeling, and the potential health and environmental implications. Exploring alternatives to GMO rennet and making informed choices as consumers can help support a more sustainable and transparent cheese industry.

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