Increased awareness that not all cheese is vegetarian has raised the demand for additional vegetarian cheese options, which are now more readily available. Some cheeses contain animal rennet or rennin, which is an enzyme that coagulates milk to form cheese. Strict vegetarians look for cheese with ingredients labels without animal rennet, which is used in dairy and non-dairy cheese. As stated by Rice University, another ingredient to avoid is vitamin A palmitate, a fish gelatin.
Horizon Organic only makes cheeses that are suitable for vegetarians because they do not contain rennet. They carry cheese sticks, cheese slices and shredded cheese that contain microbial enzymes instead of animal rennet. Other ingredients include organic pasteurized cultured part-skim milk and salt. Some vegetarians are concerned with the environmental impacts of cattle raising and look for organic dairy. According to the USDA, certified organic dairy is not made with antibiotics, pesticides, cloning and growth hormones. The cheese sticks are offered in Colby and Mozzarella and contain six sticks each weighing 6 oz. Horizon Organic offers cheddar, provolone and American sliced cheese in packages containing eight slices. This brand is sold at most health food stores.
Cedar Grove Cheese
Cedar Grove Cheese is a cheese manufacturer in Wisconsin. They make hand-made, certified organic cheese using microbial rennet that produces an enzyme, which is not animal-derived. They offer gourmet, spiced cheeses such as white cheddar with tomato and basil, Monterey jack with jalapeno peppers along with other more common flavors like Muenster and reduced fat and salt white cheddar. Cedar Grove Cheese is available as ½ lb., 1 lb., 2 lb., or 5 lb. cut or as a 40 lb. block and can be ordered wholesale and mail order.
Organic Valley produces all certified organic cheeses; however, not all of their cheese is suitable for vegetarians. As of 2010, all of their cheeses are vegetarian, except for five cheeses that use animal rennet, called lipase enzyme, to create a certain flavor. The non-vegetarian types of cheeses include blue cheese crumbles and Romano, which is an Italian blend shredded cheese, along with three Vermont cheddar cheeses. They list “animal enzyme” on the ingredient list to help you avoid them.