At first glance, it would seem that cheese is a product that you could include in a vegetarian diet. After all, it’s produced from milk, which isn’t a product of animal slaughter, much like eggs.
However, the enzyme known as rennet throws a spanner in the works. Rennet is a compound obtained from a calf’s stomach lining and is off-limits to vegetarians.
Some manufacturers have found a workaround, but is Sargento cheese vegetarian?
The short answer is yes. Let’s explore the qualities that make this cheese suitable for a vegetarian diet.
Can Vegetarians Eat Sargento Cheese?
Sargento is a family-owned company that prides itself on producing natural cheese.
According to the company, most but not all of their cheese is made from non-animal-based rennet, which means vegetarians can eat most of their products.
So which Sargento cheese products should vegetarians avoid?
The Sargento products that vegetarians should avoid are the Italian cheese blends made using animal rennet. These blends include Parmesan, asiago, Romano, Provolone, and fontina.
All the other cheeses that Sargento has on offer are vegetarian-friendly. These include cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and pepper jack cheeses.
What Is Rennet?
Rennet is an enzyme that’s found in the stomach lining of calves. It helps the young animals break down and absorb their mother’s milk.
Although calves aren’t specifically slaughtered for their rennet, it’s still a by-product of their death.
Can You Make Cheese Without Rennet?
Advances in technology have made it possible to create non-animal rennet. The simplest to produce is vegetable rennet.
It’s made by soaking certain plants in water and extracting the rennet-like enzyme. This compound is then used in the milk-curding process that makes cheese.
There’s also microbial rennet. This is produced in the lab from bacteria and fungi. It has a rather sharp taste and is not very popular as a cheese-making ingredient.
The most popular synthetic rennet is the genetically produced variant. Scientists take DNA from the calf’s stomach lining and combine it with DNA from yeast and bacteria.
The result is artificial rennet that is very similar to the animal product.
Is Sargento Cheddar Cheese Vegetarian?
Yes. Sargento’s cheddar cheese is vegetarian. It’s one of the company’s cheeses made from non-animal rennet.
This means that no animal was harmed in making this product, and it can therefore be consumed by vegetarians.
Is Sargento Mozzarella Cheese Vegetarian?
Yes. Mozzarella is another of the company’s vegetarian-friendly products.
The mozzarella is made using non-animal enzymes and isn’t the product of animal slaughter or abuse.
Is Sargento Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?
No. Sargento’s Parmesan cheese isn’t vegetarian. Although many of the company’s products are made from non-animal rennet, Parmesan isn’t one of them.
This granular Italian cheese contains animal enzymes that may not have been humanely sourced.
Is Sargento Swiss Cheese Vegetarian?
Yes. Sargento makes their Swiss cheese in a vegetarian-friendly manner.
It doesn’t use animal enzymes to form the cheese curds, making it suitable for this restricted diet.
Is Sargento Colby Jack Vegetarian?
Yes. This jack cheese is made from a process that uses non-animal rennet.
It’s therefore suitable for vegetarians because it’s not produced using a method that harms calves.
Is Sargento Four Cheese Mexican Vegetarian?
Yes. Sargento’s four-cheese Mexican is vegetarian. This product blends asadero, Monterey jack, mild cheddar, and queso quesadilla, all vegetarian-friendly.
Therefore, these cheeses aren’t made using animal enzymes and are deemed okay for vegetarian diets.
Is Sargento Pepper Jack Cheese Vegetarian?
Yes. Sargento’s pepper jack cheese is vegetarian.
Because it doesn’t contain animal rennet, the company’s pepper jack cheese passes muster and can be consumed by vegetarians.
Sargento has been supplying cheese for decades. One of their most significant selling points is that they make natural cheese that’s vegetarian-friendly.
In addition, most of their cheese is made using non-animal rennet, making it suitable for vegetarians.
However, they admit that their traditional Italian cheeses, like Parmesan, contain animal rennet.
It’s therefore essential to double-check the list of ingredients when purchasing their products.