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People Are Only Just Realising What Parmesan Cheese Is Made From – And It’s Grim

People are only just realising what Parmesan cheese is actually made of - and it's grim.
Credit: Alamy

People are only just realizing what Parmesan cheese is actually made from – and it’s grim.

Parmesan is short for Parmigiano Reggiano and refers to the region of Parma, Italy, where some of the cheese is produced.

Reggiano refers to another production line for the cheese in Reggio Emilia. 

By law, only cheese that comes from Parma or Reggio Emilia can be sold as Parmesan. 

Recommended as a topping on Italian pasta dishes, Parmesan is the fifth biggest-selling cheese in the world. 

However, people are only just realizing what it’s made of – and now they’re going off it. 

Parmesan
People are only just realizing what Parmesan cheese is actually made from – and it’s grim. Credit: Pexels

The revelation came in a tweet from someone who regretted finding out what the key ingredient in the popular cheese actually is.

Twitter user @DtheBee explains that Parmesan isn’t like most other cheeses – which are made from cow’s milk.

Instead, she reveals that it actually comes from the lining of a baby cow’s stomach.

Her tweet reads: “I was today years old when I found out that Parmesan cheese is made from a baby cow’s stomach and I could go cry.

“I’m just gonna have to go full vegan at this point.”

Cow
There’s an ingredient in parmesan that comes from inside a cow’s stomach… Credit: Alamy

Parmesan, as with other cheeses such as gorgonzola and camembert, uses an enzyme called rennet which is found in the stomach lining of a calf or a goat.

Sometimes, baby animals are slaughtered in order to extract and harvest the enzyme.

This helps with coagulation, a process that separates the milk and turns it into curd.

And it seems that @DtheBee isn’t the only one who has just found this out, as others are taking to the comments section to react to the news.

One person writes: “Even as a vegan of nearly three years, I still learn new horrifying facts about the animal industries.”

Parmesan
Parmesan is short for Parmigiano Reggiano and refers to the region of Parma, Italy, where some of the cheese is produced. Credit: Alamy

Someone else adds: “I did not know this. It makes me very sad. I like Parmesan but don’t think I can ever eat it again.”

“Wow, I had never heard that! Dairy is scary for real,” writes a third.

Another user says: “This is the piece of info that finally pushed me to go vegan. Everyone should know this!”

A fifth person comments: “Horrifying! Why are we eating baby anything as a species.”

However, some Twitter users are disputing the claim, explaining that most Parmesan manufacturers now use a different method of production.

One user explains: “So this is only partially true. Traditionally, this was the case.

“But extracting rennet from a calf is both difficult and supply-stifled.

“Calf stomachs are a by-product of veal production. Due to the shortage, only 5 percent of all cheeses with rennet are from calf sources.

“The other 95 percent uses chymosin sourced from bacterial sources.

“You’ll know which because they will be labeled as ‘Suitable For Vegetarians’.

“Super high-end Parmigiano Reggiano with PDO labels will almost always use rennet. Store-bought parm almost definitely won’t.”

Another user adds: “95 percent of all cheeses use GMO bacteria. It’s actually hard to find real rennet cheese.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.