Vegetarian Cheeses
Only those cheese that have been made using a Vegetable or Microbial coagulant  (instead of Rennet, which is derived from animals.) I was previously of the assumption that the “enzymes” in the ingredient list of any cheese would naturally mean vegetable/microbial enzymes. I assumed wrong. It only means that it used enzymes that could be either vegetable, microbial or animal. Mostly Vegetarian cheese would label theirs as that or use the term “vegetable rennet” in their ingredients list.
I have listed the nomenclature generally used by such cheeses.
Medium Cheddar Cheese has the term "No Animal rennet" mentioned in the ingredients section.
Vegetarian Cheeses
Monterey Jack Cheese made with "Non-Animal Enzyme"
Vegetarian Cheeses
My all time favorite Cheese - fresh Mozzarella here uses "Vegetable Rennet"
Vegetarian Cheeses
Here is another brand for Monterey Jack Cheese that mentions "Vegetable Enzymes" in its list
Vegetarian Cheeses
If using enzymes from a vegetarian source, it is indeed mentioned likewise. Like here - "Microbial Enzymes".
Vegetarian Cheeses
Apart from that, some brands (mostly available at Whole Foods Market) advertise the fact right in your face. Like this Parmesan that I get from my local Whole Foods Market :)
Vegetarian Cheeses
This resource states : Some companies will specifically list `rennet' or `rennin' while others might just say `enzymes.' Other terms to look out for include `chymosin' and `rennase.' For those that list `enzymes,'these are most likely animal enzymes. Even some cottage cheese and sour cream products contain rennet. If a company is using microbial enzymes, it will probably state specifically `vegetable enzymes' or `vegetable rennet.'

Here is a website, that might be useful to you, where there is a comprehensive list of Cheese brands that are vegetarian. Browse by Type  or Browse by Brand

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3 Comments

By Que A Estavia on Feb 27, 2018

Actually since cheese is an animal product made from cow, goat or sheep's milk it really does not matter whether an animal product (rennet) or enzyme derived from vegetables is used.for the enzyme. if you are looking for vegan, then it is a whole other ball of wax, you need vegetable derived cheese and enzymes.

Yes, totally agree. This post is for vegetarians not vegans, who consume animal derived products like honey, milk, cheese and even eggs but not meat or animal based products :) --DK

By Tanya on Dec 16, 2014

What about the ingredient lipase? I am seeing it in a lot of cheese products & believe it is also an animal product.

By thekla on Apr 22, 2014

:wink: you might want to check on the meaning of "microbial enzyme". It may be GMO. The origin of the dna would be animal, implanted into bacteria that then produce the enzyme. So, animal origin enzyme produced in microbes that are then killed to extract the enzyme. Did we gain anything by this? If it matters, maybe stay away from the GMO microbial enzymes. IMO, just another reason to make it known when a product contains GMO.

All my cheeses are Organic so I believe GMO free --DK