Must Cheese Be Labeled GMO?
According to a Harvard microbiologist, 80 to 90 percent of the hard cheese
produced in the United States uses, as part of the curd-separation process,
rennet made with a genetically modified (GMO) ingredient—chymosin.
Noting that “chymosin produced by E. coli was the first enzyme made with
recombinant DNA technology approved for use in food. . . all the way back
in 1991,” Kevin Bonham asks whether GMO technology opponents would
object to eating cheese made with this type of chymosin, which is also
naturally occurring in calf stomachs and chemically indistinguishable from
its animal-derived counterpart, and whether companies, such as Whole
Foods, promising to label their GMO products will use the label on cheese
products. Apparently, “[m]ost regulatory agencies don’t consider chymosin an
ingredient.” Bonham also reports that “the problem goes way beyond cheese,”
because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “has approved over 30
recombinant enzymes for use in food production, including α-amylase, which
is used in the production of almost all glucose or fructose syrups.” See Scientific
American, June 9, 2014.