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Can you please tell me if Parmigiano - Reggiano cheese is suitable for vegetarians? If not what is the animal ingredient used?
The essential ingredients in Parmigiano - Reggiano, as with most cheeses, are milk, salt and rennet.
It depends on the type of vegetarian that you are whether you will eat cheese or not. Rennet is a complex of enzymes that helps catalyze the fermentation of the cheese and is considered an animal product because it is produced in the animal's stomach. Likewise, the milk is of animal origin. Many vegetarians will eat dairy products like milk or yogurt, but not eat cheese because of the rennet. Vegetarian rennets do exist, however. Here's more information about Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Thanks for writing.
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
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