Hey! What tastes better than cheese?

Cheese  is the most popular staple in the USA and is seen on the tables of households across the nation.  It has earned its place in the hearts  of millions of Americans… thanks to  rich flavors, varied tastes, and its endless culinary possibilities.

I, personally, love cheese on cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cauliflower, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizzas, dips, snacks and salads. I even put it on my corn on the cob! Now that’s dedication.

Unfortunately, there lies a lurking danger that most people are completely unaware of including myself….

Did you know that up to 90% of cheese in the United States may contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And do you know who the manufacturer of this widespread GMO in cheese is?

I will give you a clue…they also manufactured one of the most popular covid vaccines that has been extremely controversial.

You guessed it! Pfizer!

Here is the back story ….

Before the 1990’s, all cheese  was made with something called Rennet.  Rennet is derived from the stomach lining of calves, lambs or goats. The reason that Rennet is used in the cheese making process is because it contains enzymes that curdles the milk and separates the solids from the liquids to produce cheese.

In the 1990s, Pfizer developed a genetically modified version of Rennet called fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) by using DNA technology.

Pfizer’s FPC with GMO Rennet was approved by the FDA in 1990 and  became the very first bioengineered food product allowed in the U.S. food supply. It received a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) designation, exempting it from stringent safety testing required for other novel food additives.

Today, an unbelievable 90% of cheese produced in the USA uses Pfizer’s genetically modified FPC Rennet.

How can that be- you ask?

It was all about supply and cost. Cheesemakers quickly adopted its use due to its low cost and consistent supply compared to the traditional animal-derived Rennet. And why wouldn’t they? They increased their bottom lines and kept their shareholders happy.

Today, there are increasing concerns over the potential health risks of eating FPC…especially given the fact that there are no long-term safety studies that have ever been completed.

Just a minute because it gets worse….

The FDA requires No Labeling That Informs The Consumer Of The Presence of GMO Rennet

Now this is something that really ticks me off- The FDA has NOT required this laboratory made enzyme FPC to be labeled as a genetically modified ingredient. As a result, the majority of the American public are totally misinformed- they do not even know  they are consuming this unproven GMO Ingredient!

While cheesemakers rake in the profits and enjoy the economic benefits, consumers are completely unaware of the health consequences of eating a laboratory produced GMO.

Big food producers win again…and the FDA has allowed it to happen!

The end result? Pfizer now dominates the vast majority of the USA cheese industry with their genetically modified ingredients.

This unsettling reality poses significant health and ethical concerns…that is why we urge all consumers to consider the implications of what is potentially a huge amount of  GMO’s in their diet. ( especially for those who eat a lot of cheese)

I am betting that you probably have several portions daily…just like me?

6 Immediate Health Concerns Associated With FPC Rennet:

  1. Lack of long-term safety studies: FPC rennet was approved by the FDA in 1990, so it remains a relatively new technology. There have been no long-term studies evaluating the potential health impacts due to the fact that the FDA classified it as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS). So there is no incentive for Pfizer to do any longer term studies and risk a negative result when they already control up to 90% of the cheese market in the USA.
  2. Potential allergy concerns: Some studies have raised concerns over potential new food allergies or sensitivities. There is concern that the GMO  process could change the allergenic properties of the chymosin enzyme due to reports of occupational allergies in workers exposed to the FPC rennet dust.
  3. Presence of bacterial toxins, antimicrobial resistance genes, or other impurities: Some studies have raised concerns about trace amounts of these other compounds that are used to produce FPC.
  4. Gut health: Some research suggests that  genetically modified rennets like FPC could have a negative impact on gut health  compared to traditional animal-derived rennet.
  5. Environmental questions: What happens when genetically modified microorganisms escape and interact with other organisms? This raises concerns about potential environmental impacts.
  6. Labeling concerns: As I mentioned earlier, the FDA does not require FPC rennet to be on the label in the USA.  That means the average consumer is completely unaware that they are  consuming genetically modified ingredients in their cheese. Critics argue that longer term safety testing and transparency through labeling is needed…especially for a for a novel ingredient that is now in up to 90% of all cheese manufactured in the USA.

5 Potential allergenic effects of FPC (fermentation-produced chymosin) rennet:

  1. Occupational Allergies: Workers in rennet-producing manufacturing plants have reported respiratory symptoms… such as rhinitis and asthma plus skin sensitization. Studies have shown a higher than normal rates of sensitization for those employees exposed to rennet powder.
  2. Respiratory Problems: Research has indicated nasal and respiratory allergy symptoms in workers at the manufacturing plants. This may include hay fever-like symptoms and asthma.
  3. Skin Sensitization: Skin prick tests (SPTs) have shown a positive correlation among workers who are exposed to rennet powder
  4. Dietary Exposure: There are no clinically significant food allergies studies that have been completed in the USA. We surmise that food manufacturers have no great incentive to fund studies that could potentially hurt their business. As mentioned earlier, manufacturers of cheese are able to lower their costs and get a consistent supply of FPC (fermentation-produced chymosin)
  5. Potential Contaminants: The presence of bacterial toxins, mycotoxins, or other impurities in genetically modified food enzymes is  potentially a concern whereby it could contribute to allergenic effects.

In summary, while FPC Rennet has been associated with respiratory and skin sensitization at manufacturing plants…there have been no longer term studies done to prove food allergies could result from exposure and/or ingestion.

Why Has The  FDA Not Performed Longer Term  Clinical Studies to Determine the Long Term Safety of FPC (fermentation-produced chymosin) Rennet?

The FDA granted FPC rennet GRAS status in 1990 as the first GMO approved product in the USA.  This resulted in FPC rennet being exempt from a more rigorous pre-market approval process that is generally required for other food additives.

All the FDA did was look at the similarity in the amino acid sequence and function of the enzyme produced by genetically modified microorganisms.  They concluded that it was substantially equivalent to the traditionally used calf rennet.

The safety of FPC rennet was only evaluated in a 90 day short term trial on rats with no long term follow up. Plus there were no studies done on humans.

This leaves many unanswered questions about the potential health impact on humans including potential allergenicity, toxicity, and digestive issues.

What the FDA Does NOT Want You To Know

Did you know that the FDA actually receives a significant portion of its funding from pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer. Audits indicate that approximately 45% of the FDA’s total budget comes from these user fees.

Pfizer also has representatives that sit on the FDA’s advisory committees. ie Robert S. Janssen, M.D., who is the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Vaccines at Pfizer.

This obviously raises concerns about the FDA’s objectivity and decision-making process and the potential conflicts of interest.

Insiders Health Tip

10 healthy cheese choices that do not use fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) and are often made with non-GMO and organic ingredients:

  1. Organic Valley: Organic cheeses made from milk produced by pasture-raised cows….free from GMOs, antibiotics, and synthetic hormones.
  2. Horizon Organic: Organic, cows fed an all-organic, non-GMO diet,  no antibiotics or added growth hormones.
  3. Applegate Organics: Organic  options like American, Mild Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Muenster, and Provolone. Made from pasture-raised cows; free of artificial ingredients.
  4. Sartori: not all organic, yet known for using high-quality ingredients; use traditional cheesemaking methods;  avoid GMO enzymes
  5. Cypress Grove: Goat cheeses made without FPC rennet. note: Easier to digest and lower in lactose.
  6. Kerrygold: Made from the milk of grass-fed cows in Ireland, natural ingredients and traditional methods, no genetically modified enzymes
  7. Uplands Cheese: Use traditional rennet and high-quality milk from pasture-raised cows, natural product, free from GMOs
  8. Beehive Cheese: Unique, flavored cheeses,  use traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, no GMO
  9. BelGioioso: Uses high-quality, hormone-free milk and traditional cheesemaking techniques, avoid FPC rennet
  10. Miyoko’s Creamery: Vegan option,  plant-based cheeses made from organic cashew milk. Non-GMO, lactose-free, and no artificial ingredients

These brands and their products are known for their commitment to quality and natural ingredients, making them healthier choices that avoid the use of fermentation-produced chymosin.

References:

https://vocal.media/feast/90-of-the-cheese-we-consume-has-pfizer-gmo-s-thanks-to-a-cheesy-loophole

https://nourishcooperative.com/blog/genetically-modified-ingredients-in-most-us-cheeses

https://www.veganbakerymiami.com/blogs/news/uncovering-the-surprising-truth-how-gmo-rennet-from-pfizer-dominates-the-us-cheese-industry

https://millersbiofarm.com/blog/should-i-choose-animal-rennet-or-vegetable-rennet-in-my-natural-cheese

https://nourishcooperative.com/blog/genetically-modified-ingredients-in-most-us-cheeses

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9208323/

https://www.veganbakerymiami.com/blogs/news/uncovering-the-surprising-truth-how-gmo-rennet-from-pfizer-dominates-the-us-cheese-industry

https://changinghabits.com.au/the-good-the-bad-and-the-downright-ugly-of-cheese/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16917831/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9208323/

https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9717/10/3/529

https://gutsybynutrition.com.au/gutsy-by-nutrition-blog/2024/4/3/most-cheese-is-gmo-and-potentially-harmful

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949083/

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1685

https://theconversation.com/why-is-the-fda-funded-in-part-by-the-companies-it-regulates-160444

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2018/06/28/the-biopharmaceutical-industry-provides-75-of-the-fdas-drug-review-budget-is-this-a-problem/?sh=59b6ec8549ec

https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-receives-positive-fda-advisory-committee-votes

https://www.fda.gov/advisory-committees/vaccines-and-related-biological-products-advisory-committee/roster-vaccines-and-related-biological-products-advisory-committee

https://www.eatthis.com/highest-quality-cheese-brands/

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-healthiest-cheeses

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-cheese

 

Not All Vegan Cheeses Are Healthy: Here Are My Recommendations

 

Are GMOs Used to Make Organic Cheese?

Is Your Cheese Made With GMOs?

Cheese: The GMO food die-hard GMO opponents love, but don’t want to label

 

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