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Pork, in Cheese??
Some time ago, I remember hearing the words “enzymes” and “rennet,” but to be honest, I never paid much attention to them. I don’t eat pork or shellfish. Isn’t that enough? Yahweh seemed to be pricking my conscience lately, however, and these words came alive to me, causing a desire to do some more checking.
The very first thing I learned was that “the process of converting milk into cheese is dependent on the use of enzymes,” according to the folks at Kraft Foods. Now The American Heritage Dictionary, 1981, Houghton Mifflin Company, defines “rennet” as 1. The inner lining of the fourth stomach of calves and other young ruminants. 2. A dried extract of this lining, used to curdle milk. “Enzyme” is defined as, Any of numerous proteins or conjugated proteins produced by living organisms and functioning as biochemical catalysts in living organisms. This pretty much confirmed what Kraft Foods told me.
One other term we need to be familiar with is “mono” and “diglycerides” which are commonly added to commercial food products and act as emulsifiers, helping to mix ingredients, such as oil and water that would not otherwise blend well. The commercial source may be either animal (cow– or hog-derived) or vegetable, and they may be synthetically made as well. They are often found in bakery products, beverages, ice cream, chewing gum, shortening, whipped toppings, margarines and confections.
Most all who follow Yahweh’s words know, without a doubt, that pork, along with shellfish and other “delicacies” are unclean. They are not food, and never have been, especially for His people!
Deuteronomy 14:8 states, The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses. So it is “unclean” and we should not even touch its carcass!
Back to rennet and enzymes. From what source are they derived? Many times, they are from calves, sheep or PIG. Now, if they are derived from pig, or COULD be derived from pig, shouldn’t we pay a little more attention to it? At least, I started thinking we should and, really, how much time does it take to make a phone call or search online? My search commenced and I learned that, in our geographical area, at this point in time, there is not ONE AMERICAN CHEESE that we can eat. What a shocker this was (especially since good ‘ole American Cheese has been a household staple forever). I was almost as shocked as when I learned there is pig in marshmallows! Is this a serious concern? It is to me. The deceitfulness in the industry, many times, is mind-boggling.
Another issue is I’ve learned that many, many people who avoid pork have no problem with cheeses. Translate this: I now have to be concerned about what is being served even at Assemblies that follow His laws! That is why this is being written—to educate. It is my sincere prayer that people who follow Yahweh’s rules for what goes into our bodies will pay attention and learn as I am still doing.
Although cheese is what really caught my attention here, before discussing different brands that are or are not clean, let’s just review “basics” that many may still not know. Folks first coming into the truth learn that pork chops and shrimp are definitely not to be eaten. They do not, however, always know that “lard” is a pork product, or gelatin usually is a pork byproduct. Those two items alone rule out many products that are in most households, such as Jell-O (both by itself or in pies, cakes, salads), marshmallows, donuts, pies (many pie crusts have lard in them) and yogurts. READ YOUR LABELS! If it has gelatin in it, call the company. There is almost always a toll-free telephone number to contact a company on the product’s label. And, since labeling standards have come up, it is a little bit easier to get the information you need.
This is also a good time to mention that, some years back, a dear friend of mine only purchased items that had a “Kosher” symbol on them. I thought this was a little bit “too much.” But now I know that, if an item has a Kosher symbol on it, the odds are it is clean for you to eat it. Please keep in mind, however, that even then, you must be careful. If in doubt, do without (at least until you contact the company and you can inquire about the Rabbi who certified the product as “Kosher”).
The following is a quote in an e-mail I received from the Hormel Company: The majority of gelatin used in products comes from hog skin processing. It is derived from pork skin, but there is a neutralization process the gelatin goes through in order to make it ok for kosher status. I am so glad they cleared up that question for me! Guess all you have to do to make a pig clean is wash it! (Please don’t take that comment seriously!)
Let’s go into some specifics:
• Domino’s Pizza (via e-mail response), “...rennet used in the manufacturing of our pizza cheese. Domino’s Pizza Cheese (Mozzarella) is made with a microbial rennet. As far as our other cheese, Domino’s purchases from many suppliers and does not specify the source of all ingredients.”
• Land O’Lakes (via e-mail response), “You inquired about the source of enzymes used in producing LAND O LAKES® Cheeses. The enzymes used for processing our natural cheese come from a microbial (non-animal) source. Process cheese, such as American Cheese, could be made with microbial and/or animal-derived (pork or beef) flavor-producing enzymes.”
• Kraft Foods (from their website), “The enzymes used to make our cheese powder in packages of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are derived from an animal source (calves and sheep).” In relation to KRAFT SINGLES, “The enzyme in this product is not from an animal source.”
• Cabot Brick Cheeses are marked with a Kosher symbol and are clean to eat.
• Sargento cheeses are all clean as verified via their website.
Something which also should be mentioned is that some companies will tell you one thing when you call today and perhaps something else when you call in a month. Since I do not like to think of our “fellow man” as being deceptive, perhaps things changed at the company, perhaps one party did not know and did not want to bother checking. When I run into that situation, I just avoid buying products made by that company. Now, that being said, there are times when we must rely on what we are told and that person, not us, will be ultimately responsible for giving misinformation.
The following are two websites that you may want to check out:
Kosher Quest is a site that lists most all the kosher symbols and their contact information; and
Theisraelofgod is a site which contains a tremendous list of clean foods and, more specifically, UNCLEAN products. This site appears to be updated periodically.
It is my sincere prayer that each one who reads this will start to abide by what they learn. After all, isn’t “a little pork” pork still? Does it really matter?
John 14:15, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 15:10, If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
Maybe it doesn’t matter to you—but it does to me, because I truly want to abide in the love of our Messiah, Yahshua.
I pray it matters to you as well. May Yahweh’s Spirit guide us in our continuing search for truth!