Received via our FEEDBACK section today:
Vegetarians, please be aware that many restaurants and take-aways in Port Elizabeth are gaily marking all cheese dishes as "suitable for vegetarians". THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY CORRECT.
In order for cheese to be vegetarian, the rennet needs to be of non-animal origin.
What the h*ll is ‘rennet’, I hear you ask.
"Substance containing rennin, an enzyme having the property of clotting, or curdling, milk. It is used in the making of cheese and junket."
Rennet is obtained from the stomachs of young mammals living on milk, especially from the inner lining of the fourth, or true, stomach (abomasum) of milk-fed calves.
In recent times, some commercial rennet is being made from genetically modified yeast or bacteria, allowing the production of cheese that is considered vegetarian."
So, in order for them to truly be able to call their dishes ‘Vegetarian’, they have to be using cheese with non-animal rennet.
Many restaurants have no idea what ‘rennet’ is and will tell you whatever they feel you wish to hear in order to placate you. I have tested this on a number of occassions and Dulces (both the Greenacres and the St Georges Hospital branches) is a prime example. Neither management, nor staff seem to have any clue as to what ‘vegetarian’ cheese is. This makes a mockery of their menu and is certainly a case of false advertising. Dulces, please take note and alter your menus accordingly or buy ‘vegetarian’ cheese in future.
I would advise all restaurants that advertise ‘vegetarian’ meals to state quite clearly whether their cheese contain animal origin rennet or non-animal origin rennet. This will save an enormous amount of bother for the local Port Elizabeth vegetarian community and save you from advertising your wares falsely. In some countries, this is a highly sueable offence and if anybody in this country wanted to earn a quick million, this might well be an easy route to follow. Who wants to work when you don’t need to, huh?