Friday, 19 September 2014

Real Vegan Cheese?

Real Vegan Cheese
Hmmm, I'm really not sure about this. Biohackers in California are engineering bakers yeast to become 'real vegan cheese'.

It all sounds very scientific.  They are managing to engineer real milk proteins (caseins) in processes using synthetic biology, genetic sequencing and DNA blueprinting. These milk proteins are then combined with water, vegan sugar and oil to make a kind of milk which is then made into vegan cheese in the same way that traditional animal milk cheese is made.

I must admit when I was sent this information by a non vegan friend I thought it was an early April Fools joke.  If you scan through the information on Indiegogo (Crowd Funding site) some of it seems a little kookie (especially the perks offered including the Curd Nerd Jewelry) but no, read between the lines and it seems these guys are serious about this project.

I do applaud their ethos as far as the ethical, environmental and health responsibility to discontinue the use of animals in the manufacture of cheese but I'm just not sure I'm convinced by the laboratory approach to growing food. For me veganism is all of the above reasons and more, including going back to nature as a food source. Sure, I'm far from perfect when it comes to just using unrefined food stuff and I'm sure there may be stuff I eat that perhaps originated somewhere along the line in a lab but I'd rather try and best avoid it if I can.  When it comes to producing food, Mother Nature knows best and I think this concept of 'real vegan cheese' may be a step too far; for me at least.  Besides, what really defines 'real vegan cheese'?  Is it the fact that it comes from an animal at source that makes it real, or can you also get 'real vegan cheese' by fermenting various other plant based sources of protein such as in the book Artisan Vegan Cheese?

That said, I am also a believer in people making their own choices and if this project takes off and provides an alternative that people consume instead of real dairy cheese then who am I to argue against the benefits to the animals at least.

Read all about the project  at Real Vegan Cheese! or watch the video below.

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