What I buy, I control. So if I am buying cheese, sure I will check for microbial rennet, or buy goat cheese, or skip the cheese entirely.
If I am not buying the cheese (restaurant, friends house, etc), then it is not in my control so there is no point worrying about it. I mean I can start flipping over tables and ranting about the criminal insanity of rennet, or I can just enjoy my meal. Usually, I choose the first option.
I don't worry about it. I consider rennet a by-product of the dairy industry. Dairy cows have to be impregnated regularly to continue producing milk, and the reality is that a certain number of the calves, particularly male calves, are killed.
I buy rennetless, but don't ask if I'm eating out or at someone else's house. My friends know about rennet and I've given them links to learn about rennetless cheeses. One of these days I might actually go vegan and then not have to worry about it at all.
This may be helpful - these days, animal rennet is usually found in "artisan" cheeses or European cheeses (parmigiano, feta, gouda, etc.) Most "daily use" cheeses (in the US at least) do not have animal rennet. This is just a guideline, not 100% true, but might make you feel better about the "don't worry about it" advice others have given - those nachos with chile con queso or the grilled cheese sandwich probably do not have animal rennet to begin with.
When I buy cheese, I will not buy it unless there is a number to call to find out the source of the enzymes. Recently I got a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook that had feta cheese in it. Before eating the cheese I called the company and they said the enzymes were from lambs and calfs. Yuk! I returned it right away!
when I was l/o, I bought vegetarian cheese at home and didn't check when elsewhere. But this was mostly because when I started avoiding animal rennet I didn't understand the dairy industry and so it seemed sensible to me. By the time I came to understand it I was pretty firmly set in my ways of being grossed out if I knew cheese was non-vegetarian. But yeah, I think cookingVeg's logic makes a lot of sense and the avoiding of animal rennet is pretty nonsensical from a least-harm perspective. Although it kinda makes sense from a grossed-out perspective.
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