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Cargill Says it has Found the Holy Grail of Vegan Cheese


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http://www.vegan.com/blog/2009/09/29/cargill-says-it-has-found-the-holy-grail-of-vegan-cheese/

 

It doesn’t get any huger than this. Cargill, a company hip-deep in factory farming, says its R&D team has made milk obsolete as a cheese ingredient. From its press release:

 

Cargill has launched a unique breakthrough innovation that enables the cost-effective production of a 100 percent non-dairy cheese analogue for pizza and other prepared food applications. Lygomme™ ACH Optimum functional system (patent pending) replicates the functionality of dairy protein and replaces it fully at an outstanding cost advantage [emphasis mine] for the manufacturer.

 

I suggest reading the above paragraph a few times until the full implications sink in. Assuming these claims hold true, here’s my analysis in five words: the dairy industry is fucked.

 

The big conglomerates behind factory farming have never had the slightest interest in abusing animals. The only reason farm animals are needed, especially where milk and eggs are concerned, is because food science hasn’t sufficiently advanced.

 

If Cargill delivers on creating a lower-cost milk-free method for creating top quality cheese, expect a giant chunk of the dairy industry to collapse literally overnight.

 

this is great news. Effin awesome!!!!

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It is nice to know that a cheaper alternative to dairy cheese is coming about. I will like to see what effect this has on the marketplace on the whole. Cheeseless pizza could be the norm for one! Overall health may improve, but I guess that depends what this faux cheese is made of. The meat industry is going to take a big hit from this too as we know the relationship between dairy cows and beef production. Less of one means less of the other and higher meat costs are more than likely.

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"Made from three starches, a galactomannan and a gelling carrageenan, it is said to allow for imitation or processed cheeses (analogues) that contain no dairy proteins at all – and are therefore immune to price rises."

 

"There is evidence from studies performed on rats, guinea pigs and monkeys which indicates that degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) may cause ulcerations in the gastro-intestinal tract and gastro-intestinal cancer.[16] Poligeenan is produced from carrageenan subjected to high temperatures and acidity. The average carrageenan molecule weighs over 100,000 Da while poligeenans have a molecular weight of less than 50,000 Da. A scientific committee working on behalf of the European Commission has recommended that the amount of degraded carrageenan be limited to a maximum of 5% (which is the limit of detection) of total carrageenan mass. Upon testing samples of foods containing high molecular weight carrageens, researchers found no poligeenan.[17]

A recent publication[18] indicates that carrageenan induces inflammation in human intestinal epithelial cells in tissue culture through a BCL10-mediated pathway that leads to activation of NFkappaB and IL-8. Carrageenan may be immunogenic due to its unusual alpha-1,3-galactosidic link that is part of its disaccharide unit structure. Consumption of carrageenan may have a role in intestinal inflammation and possibly inflammatory bowel disease, since BCL10 resembles NOD2, mutations of which are associated with genetic proclivity to Crohn's Disease.

Carrageenan is reported to interfere with macrophage activity[19] [20] [21]"

 

 

Of course most people won't care what they eat as long as it taste good. I would probably try it, but I wouldn't eat it in the amount that I used to eat real cheese before I went vegan.

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Of course most people won't care what they eat as long as it taste good. I would probably try it, but I wouldn't eat it in the amount that I used to eat real cheese before I went vegan.

 

I'm with Duccati on this one. I rarely eat vegan cheese now so health risks from this new stuff are not a major issue for me, but I guess the overall health bonus by less dairy cheese consumption may not go as I originally envisioned. Too bad.

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There is a massive glut of milk. A number of dairy producers are failing. So, it isn't like milk is non-cheap. This substitute must be amazingly cheap.

 

I think there will always be people who will pay more for cheese made from real milk, but if this new stuff tastes like the real thing and is cheaper I think you can kiss even more of the dairy industry good bye.

 

I know of few adults who get excited about milk, but most go ape sh*t over cheese.

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I've been vegan for the last almost half year, and vegetarian for a year before that. That year of vegetarianism would have been veganism if it weren't for my once-per-month tiny little personal pizza. It was my kryptonite.

 

Give me anything that replicates cheese so I can have my once a month pizza and I'll be so happy, even if it's terribly unhealthy.

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It sounds interesting, but a few issues I see with this -

 

1. Cargill is a MASSIVE company, and as they are stating that price is a primary concern, you can be sure that every ingredient will be of the lowest possible quality. Pretty well assured to be all GMO for any vegetables used, definitely nothing potentially organic, and lots of artificial "goodness" is likely to be the main base for this item. If you're health conscious, it'll probably be one of those things you'll want to avoid at all costs.

 

2. Cargill has a massive stake in slaughterhouse production and the meat industry, so unfortunately, supporting them is going to kick funds back to animal cruelty big-time. The stench that drifts over Milwaukee's river area at night comes straight from the Cargill slaughterhouse, so I'm definitely more than aware that they've got a strong hand in that area.

 

3. A giant like Cargill can make a product so cheap that it's going to have a big impact on vegan businesses that are currently making dairy-free cheeses. With their buying power and production, they can make a product for a fraction the cost that a smaller company can, essentially edging out others in the marketplace (think Wal-Mart in relation to a mom & pop general store). The greater availability would be nice, however, small companies that are struggling to keep their vegan cheeses visible might get bumped from stores, putting them in a bind as there's less visibility and demand for their products.

 

Overall, I've got some mixed feelings on this one. I'd give it a shot, but would only continue to eat it if it were absolute light-years beyond what was already available. I'd just feel too guilty about no longer supporting vegan businesses who barely get by making their cheeses when Cargill is a multi-billion dollar giant.

 

Just my thoughts on it

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I'm not sure it would be a bad thing if their "cheese" would push out competitors ( if it really is vegan ). Most faux cheeses seem to be some kind of texturized oil or some other very artificial kind of thing. They aren't all that healthy either.

 

On the positive side it might be "non-dairy" the way "non-dairy" creamers are "non-dairy", thus giving vegans a reason to support the brands currently out there.

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I'm not sure it would be a bad thing if their "cheese" would push out competitors ( if it really is vegan ). Most faux cheeses seem to be some kind of texturized oil or some other very artificial kind of thing. They aren't all that healthy either.

 

On the positive side it might be "non-dairy" the way "non-dairy" creamers are "non-dairy", thus giving vegans a reason to support the brands currently out there.

 

Of course, there's a fair chance that it won't be completely vegan, much like your comparison of non-dairy creamers which typically still contain some form of dairy derivitive. I do, however, see the potential damage to small vegan food manufacturing businesses IF it actually is vegan and can price out the bulk of the other cheeses. Most of the other options aren't exactly "healthy", however, they are almost certain to be better for you than the Cargill option, and of course, if you don't vote with your dollars, good things run by good people tend to disappear over time I already know a few people who will be sweating bullets when I pass this story to them, because their vegan cheeses are the mainstay of their product line.

 

Like I said earlier, I'll try it, but my conscience won't let me purchase it regularly over other options that support companies who I've got a connection with, both in liking their products, their vegan ideals, and the people that run them. Cargill, I can take or leave, since I prefer to suppport companies that make a good portion of their money via animal cruelty (and human cruelty, as documented often via worker treatment in slaughterhouses) as little as humanly possible. They'll get by one way or another, and since keeping costs down is their top priority, they couldn't give a hoot about vegans one way or the other, so I don't care much about them

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Ryan,

 

Those are some great points. If I did eat vegan cheese regularly, I would prefer to support a 100% vegan business. Although, I can't help wonder if this will change how people view dairy. I know so many lacto vegetarians who would be vegan if it weren't for cheese. I actually think I doubled my cheese intake when I went Lacto-ovo because, you know, I wasn't getting enough protein.

 

I hope this ends up being a move in the right direction for animals, even though I don't see people getting much healthier.

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