Is Feta Cheese Vegan?

Question: Is feta cheese vegan?

Answer: A vegan does not eat sources of food derived from animals. They also refrain from using products made from animal byproducts. Things like leather, wool, or down are a no go for vegans.

Traditionally, feta cheese is made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep and goat’s milk. The “feta” you find in your local grocery store is likely made from cow’s milk unless you can find authentic feta imported from Greece. Feta cheese is not vegan because it is produced from the milk of an animal.

Additionally, feta cheese is also sometimes made using rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that is added to milk to help it form curds in cheese production. There are different types of rennet, some of which contain animal byproducts. Animal rennet is derived from the stomach of mammals like young calves. Also, there is genetically engineered rennet which introduces the DNA of an animal into a microorganism, which then produces rennin (a milk coagulator).  Both of these types of rennet are not vegan.

In conclusion, feta is not vegan because it is made from milk. Furthermore, the cheese production process may use a milk coagulator like animal rennet, which is also not vegan. While there are non-dairy/vegan cheese alternatives, all real cheese is made from milk and is not considered vegan.