Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Rennet

The GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Database allows access to opinions and conclusions from 115 SCOGS reports published between 1972-1980 on the safety of over 370 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food substances. The GRAS ingredient reviews were conducted by the Select Committee in response to a 1969 White House directive by President Richard M. Nixon.


  • SCOGS-Report Number: 76*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 1
  • ID Code: 9042-08-4
  • Year: 1977
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1685

SCOGS Opinion:

Rennet is an extract containing the milk-clotting enzyme, rennin, that is obtained from edible tissues of animals commonly used for food. It has been used for centuries in the production of cheese. Consumption of cheese, the major source of rennet in the diet, adds to the diet an insignificant amount of rennet protein (0.06mg of which 0.003 mg is rennin) and very small amounts (0.1 mg or less per person per day) of preservatives such as sodium benzoate or methyl and propyl parabens, levels at which the Select Committee found no evidence of hazard in previous evaluations. Although rennin is a protease, it is unlikely to exert significant proteolytic activity on the mucosa of the alimentary tract since it is ingested at very low concentrations in the presence of large amounts of substrate and would be rapidly inactivated by digestion. No adverse effects have been reported in infants fed milk coagulated with rennin preparations. Teratogenicity tests on rennet by the chick embryo method have given negative results.

In view of the foregoing, the Select Committee concludes that:

There is no evidence in the available information on rennet that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, or those that might reasonably be expected in the future.

*Complete reports containing details of the safety studies that formed the basis of the opinions and conclusions and are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000.

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