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Question #12712 posted on 02/15/2005 3:12 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What exactly is whey? I know some people won't eat it for religious reasons. Why is this?

- both are good

A: Dear Tolerant One,

Milk separates into two parts during the cheesemaking process: curds and whey. ("Little Miss Muppet, sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey...") Whey is the the watery liquid part.

Muslims are encouraged not to eat whey. To make cheese, a substance called rennet is added to milk. This substance makes the milk curdle. Rennet comes from the stomachs of young mammals, especially calves. The calves are killed in order to produce rennet. However, the Islamic religion says that animals should be killed a certain way and that animals not killed in that way should not be eaten. Because it's hard to identify whether the rennet came from a calf that was killed in that manner, whey cannot be eaten.