Vegetarians Have a Right to Know Whether Food is Vegetarian or Not

via published on November 12, 2005

MUMBAI, INDIA: Vegetarians only want to be informed about the ingredients in foods so that they can make a choice about what they eat. Sounds simple but as the news release explains it can be rather daunting at times, “Unless you carefully read the fine print, you could be eating eggs, animal fat and insect dye with your foreign chocolates, jelly, instant noodles, bread, ice cream and even vitamins. Most foreign chocolates like Toblerone and Mars contain egg white. Britannia cakes and some Casatta cakes have eggs, so do Oreo cookies.

Kraft and other international cheeses contain rennet — made from the inner lining of the stomach of a young cow. And most jelly powders have gelatin — which in many cases is made from the boiled skin, bone and tendons of pig, cow and fish. Even sweets, especially those lined with silver foil, contain ox gut obtained from slaughterhouses.”

Nutritionist Naini Setalvad adds, “My vegetarian clients are increasingly wary of what they eat because it could contain something non-vegetarian. Even vitamin supplements, Vitamin D3 for example, has cholecalciferol,
which is generated in the skin of animals. Several pharmaceutical products contain Vitamin D3.”

In India, food companies are required by law to label their items as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, that includes even chocolates and chewing gum. As demand increases for vegetarian products, the article point out that some companies like Amul in India and Baskin Robbins internationally are advocating their 100% vegetarian products. Pankaj Chaturvedi, CEO of Baskin Robbins, says, “When we entered the Indian market 13 years ago, some of our imported ice creams contained bone marrow. But five years ago, we turned completely vegetarian and are now positioning this as our USP.”

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