A lot of people make a point of avoiding food that’s derived from, or contains, animal products. Reasons might include the commitment to be vegetarian, wanting to improve digestion, to reduce the intake of saturated fats, avoid consuming hormones, cut back on mucus formation, and, of course, the desire to spare the life of an animal. Yet a lot of the foods that one might think are “safe to eat” because they’re free of animal products, according to the founder of VeggieVision TV, actually contain “secret” ingredients that would no doubt surprise the average consumer.
The Daily Mail quotes vegan campaigner Karin Ridgers for an article describing all sorts of foods — even bananas, figs, cereal, and beer — in which animal products, seafood, or insect parts might be found. “What is more worrying for vegetarians and vegans is that ingredients lists on packages might list product names, but not what’s in them, like the food colouring carmine that is derived from crushed beetles, while few would realise that the pesticides used to spray bananas can contain shellfish.”
The Daily Mail report offers a list of potentially “suspect” foods you could find at the grocery, in a restaurant, or at the deli. They include:
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– Certain packaged cereals that use beef gelatine, from cows’ bones, to make sugar stick to the cereal;
– Parmesan cheese, which is not considered authentic unless it’s made with material from the stomach lining of calves;
– Figs may contain insects such as dead wasps that get stuck inside the fig and die after pollinating them;
– Bananas that may have been sprayed with a pesticide containing animal parts;
– Non-fat yogurt may contain gelatine derived from animals in order to improve the texture;
– Some beers are said to use fish bladder in the filtering process, creating the possibility of tiny particles remaining in the brew;
– Fortified orange juice may contain Omega-3 fatty acids obtained from fish oil
So, says the food expert whose work is at the heart of The Daily Mail article, you really have to carefully study labels and know the nature of ingredients if you’re intent on not adding animal products to your diet. Some might say that process of informed avoidance is similar to the exhaustive scrutiny necessary to steer clear of certain bovine digestive waste that can be found in so many “safe to vote for” politicians.