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Campaign for listing source of gelatin on food

Campaign for listing source of gelatin on food
January 03
09:22 2018

CHICAGO: A large group of Indian Americans, particularly Hindus, Jains and vegetarians, have virtually unleashed a global campaign urging governments and food authorities in different countries to mandate food manufacturers to mention the source of gelatin, if used in the product, on its “Ingredients” label.

When the source of gelatin is not listed and if it is beef, it is a serious non-disclosure which will hurt their feelings when they come to know that they were inadvertently consuming beef-laced popular food products,

Consumption of beef would go against the religious beliefs of Hindus and Jains and would also be frowned upon by those who champion vegetarian diets. Hindus in particular highly venerate cow.

The campaign initially launched by Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, is gaining momentum and many Jains are also supporting the move. Suresh Shah, a devout Jain and a former office bearer of Jain organization here, has vouched his support to this movement. The group has reached out to the governments of India, Canada, Norway, UK, Scotland and other European countries.

Most of the countries do not find it necessary to declare the source of gelatin on the product label under current regulations and the need of the time is to correct the situation by suitably changing the law that would force the manufacturers using gelatin to disclose the source.

It is hard to comprehend why under the ingredients on the box/package when, being constituent of gelatin, beef is not explicitly mentioned if it was part of the product inside, so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choice.

Dutch-British transnational consumer goods company Unilever, which “has been in business since the 1880s” and which claims to have “developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labeling”, in a response to Zed, noted: Gelatin “is used in some of our products to provide a lower fat, lower calorie product with a pleasing texture and consistency…We cannot guarantee if the gelatin is derived from beef or pork”.

Many products of Wrigley, said to be the largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum in the world, contain gelatin that is sourced from beef. Gelatin derived from beef is found in the many products of multinational Kellogg’s, which claims to be “world’s leading cereal company”.

Gelatin/gelatine is procured from various animal body parts and is usually used as a gelling agent in food. It can be from cows, pigs, fish, chicken, etc.; but there are animal-free and plant-based alternatives to gelatin like seaweed extracts. Gelatin is an ingredient in some cereals, ice creams, candies, yogurts, desserts, marshmallows, aspic, trifles, dips, fruit snacks, sour cream, margarine, frosting, confections, gums, Chinese soup dumplings, puddings, nondairy creamers, cakes, cream cheese, lozenges, etc. It is also used for clarification of vinegar, juices and wine.

Surendra Ullal

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