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Where it says vegetarian, there is animal
According to reports by the consumer protection organization Foodwatch, many foods contain hidden animal components, and from multivitamin juice to bread, a wide range of foods and beverages contain animal ingredients.
Due to a legal loophole, foods labeled as "vegetarian" or "vegan" may even contain animal components, according to Foodwatch. In the view of the consumer protection organization, the legislator is required to enable consumers to forego certain or all animal ingredients. If animal products are contained in juices, chips or bread, this should be clearly visible on the packaging, according to the Foodwatch.
Animal ingredients of food often not declared As the consumer protection organization reports in a recent release, "the information on the package does not reveal everything" about food. According to Foodwatch, animal food or animal products are hidden in many foods, which are difficult for consumers to discover. "Without their noticing it, consumers are cheered on gelatin or milk sugar - the animal additives do not have to be declared," said Foodwatch. Oliver Huizinga, food watch expert for fraudulent labels, explained that "the legislator makes it almost impossible for consumers to avoid animal products in food." The freedom of choice to eat vegetarian or vegan, to do without pork products for religious reasons or simply by Consumers do not have conscious purchasing decisions to avoid certain forms of animal husbandry in the current legal situation, according to Foodwatch's criticism.
Gelatin in multivitamin juice and cream cheese The legal gaps restrict the freedom of choice for consumers considerably, since “animal components without a declaration requirement can be used as carriers of flavors and vitamins in food”, reports Foodwatch. For example, the manufacturer of the multivitamin juices Valensina and high C (Eckes Granini) has confirmed to the organization that gelatin is used as a carrier of added vitamins. "Milram's spring quark, Bresso cream cheese and Little Red Riding Hood also contain gelatin as a thickening agent," continues Foodwatch. These are "examples in which the manufacturers have deviated from classic recipes and many consumers are unlikely to suspect any animal components." For cheese, the animal components contained can still be read using the list of ingredients in the "small print". With the multivitamin juices, however, there is no corresponding labeling, since the law does not prescribe it, Foodwatch criticizes.
Chips with animal flavors According to Foodwatch's research, the chips manufacturer funny-fresh also used animal components as carriers of the flavors in a large part of its range. Depending on the type of potato chip, these are fish, poultry, beef, pork, game or rennet, reports the organization. For vegans who want to completely do without animal foods, problems often arise due to the so-called cross-contamination. These arise when both food with animal components and vegan food are processed on the machines of a production line. For example, traces of milk components in a chocolate factory can end up in products whose recipe is actually vegan. According to Foodwatch, Ritter Sport measured such contamination in the (milkless) types of bitters and marzipan itself and found a milk sugar content of 0.3 to 0.4 grams per bar. Nevertheless, until recently, Ritter Sport's chocolate was recommended to "dear friends of vegan chocolate" with the declaration that it contained "no milk components." The Katjes fruit gums from the company's current "Veggie" campaign were cross-contaminated with gelatin Foodwatch continues to expect, but Katjes did not respond to a request from the organization.
Animal components in technical auxiliaries in food production In addition to the previously mentioned ways in which animal components get into food, there is also the possibility of contamination by technical auxiliaries. For example, it is known that “mainly industrial large bakeries use L-cysteine as a flour treatment agent,” explained Foodwatch. This substance, which is used to influence the consistency and processing properties of the dough, is obtained from pig bristles or feathers, among other things. Here, too, the consumer is unsuccessful in looking for appropriate labeling on the packaging. Oliver Huizinga emphasized that the current procedure "is an imposition for vegetarians and vegans, but also for all other consumers (who) who make conscious purchase decisions, especially in the case of animal food, want to reduce consumption or only support certain forms of animal husbandry". All uncovered cases of hidden animal components are only possible due to "loopholes in the law - gaps that Federal Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner should urgently close in order to make real freedom of choice possible when shopping," said Foodwatch.
Protecting the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” under food law Foodwatch demanded clear legal requirements from the Federal Minister of Consumer Affairs Ilse Aigner (CSU) for labeling requirements for ingredients or processing aids of animal origin. In addition, according to the experts, the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian" should be legally precisely determined and protected. Just because this has not been the case so far, these products can still contain animal ingredients today. Foodwatch believes that manufacturers of vegan and vegetarian products will also have to be legally obliged to ensure that cross-contamination is excluded. (fp)
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