Dealing with food additives, part 1

October 20, 2010

Doesn’t it sometimes seem like you need a chemistry degree to be able to understand what’s in packaged food? Good luck figuring out if the ingredients are remotely vegan, right? Actually, it’s not that bad:

As mentioned, the Vegetarian Resource Group has a great online guide (also available in print) that you can use to navigate your way through the world of ingredients. I was reminded of this in their latest newsletter which mentioned Domino’s Pizza using a synthetic source of L-cysteine (we talked about that here, eeewwwww.)

I think the future for vegan-friendly additives is bright, like I explain in the video, and tomorrow we’ll talk a bit about how I handle weird food ingredients.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen October 21, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I’ve noticed that some things that used to have to be avoided like the plague are now being listed in some things as “vegetable derived”, such as di- and monoglycerides and stearic acid. Not in everything, of course, so I keep reading labels. I hadn’t heard the L-Cystein thing but I’m really hopeful about that – it could open up a much larger world of delicious bread!

I wonder, though, if the main reason isn’t really about customers at all – I think science may have reached the point where the vegetable-derived or synthetic stuff is actually cheaper. I don’t care if that’s the reason why per se, but it makes me think that continuing to watch the labels will always be necessary in case at some point they’re not cheaper.

Marika October 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I scrutinize every label and if I don’t know what a particular ingredient is, I don’t buy it until I’ve looked that ingredient up and confirmed that it’s not animal-derived. And if it’s one of those ingredients that can be either vegetable or animal based, I assume it’s animal, unless specified otherwise, and avoid it (the aforementioned mono and diglycerides for example).

Erin October 21, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Totally unrelated to the video. I was watching this while my daughter nursed, and she stopped and just stared at the computer screen looking so concerned. I swear she would have said, “Are there feathers in my bread?” if she could have. She wouldn’t return to her nursing until the end of the video. That’s pretty compelling to keep a babe off a boob 🙂

Jason October 21, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Well, I hope it’s the content and not the messenger! Hmmm, maybe I need to add a disclaimer for nursing mothers to each page. Of course, I live with a nursing mother, so perhaps a t-shirt or hat with warning text would make more sense.

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