Hindus urge FDA to mandate listing of gelatin source on food, which many times is beef

Hindus are urging U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) 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 affecting the Hindu devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were inadvertently consuming beef-laced popular food products, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed stresses.

Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, points out in a statement in Nevada today.

Currently, the FDA regulations reportedly do not require that the source of gelatin has to be identified. “Gelatin must be listed if it is an ingredient; the source does not have to be listed”, according to Mary Ellen Taylor, FDA’s Health Communications Specialist.

It was shocking for the Hindu community to learn that some of these popular food products, which they had been eating for years, might contain beef while beef was not explicitly mentioned under the ingredients listed on the boxes/packages to caution them, Rajan Zed indicated.

Zed further said that it was hard to comprehend that why corporations were not transparent enough to mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box/package when it was part of the product inside so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices.

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 Rajan 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”.

According to reports, well-known Wrigley (who claims “responsibility” as a “principle”) products which contain gelatin that is sourced from beef include: All Starburst® Fruit Chews varieties (Original, Tropical, Sweets & Sours, FaveReds, Summer Splash). Life Savers® Spear-O-Mint®, Pep-O-Mint® and Wint-O-Green® sugar mints also contain stearic acid, which is an animal-based ingredient that is derived from beef and pork. Altoids® mints (Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen, Cinnamon); Life Savers® Gummies; All Starburst® GummiBursts (Original, Sours, Flavor Duos) sold in the United States contain gelatin that come from a mix of beef and pork. Wrigley is said to be the largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum in the world.

The reports suggest that gelatin derived from beef is found in the multinational Kellogg’s following products: All varieties of Kellogg’s® Frosted Pop-Tarts®, All varieties of Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal, All varieties of Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats™ cereal. Some its foods contain gelatin that is derived from either beef or pork; which include: All Kellogg’s® fruit flavored snacks, All Kellogg’s® Krave Treat Bars. Launched in 1906, Kellogg’s, which lists “accountability” as one of the “Values”, 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.

FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “protects the public health” and is also “responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply”. Headquartered in Silver Spring (Maryland) and whose origins can be traced back to 1848, FDA is headed by Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.