Hindus are urging New Zealand Government and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to mandate food manufacturers to mention the source of gelatine, if used in the product, on its “Ingredients” label.
When the source of gelatine 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 was highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, was sacred and had long been venerated in Hinduism; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out in a statement in Nevada (USA) today.
There are reportedly no specific compositional requirements for gelatine labeling on foods in New Zealand.
It would be shocking for the New Zealand Hindu community to learn that some of the popular food products, which they might had been unknowingly eating for years, might contain beef as part of the gelatine 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, both New Zealander and international, many times were not transparent enough to mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box/package when, being constituent of gelatine, it was part of the product inside; so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices.
Rajan Zed urged New Zealand Governor-General Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Health David Clark, Director General in Ministry for Primary Industries Martyn Dunne and FSANZ CEO Mark Booth to seriously and urgently look into this issue affecting Hindu-New Zealanders, who had made lot of contributions to the nation and society.
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 gelatine that is sourced from beef. Gelatine derived from beef is found in the many products of multinational Kellogg’s, which claims to be “world’s leading cereal company”.
Gelatine/gelatin 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 gelatine like seaweed extracts. Gelatine 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.
FSANZ is a statutory authority which “develops food standards for Australia and New Zealand”.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. Considerable population of New Zealand is now Hindu.