Over 50% of processed foods for vegetarians found to contain meat
Taipei, June 14 (CNA) The Investigation Bureau has recently found that some processed foods advertised as vegetarian contained meat, and it has vowed to refer producers who knowingly added meat to their products for prosecution on fraud charges.
Pu Chang-en, a technician at the bureau's department of forsensic science, said Sunday that among samples collected from 31 vegetarian food vendors in Taipei City and County for safety checks, food taken from 17 vendors were found to contain meat.
DNA tests revealed that in the two most serious cases, the vegetarian patties and ham of one vendor and vegetarian dried shredded pork from another vendor contained at least 20 percent beef or pork, Pu said.
http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_con ... g=eng_news
I was not impressed. Today, someone linked me to this: http://www.quarrygirl.com/2009/06/28/un ... staurants/
An LA vegan food blog recently carried out some clinical tests of food sold in 'vegan' restaurants, with quite grim results. They traced the supply chain back to Taiwan, and found:
Posing as a potential US importer of allergen-free veggie meats, we emailed the Taiwanese manufacturer and asked whether their products could contain casein, whey, egg or milk without being listed on the label. We engaged in a an email exchange and we were also able to speak with somebody in the US who worked in the restaurant business in Taiwan for many years. The results of these interactions are paraphrased below, with with our emphasis in [square brackets]:
* In the Taiwanese and Chinese market [where most of these products are made and sold] vegetarian customers are only concerned with meat ingredients and not bothered at all if egg or milk ingredients are included [this is due to religious reasons in many cases, typically to accommodate Buddhists, who are often not vegan]
* Sometimes the ingredient listings are not 100% inclusive of what’s in the product [we asked what things are usually added but not labeled]
* Sometimes eggs, fish flakes and milk might be added but not on the label, and we never include ingredients of all the additives – there would be too many
* The veggie meats are re-labeled for the western market, usually by a non-English speaker who is translating the bulk ingredients list manifest, so there are many occasions where the translations were not correct. Also, the labels are small in size, and rarely have enough room for all ingredients.
* If the ingredients change due to cost or availability the list manifest isn’t always updated, and we only revise our translated labels when we introduce new products
* Most of the time, the “veggie meat” products contain egg albumen because the isolated soy protein base we purchase comes that way from the manufacturer
* There are few labeling regulations in Taiwan and they are rarely, if ever, enforced. We usually list the ingredients we put into food directly, but if if we’re using something from a third party we don’t always list the ingredients in that. It’s just not important in Taiwan.
So, we had just been told in no uncertain terms that egg-containing isolated soy protein COULD be used as an ingredient in veggie meats that were labelled appropriately for the Taiwanese market (ignoring the fact that eggs, in this case, were present in them). We can also assume that the egg ingredients were not written onto the label, as the original ingredients of the soy protein were not available at the time of labeling, and even if they were they would have been ignored as being irrelevant for the local market.
Fortunately, the Taiwan food industry gets a legislative shakeup...tomorrow:
Taipei - Taiwan is to enact the world's strictest law on labeling vegetarian food at the request of Buddhists and people who eat vegetarian for health reasons, the health ministry said Monday. Starting from July 1, Taiwan food manufacturers must use five categories, up from the current two, to identify the content of vegetarian food. Violators will be fined from 40,000 to 200,000 Taiwan dollars (1,200-6,000 US dollars), the Department of Health said.
Currently the labelling only indicates whether food is pure vegetarian or contains no meat but egg and milk. Now added are categories separating egg and milk as well as vegan.
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show ... eling.html
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- All packaged products claiming to be vegetarian must come with labels detailing its ingredients categorized within the five specific vegetarian groups starting July 1, announced the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday.
The new rule requires manufactures to label their products with “vegan,” “ovo-lacto vegetarian diet,” “ovo-vegetarian diet,” “lacto-vegetarian diet,” and “Wu Shin vegetarian diet,” which includes scallion, garlic, onion, leek and hing, an Indian condiment, instead of the ambiguous “for vegetarians” label or they will be subject to a NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 fine, local media reported.
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/nati ... tarian.htm