Chances are if it isn't labelled 'Veg', isn't it so? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-07-2007, 06:53 AM
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Today I went grocery shopping with my mother, and found myself having to scan quite a few items to see if they were vegetarian. For example, there was this pasta/cheese dish that didn't have the Veggie symbol, whereas other varieties like spinach and garlic did. Also, it happened with cereals too. I looked around on Honey Nut Clusters box and couldn't find a Veggie symbol for the life of me. So is it a case of, if there's no Veggie symbol, it's not veggie? (Unless it's obvious products, like vegetables ). I mean these firms obviously don't want to be liable.
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#2 Old 05-07-2007, 06:56 AM
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I don't know where you live, but in the U.S., the veggie symbol is really only used by companies who are catering to veg*ns. Mainstream companies don't use the symbol.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#3 Old 05-07-2007, 07:05 AM
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Yes, here in the midwest U.S., if I counted on the veggie symbol...well, I'd starve, because I've never seen it. It's probably on the Amy's and Morningstar and Boca stuff, but I've never looked. Certainly with things you don't find in the health food section, the lack of a symbol indicates nothing.
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#4 Old 05-07-2007, 07:34 AM
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same with up here in Canada, i dont think ive ever even seen the symbol before. i remember reading that if a restaurant is "vegetarian/vegan friendly" there will be a symbol on the sign, but i have yet to see this symbol.
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#5 Old 05-07-2007, 08:10 AM
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I guess you live in the UK?



Well, anyways. The most obvious reason I can think of when it comes to the cheese/pasta thingy, is that it contains rennet and threrefore is not marked as vegetarian.



Many products that are vegetarian aren't marked. I advise you to read the ingredientslist.
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#6 Old 05-07-2007, 10:01 AM
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Symbol? What symbol? No, I'm not kidding. I've occasionally seen the words "vegetarian" or "vegan" on foods that are primarily marketed to veg*ns, but if there's a symbol, I don't know about it.



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#7 Old 05-07-2007, 10:11 AM
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If you live in the UK, almost every company marks whether something is vegetarian. I dont bother checking if something is vegan without first seeing a vegetarian sign. unless its a foreign company or ethnic food that is.



like turistattraksjo said, the type of cheese couldve had rennet in. Honey Nut clusters could have some wierd preservative or whey in. if its kelloggs they usually stick the logo in wierd places!



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#8 Old 05-07-2007, 11:09 AM
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There's a symbol??? Man, thay would speed up grocery shopping so much!
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#9 Old 05-07-2007, 11:23 AM
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Sorry guys, I should have said I'm from the UK.



Quote:
Originally Posted by turistattraksjo View Post

Many products that are vegetarian aren't marked. I advise you to read the ingredientslist.



Well I do sometimes when I find it hard to believe it's not veggie, and sometimes nothing seems to jump out at me. I look at for things like Gelatin, so when there's nothing like that there I just err on the side of caution anyway because there's no Veggie label. Gets quite frustrating.
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#10 Old 05-07-2007, 11:25 AM
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I had an idea for a system of dietary symbols, but I think I need to revise it. (I think Kosher and Halal might actually have some differences, organic and free-range should probably be seperated, the sugar symbol is probably a bit obscure, etc)



[attachment=5463:diets.gif]
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#11 Old 05-07-2007, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Wayne_D View Post

Sorry guys, I should have said I'm from the UK.







Well I do sometimes when I find it hard to believe it's not veggie, and sometimes nothing seems to jump out at me. I look at for things like Gelatin, so when there's nothing like that there I just err on the side of caution anyway because there's no Veggie label. Gets quite frustrating.



Now you know what it's like for us here in America, where there is no symbol. We have to check ingredients and just guess, especially since companies are allowed to put ambiguous things like "natural flavors" as an ingredient.



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#12 Old 05-07-2007, 12:22 PM
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In my experience, some brands use them, and some dont. A lot of foreign brands fairly new to the UK still rarely bother labeling veggie products. If you know the company uses them though, then generally they will use them consistently, so if its not marked you cant eat it. All the supermarket own brands I can think of mark it veggie if its suitable.
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#13 Old 05-07-2007, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fromper View Post

Now you know what it's like for us here in America, where there is no symbol. We have to check ingredients and just guess, especially since companies are allowed to put ambiguous things like "natural flavors" as an ingredient.



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Weeeell... If you ever visit Norway, send me a message so that I can write back "I told you so!"

'Cause right now I'm telling you that in Norway the goverment is completely crazy about preserve the farming and so on, so we don't have that much to choose from in the stores, things not being marked is the least of my conserns when it comes to finding varied veg*an food.
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#14 Old 05-08-2007, 05:57 AM
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If they mark it vegetarian and something slips in, they may be subject to lawsuits. They are covering their butts. Unfortunately, you are going to have to read the labels.
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#15 Old 05-08-2007, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bios View Post

Yes, here in the midwest U.S., if I counted on the veggie symbol...well, I'd starve, because I've never seen it. It's probably on the Amy's and Morningstar and Boca stuff, but I've never looked. Certainly with things you don't find in the health food section, the lack of a symbol indicates nothing.



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#16 Old 05-08-2007, 05:33 PM
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Lack of a 'suitable for vegetarians' symbol often means nothing, it may just be that the manufacturers couldn't be arsed to put one on the packaging. If there are a load of different varieties in the same product range (e.g flavours of pasta), and some are labelled vegetarian and some aren't, that might be more of a clue that the non-labelled ones aren't. Supermarkets are pretty good at labelling their own-brand products, but otherwise it's sometimes a matter of read the ingredients and guess...
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#17 Old 05-08-2007, 06:17 PM
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i really wish canada would adopt the food labeling system that the uk has. i was almost in heaven when i went to sainsbury's, while in london, and (almost) everything was clearly marked.
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#18 Old 05-09-2007, 06:44 AM
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Hi guys,



New here, and found the exact thread I was looking for in minutes - fantastic!



I'm an American living in London, and one day my (English) husband and I - we're both vegetarians - will move back to the States. I started thinking recently about how vege-friendly food packaging is here, and it made me think - how can we lobby the FDA to get something similar going in the US? I mean, there must be millions of vegetarians to cater for. What does everyone think?



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#19 Old 05-09-2007, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelli H View Post

Hi guys,



New here, and found the exact thread I was looking for in minutes - fantastic!



I'm an American living in London, and one day my (English) husband and I - we're both vegetarians - will move back to the States. I started thinking recently about how vege-friendly food packaging is here, and it made me think - how can we lobby the FDA to get something similar going in the US? I mean, there must be millions of vegetarians to cater for. What does everyone think?



Kelli H

The FDA has nothing to do with it. As I understand it, the labelling in the UK is strictly voluntary, not government enforced. So if we want the same thing in the US, we need to convince companies that it's worth it.



I think the real question is how did the Jews convince so many food companies to adopt voluntary Kosher labelling? There are many more vegetarians than Jews who keep Kosher in this country, so we should probably just follow that model for how to convince the food companies to play along.



Yes, I've already been thinking about this.



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#20 Old 05-09-2007, 09:50 AM
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I was thinking about this too. Ive sometimes feel there are more halal signs on foodstuff here than suitable for vegetarians (let alone vegan). The halal food is often made by special companies mainly targeting muslim customers though. Many vegetarian, even vegan foods (e. g. breads, baked beans, etc.) are meant for all customers. Could it be that it just does not seem necessary to them, to label their products veg*n? I guess over 95% of customers will buy stuff without really checking the label anyway, they just make sure its the product theyve seen in the commercial and dont care about the rest I guess were just not worthy of the consideration from the point of view of these companies. In Germany, many organic brands still do not care to label their veg*n products as veg*n, although the number has significantly increased over the past 10-15 years (I'm a life-long label-checker, hehe)



On the other hand, I have noticed that some regular supermarket brands have started to label some of their products as veg*n! For example, Iglo* has a note suitable for a vegan diet (also lacto-ovo-vegetarian on other stuff, I checked) under the ingredients list on the back of the packages, and Edeka* GemüseKüche has even put their own vegan logo (not the Vegan Society flower, which is also used by some organic brands) on front of their frozen vegetable bags. Although with plain frozen vegetables, it seems obvious (definitely to vegans) that the product is vegan, I thought it was interesting that they made this move, and of course I liked to see that label on a major supermarket brand product. I should e-mail some of their competitors, suggesting to do the same.

*These are big brands/chains which do not make such a move unintentionally, I'm pretty sure they rely on trend-scouts and market research in this, so I guess there already is something happening.



This thread has surprised me a bit though. Before I read it, I was under the impression that in the U.S., vegan products are easily available (and advertised as vegan), from a wide choice of fake meats to bakeries selling vegan muffins, to a number of entirely vegan restaurants at least in bigger cities. Seems to me now that this is not quite so.
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#21 Old 05-09-2007, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Quinoa View Post


This thread has surprised me a bit though. Before I read it, I was under the impression that in the U.S., vegan products are easily available (and advertised as vegan), from a wide choice of fake meats to bakeries selling vegan muffins, to a number of entirely vegan restaurants at least in bigger cities. Seems to me now that this is not quite so.



There are things like fake meats all over the place in the US (at least in my area), and a few veg restaurants around. I only know of one vegan and one vegetarian restaurant here in densely populated, politically liberal southern Florida, though there are plenty of "veg friendly" restaurants besides those.



The problem is that the only things that are specifically labeled as veg in grocery stores are the fake meats and TV dinners that are specifically catering to veg*ns, and even some of those only say "meatless" without being more specific. But foods that are intended for omnivores don't even consider veg*ns, so we sit there reading the ingredients on bread, cereal, soup, sauces, and anything else that isn't fresh produce. And some of us newer veg*ns don't even know what to look for in the ingredients list.



And US law says that they're allowed to put "natural flavorings" or "artificial flavoring" in the ingredients of products, which can mean just about anything. For instance, there was a recent thread about how V8 vegetable juice may not be vegetarian, because the "natural flavor" may include beef and/or fish. Several email inquiries to the company didn't produce a straight answer to that question.



So while there are a good number of vegetarian and vegan foods available, a standardized labelling system to make them easy to spot would be handy.



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#22 Old 05-09-2007, 11:59 AM
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There is a way to guarantee an item is vegetarian..

If it has a kosher symbol (there are several) it is vegetarian.

If it has meat, it will not get the kosher symbol. If it has kosher meat, then it will say meat or glatt next to the kosher symbol.

It is important for people who are strict kosher not to mix milk and meat, so they follow those symbols to tell if something has meat in it.



Though kosher gelatin is sometimes made from fish, and sometimes from plants. I don't come across that too often.

The symbol is especially helpfull for cheese. If cheese has a kosher symbol, you know it is meat free.
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#23 Old 05-09-2007, 02:12 PM
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That's not quite accurate, ajsmom- fish is parve, which means it can be eaten with meat *or* dairy. So foods containing fish or fish products will also have the little kosher symbol. Still gotta read the label.



j.
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#24 Old 05-09-2007, 02:33 PM
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^ Yes. Consider kosher marshmallows, made with fish gelatin.
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#25 Old 05-09-2007, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Quinoa View Post

This thread has surprised me a bit though. Before I read it, I was under the impression that in the U.S., vegan products are easily available (and advertised as vegan), from a wide choice of fake meats to bakeries selling vegan muffins, to a number of entirely vegan restaurants at least in bigger cities. Seems to me now that this is not quite so.



It highly depends on where you live in the US. If you live in major CA cities, NYC, or some other major cities, being vegan is easy. It's pretty easy for me here in Tucson, AZ which is a mid-to-smallish city with a strong liberal element, but it's certainly not abounding with vegan restaurants (there's one) or vegan muffins (never seen one outside of the vegan restaurant). I used to live in Farmington, NM, which is a smaller, more out-of-the-way, more conservative place, and it was much more difficult there. I imagine it's even harder for people in small towns or even mid-size cities in the Midwest or in the South where eating animal products is a pretty strongly entrenched element of the culture. The US is a huge place!
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#26 Old 05-09-2007, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Quinoa View Post

This thread has surprised me a bit though. Before I read it, I was under the impression that in the U.S., vegan products are easily available (and advertised as vegan), from a wide choice of fake meats to bakeries selling vegan muffins, to a number of entirely vegan restaurants at least in bigger cities. Seems to me now that this is not quite so.



I wish. Maybe it's just being in a midwest Republican state, but nothing aside from a few meat/dairy/egg substitutes and things in health food stores are marked where I live. Intentional vegan options are less than 5% of the things in the grocery store I usually shop at, and the other 95% is a ingredient list reading frenzy. I tend to stick to things I know are vegan or have heard are so from a reputable source. (Stupid America and it's stupid crappy non-labeling. ) As for the restaurants, I've yet to see an entirely vegan restaurant. Some Chinese places advertise things as vegetarian, but that's the extent of my experience. I don't mind the bakeries not selling vegan muffins(maybe some do, I've never checked), though, I can make my own.
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#27 Old 05-10-2007, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ajsmom View Post

There is a way to guarantee an item is vegetarian..

If it has a kosher symbol (there are several) it is vegetarian.

If it has meat, it will not get the kosher symbol. If it has kosher meat, then it will say meat or glatt next to the kosher symbol.

It is important for people who are strict kosher not to mix milk and meat, so they follow those symbols to tell if something has meat in it.



Though kosher gelatin is sometimes made from fish, and sometimes from plants. I don't come across that too often.

The symbol is especially helpfull for cheese. If cheese has a kosher symbol, you know it is meat free.



Unfortunately, not true. I thought the same thing. I checked the Union of Orthodox Rabbi website and they allow rennet in the cheese. The rationale is if an amount of a meat product (rennet) in a dairy product (cheese) is so small, it is considered as if it is not there. Hence, unless you see something regarding vegetable enzymes, it may not be be considered vegetarian. Of course, if you are not lacto vegetarian, it is a moot point.
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