Food News

Pig 05049 Follows Piggly-Wiggly Right Into Your Shopping Cart

Generally speaking, being vegetarian is a choice. I am all for those who forgo meat for health reasons or just for the sake of feeling healthier and leaner. But keep me away from fashion-conscious tree huggers who look at us carnivores with disdain, while stomping around in leather shoes and chomping on Twizzlers touting, "I don't eat meat because of the way animals are slaughtered".

This gets you to the top of my pet peeve list. True, there are many vegetarians who truly follow this mantra and don't wear any fur or leather, however, when was the last time you checked the ingredient statement on your daily dose of candy?

Christien Meindertsma recently published a three-year project called Pig 05049 researching all products made from a single pig. The result -- a whopping 185 items. Seemingly "innocent' things like chewing gum, marshmallows, store-bought bread and Jell-O contain porcine strands -- pig by-products. Pig protein, bone fat and hoofs. If the idea of eating piggly wiggly's hoofs turns you off, keep reading for a quick appetite suppressant.

Similar to the cartilage that keeps our bones together, porcine gelatine is used as a binding and gelling agent and often listed as "glycerine" on the ingredient list. Some common culprits are marshmallows, gummies and licorice -- yes, those break-away Twizzlers you love. Many commercial fruit preserves use the gelatine to get that "jammy" consistency and, according to Meinderstsma's research, some bread companies even go so far as to add a protein found in pig hair to give you that soft and chewy consistency that makes your PB&J's extra gooey -- oh, did we mention that jam?

But don't fret -- there is no need to boycott your favorite foods. Glycerine can also be plant-based, and some companies opt to go for this more expensive route. The PETA website offers a comprehensive list of foods that are truly animal free so check it out.

At the end of the day, so much of what we humans consume comes from different animals. We need to find a humane way to treat them while they are alive, and make sure no part goes to waste when slaughtered.

I celebrate the whole animal in my three-inch leather heels enjoying my salty licorice after a good pork roast.

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Christina Staalstrom