Today I bought a vegetable biryani ready-meal in Dunnes. On the label it says suitable for vegetarians, but when I got home I checked the ingredients and it listed chicken stock. I sent the relevant company an email and they actually got back to me really quickly to say it was a mistake - there's no chicken stock in the product and they're changing the labelling!
Anyway, this was the second time this happened recently - there is also a "marie rose" dipping sauce also on sale in Dunnes from a different company which on the front says suitable for vegetarians, while on the back it says not suitable for lacto-ovo-vegetarians or vegans (ingredients include both worcester sauce and seperately anchovies). I spotted this one in time though and haven't been in touch with that company...
This got me thinking. Have other people noticed this type of confusing labelling on the rise recently? Are there / do you think there should be any guidelines that manufacturers should follow when labeling food as vegetarian? Or maybe there's no real issue here and just a couple of isolated incidents...
what do you think?
I think lack of research is an issue. I emailed a restaurant about a dish labelled as vegetarian which contained parmesan and pesto. They emailed back saying they would update it straight away and that they had had no idea. I think some people also don't understand vegetarianism means more than not just eating meat. I was in a Food Studies practical before and each person was preparing a different dish as part of a menu. I was making the vegetarian dish. My lecturer asked me did I want it to be 'fully vegetarian' or did I want to use chicken stock to add flavour to the cous cous. I couldn't believe someone who's been a chef for years could think that something containing animal stock could still count as vegetarian.
I definitely think there should be some sort of labelling guidelines. When every company has seperate policies and procedures it's hard to know who to trust and believe. Funny you mentioned Dunnes, not the first time I've heard of them selling mislabelled food...
Serious question: how would parmesan and pesto cause difficulties for vegertarians? Milk?
Parmesan contains calf rennet and pesto contains parmesan.
Legislation exists. Human error most of the time when drawing up the pack copy to send to the designers/printers. OP just contact the FSAI to get an update on the latest legislation to govern vegetarian claims.
My mistake then, sorry. I knew there was some legislation but I have variance from packet to packet and brand to bran in the ways they indicate vegetarianism (different symbols etc.) and think it'd be easier if there was some unifed one. Then again with imports I guess that's impossible.
does all parmesan contain calf rennet? or do they have microbial rennet versions?
I haven't looked into it too much 'cause I don't like cheese but I've heard the term vegetarian parmesan used once or twice. Technically it's not parmesan without calf-rennet (something to do with tradition) so may be called something else.
The proper stuff is called Parmigiano-Reggiano, and contains animal rennet. Parmesan isn't a protected name and could be applied to vegetarian versions. As could "parmesan style" cheese.
Thanks for that, guys.
I recently found out that Grana Padana is also not vegetarian. So the Quattro Formaggi (if it has grana padana) will not be vegetarian.
Not exactly a food that's mislabelled, more of a misconception really, but a lot of people don't know quorn isn't suitable for vegans. Kind of annoying that they won't just replace ovalbumin with some other binder, quorn is so good... good thing I'm not a vegan anymore I guess.
Well, they were trialling a vegan Quorn burger in the States a few months before....
A french speaking aquaintance pointed out something to me a while back.
A german retailers mozzarella said on it's ingredients list that it contained vegetarian rennet and it also had a v-sign on the packaging. But the word in the french table of ingredients was for animal rennet.
I think he was expecting me to check it out but I haven't had the time.
Does this sound familiar to anyone (else) - especially anyone with fluent french?