Plus - Letter to the Editor

Gelatine and rennet, two musts that should be listed

A plea on behalf of vegetarians

I understand that according to the labelling requirements of the Food Act and Consumer Protection Act in Sri Lanka it is sufficient to declare the ‘generic’ name of an ingredient in a food item instead of the specific name.

A classic example to quote in this regard is where the term ‘emulsifier’/‘stabiliser’ is used instead of the specific name ‘Gelatine’ by practically all the manufacturers of curd, yoghurt and some ice creams in Sri Lanka.

Practising vegetarians, the world over, including some Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka would not knowingly consume any product that contains ‘Gelatine’ and/or ‘Animal rennet’ (in contrast to vegetarian or microbial rennet) as found in most brands of cheese available in Sri Lanka.

I would like to also highlight that many vegetarians are not aware of the fact that Gelatine and Rennet are slaughter house by –products, viz, Gelatine being obtained from animal bones, connective tissue and tendons of animals that are slaughtered while the rennet used in the manufacture of cheese unless it is specified as of plant/microbial origin, is obtained from the stomach of killed calves!

In developed countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, USA, Singapore etc., all the popular consumable ‘dairy’ and other products detail/list the ingredients used in those products, with particular reference to Gelatine and Rennet.

I therefore appeal/urge that our Authority of the Food Act and Consumer Protection Act insists that every ingredient used in the products manufactured in Sri Lanka, with particular reference to dairy products such as curd, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream, is listed for otherwise bona-fide/practising vegetarians would be consuming gelatine and/or animal Rennet for no fault or sin of theirs.

Professor M. Sivasuriya, Colombo 8.

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