Friday, August 31, 2007

Jello/ Gelatin controversy

MMMMMMM that looks awesome!

This all came about when I was looking at an Australian site that sells imported American food. I noticed that they won't be importing jello anymore because they weren't sure that it didn't come from cow or swine infected with some sort of foot/mouth disease.

So it made me wonder. Jello is a Kosher item, Jewish folks can't eat pork. How is this? Jello/gelatin are in numerous amounts of items, such as medicines, ice creams, sour cream,etc. How are they (Jews, Muslims, and anyone else who does not consume pork) eating these products.

So I went to my roommate to ask her if she knew that there were pork parts in Jell-o, because she is not a pork eater. She didn't have any idea even what was in Jell-o let alone there were pork skin and cow bones. So we decided to look at the back of the box where the ingredients were listed. GELATIN. That's what it said.

I decided I was going to look it up and heres what the GELATIN MANUFACTURERS INSTITUTE OF AMERICA had to say:

Q. What is gelatin?

Gelatin is defined as a "product obtained from partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from natural sources such as skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals." It is an easily digestible protein that contains all the essential amino acids except tryptophan. Gelatin is NOT a chemical or chemically modified substance.

Q. Where does gelatin come from?

The raw materials used in the production of gelatin are from healthy animals and include cattle bone, cattle hides and fresh, frozen pigskins. In the North American market, these raw materials are basically sourced from government-inspected meat processing facilities.

Q. How is gelatin used?

Gelatin has traditionally been used in three major areas: food, pharmaceutical, and photographic industries.

Gelatin use in the food industry is probably best recognized in gelatin desserts and confectionery applications such as marshmallows and gummi candies. It is also used as a binding and/or glazing agent in meats and aspics.

In the pharmaceutical health industry, gelatin is used to make the shells of hard and soft capsules for medicines, dietary/health supplements, syrups, etc. It is highly digestible and serves as a natural protective coating for medications.

The unique chemical and physical properties of gelatin make it an important component in the photographic industry. Gelatin serves many useful purposes in the preparation of silver halide emulsions in the production of photographic film.

A new, major application for gelatin is in the paintball industry. The classic-style "war games" are played out using projectiles constructed of gelatin.

Q. Can gelatin be certified kosher or halal?

While the Jewish and Islamic requirements are quite different, gelatin does carry the approval of both groups.

There are many Jewish Rabbinical agencies that grant approval. While each agency is not universally recognized by all the other agencies (within each religion) it is up to the individual Rabbi, at the plant using the gelatin in a finished product, to accept or reject the certification.

The same is true of Islamic agencies certifying, or accepting, Halal status.

Those questions being asked and answered I still wonder how could Jewish and Muslim religions allow the consumption of a product made with the frozen skin of pork?

If anyone has an answer for me please let me know. I know a few middle easterners who do NOT consume pork and love jello. This could be a major problem for them if/ when they find out this information.


Melody said...

Oh goodness, I don't know about Jews or Muslims, but I am seriously grossed out.

k. said...

I have a couple of friends that won't eat jello because they are vegetarian. I decided to investigate also because Jello is considered kosher. Jello is considered kosher under the davar chadash rule. Gelatin is so altered in the course of it's production that it no longer considered in the same category as animal substances.

Anonymous said...

I initially just wanted to know how to make jello gelatin to not have a "skin". A little surprised people actually like the thickened pudding skin, but as far as "gross ingredients", always kinda knew there might be something askance in pulverized contents...
Does anyone know or care how to prevent a skin forming on the gelatin? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not all gelatin is from pork.

Gelatin can also be derived froim cows or fish. This would then be labelled as Beef Gelatine or Fish Gelatine, both of which are permissible for Jews or Muslims.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question there is some jello that is not made from pork. There are also products that contain no meat at all. For instance agar agar or carageenan which is made from seaweed. This is also found in many gummy candies. Dole also has a jello w/ fruit cup made from carageenan. Also not all gelatin is pork that is what makes it kosher. However I still dont trust kosher so I will stick with the vegan version.

Anonymous said...

nice read. I would love to follow you on twitter.

Anonymous said...

Jello is not approved for Muslim consumption unless it is halal-made from non pork gelatin.