Mandatory Vegetarian Labeling Could Prevent Us From Eating Castoreum, Scale Insects, And Pig Bones/Skins

I didn’t know there were pig bones in my Jello, bugs in my Kool-Aid, or beaver anal glands in my vanilla milkshake…

Gelatin and marshmallows = pig bones and skins

By U.S. law, food packaging must include the ingredients; but not “ingredients of ingredients.” If you are either kosher-abiding or vegetarian like I am, there is no real way to know for sure that you are steering clear of animal products that require the slaughter of an animal.

We vegetarians are no longer a marginal minority in America. Isn’t it only fair and appropriate that we can know which processed foods are animal based, and from which animals they are processed from?

Crimson Lake Food Dye = crushed scale insects

As a contracted writer for, I have learned a lot about these secret “ingredients of ingredients.” In Why This Dad Despises Red 40 And Crimson Lake Food Dyes, I explained how red food dye is neither kosher nor vegetarian:

Crimson Lake: Made from the powdered and boiled bodies of scale insects (parasites of plants) this dye is commonly found in yogurt, juice drinks, ice cream, and candy. Though I am a vegetarian, I still abide by kosher law, which prohibits the consumption of any insect other than the locust. Crimson Lake is also known as Carmine.”

"Natural" Vanilla (Castoreum) = Beavers' Anal Glands

In 3 Ways Kids’ Easter Candy Isn’t Vegetarian (Or Kosher) I told how marshmallows and “natural” vanilla flavoring are not animal flesh-free:

“Marshmallows: What makes marshmallows themselves so special? Well, it’s just that they are made with gelatin, which is comprised of cow hide, pig skins, and bones of both.

‘Natural’ vanilla flavoring: How can you know when a vanilla flavored food is made with actual vanilla or just castoreum, which is the oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers? We can’t, thanks to the FDA.”

Even if you’re not a vegetarian or don’t care which foods are approved as kosher, wouldn’t we at least want to know what’s in our food?

I mean, exactly what’s in your food? Maybe we don’t. That’s the scary part.


One thought on “Mandatory Vegetarian Labeling Could Prevent Us From Eating Castoreum, Scale Insects, And Pig Bones/Skins

  1. Want a really great vanilla flavoring? get a bottle of brandy, cognac or bourbon – drop in 2 vanilla beans and let it sit for several weeks. It’s great!


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