The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 ruling requires food manufacturers to label common food allergens, leading some companies to be more transparent about the source of their ingredients. However, the FDA does not require food companies to clearly indicate all ingredient sources on the label. This has presented concerns for vegetarians and vegans who have to deal with the ambiguity of ingredients like “natural flavors,” which could be derived from either an animal or plant source.
It may seem “bananas” that this potassium-rich food is not vegetarian, but it turns out a spray-on coating designed to lengthen its shelf life may contain animal parts. Chitosan, a bacteria-fighting compound derived from shrimp and crab shells, is used to prevent bananas from ripening, softening and rotting into mush, according to Science Daily. This presents bad news for vegetarians, vegans and those with a shellfish allergy.
Although the banana itself is fine, it’s the spray used to extend its shelf life that makes it non-veg. Gina Keatley, a New York-based dietician at Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, told Medical Daily in an email: “The coating is made of shellfish and works amazingly well; however, this makes the product no longer vegan.” She suggests vegetarians and vegans go organic to avoid the spray.
The coating is a so-called "hydrogel," a superabsorbent material like those with many medical and commercial uses, made from chitosan, a substance derived from shrimp and crab shells said Xihong Li, Ph.D., who presented the report.
Li explained that bananas, like other fresh fruit and vegetables, are alive and actually "breathing," or respirating. He is with Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin, China
What is definitely vegan? Our toothpaste
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