Traces of meat in vegetarian products

Bit of a surprise, as there’s rarely much in the normal stuff.

Would be interesting – the results haven’t been released as far as I know – to know what the levels are. Modern testing is perhaps accurate enough to find traces of one of the workers having had a bacon buttie – I exaggerate, but not much.

And is there anyone who know this answer? What levels are allowable under the varied religious laws?

Judaism is far too practical to start to insist that 1 ppb pork in something makes in non-kosher. Yes, I know, all the different saucepans to ensure non-cross contamination and so on but still.

And there is that story about vegans/vegetarians moving from poorer countries to the UK and then suffering from anaemia and the like. Modern packaging of lentils, beans being remarkably free of the bugs and insects that had previously been nourishing them.

What are the cut offs for kosher, halal and the varied Hindu rules? Any idea?

32 thoughts on “Traces of meat in vegetarian products”

  1. More importantly, today is World Gin Day. We’re sat outside in the harsh, tropical Queensland winter sipping G & Ts.

  2. On the subject of livestock in beans & lentils, we’re pretty well on a S. American diet in this house. So lots of both. And we’ve had the problem of little caterpillars hatching out in the packets. That turn into small moths, if left long enough.
    But I’m not sure if they’re getting in through the packaging. The packaging looks perfectly sound. I’m starting to suspect they’re in the beans before they’re packaged. It’s just a feature of beans. It doesn’t seem to be a problem with lentils. Generally happens in the summer, when the temperatures have been heading up towards the 40’s. With packs have been in the larder a while. So I’ve switched to buying as required rather than bulk buying in the supermarket.
    Can’t believe the UK packagers are sourcing their beans from anywhere different from our’s are. These things don’t grow in the UK. So it looks like Britain’s vegans – who seem to live on the things – are getting their animal protein whether they like it or not.
    That said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a healthy vegan. Pasty pallid people. Vast consumers of herbal remedies for their multitudinous ailments, requiring obscure healing procedures. They seem to make a religion out of being permanently ill.

  3. Is it really Dr Bud? My heartfelt thanks for the valuable information. I would have missed it. I’ll start celebrating immediately.

  4. And in answer to your question Tim, with Jews at least, it’s what you don’t know won’t hurt you. With the heavy Ultra-Orthodox mob, they wouldn’t be buying meat where they cut pork, anyway. And they only eat where they’re equally frum

  5. While I agree with Bloke in Italy’s sentiment, as a nominal holder of the Hebrew persuasion, I feel compelled confirm your assumption, Tim, about Jewish jurisprudence’s practicality.

    The term “Batel beShishim” (literal meaning: insignificant to the sixtieth) means that something is nullified if it makes up one-sixtieth part or less than the whole. I.e., one drop of milk inadvertently mixed into a full pot of meat stew does not make the meal not kosher.

  6. When the vegan left my daughter’s communal household, he left behind him an infestation of food moths mostly emerging from the pulses and vast quantities of weevils in the brown rice. So no danger to him of B12 deficiency just deep annoyance to those who had to clear up.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I’ve had the problem of things hatching in unopened packets of grains (barley, rice and quinoa seem to be particularly susceptible). It’s a nuisance because it precludes bulk-buying when there’s a special offer. The obvious solution would be irradiation but it’s expensive. Storing them tightly bagged in the freezer would work too but I haven’t the room.

  8. I was once in Club class on a flight back from Tel Aviv, seated next to an orthodox Jewish guy. He had a kosher meal, one that comes shrink-wrapped and authenticated by some senior rabbi. But he wouldn’t eat it with the metal cutlery provided, because it might have been used on pork or shellfish (even though it had obviously been autoclaved and sealed in a sterile bag). The wagon dragon brought him a single-use plastic set from economy, and he was happy.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    “What are the cut offs for kosher, halal and the varied Hindu rules? Any idea?”

    Not sure about kosher and Hindu but when it comes to halal I’ll bet traces that would make a homeopath proud will be used for political advantage at every turn, no matter what the Koran says.

  10. @Bloke in Costa Rica, June 9, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve had the problem of things hatching in unopened packets of grains (barley, rice and quinoa seem to be particularly susceptible). It’s a nuisance because it precludes bulk-buying when there’s a special offer.

    An idea: Microwave the unopened packets.

    On bugs: never had in beans/pulses, but have had mites(?) in flour & dog biscuits.

  11. On allowable limits, I would assume what was delectable when the rules were first written; John Dewey’s 1/60 reference sounds sensible and reasonable.

  12. BiND: Not when you are talking about normal run of the mill Moslems and clergy.

    For example many medicines are dissolved in some alcohol. Rulings are generally that taking them without the intention of getting drunk is fine. (Mormons have this issue too.).

    Then again, large numbers of Moslems drink. It’s not all Saudi Arabia (and the Saudis pile across the border to enjoy non-halal if they can). Jordan has loads of off-licences. The Turks make commercial beer.

    The Moslems won’t eat pork at all. But that’s because they see it as unclean, not a religious objection at heart. No different from the Jews, in fact. The contamination issue is visceral, in a way religion isn’t.

    You may claim that is irrational and stupid. Yet when I tell people I happily eat horse, they recoil. When Asians say they eat dog it’s worse — people almost vomit when they realise they’re not kidding. There’d be a national scandal if a British firm was found to have food contaminated by perfectly healthy food like rat.

    We all have our foibles.

  13. Chester, yes the Turks make commercial beer. So do the British.
    Turkey has lots of non religious people, pretty much like Britain does.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Pcar: I’ve tried microwaving; the problem is that grains have oils, and raising the temperature of the grain to bug-killing levels would be very close to the point of cooking the grains and altering their flavour.

  15. Moths in knitwear are killed off by freezing the garment. can’t see why it won’t work for food.
    Vegans prolly don’t run freezers though as the carbon footprint is too great.

    Old Joke:
    Elderly couple to friends:”We had a vegan Christmas last year. It didn’t work; the kids are coming again this year”.

  16. Bloke in North Dorset


    I know, but I did add in “political” for a reason.

    To add to your list, I lived in Platras, Cyprus, for a couple of years and that was a bolt hole for quite a lot of Arabs during Ramadan. One of my good neighbour tasks was to help an elderly Kuwaiti get his regular case of Keo up to his flat.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset


    “But Efes is crap compared to Keo?”

    Indeed, but Efes is far better than than any of the Carlsberg that was misrepresented as beer when I was in Cyprus.

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    PS I should own up to having drunk enough Keo to qualify for shares had they had such a scheme.

  19. Years ago I told my Japanese girlfriend about eating rabbit and she was horrified: you *eat* bunnies?!?!?

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    This is why you should not only date a vegan, but encourage her to give blow jobs. She needs the protein.

    OK. I fought the need to say that, but I am afraid I lost.

  21. But Efes is crap compared to Keo?

    Ugh! I’d rather drink my own piss than drink Keo (or Leon for that matter)…

    I like Efes and stock up whenever we cross over into ‘The Occupied Areas’…. In fact in my experience it is highly prized here – somebody even bought me a slab for my birthday recently…

  22. I don’t think it is because they are non-religious that Moslems drink alcohol. Lots of drinkers would say they are Moslem if asked. They do Friday prayers and would be offended to be called atheist. (The prohibition in the Koran is pretty weak, and most people don’t obey petty rules in any religion. Cough, Catholics and contraception.)

    Lots of Christians don’t go to church very often.

    The number of hard-core Moslems is rather low. It’s just that they have power in a couple of important countries.

    The lack of historical church-state separation is what stuffs them. Even a strong church goer in the west can want religion out of political power. Even a non-observant Moslem tends to think religion is an integral part of governance.

  23. Bloke In Costa Rica: A substantial chest freezer is one of those investments that pays itself back in a short time.

  24. What happened to that funny bloke from Great Yarmouth? For some reason this thread nade me think of him.

    Yesterday I celebrated world fin day without knowing it.

  25. If the learned Mr Lud has been celebrating World Gin Day, fin or gin is equally acceptable. As is forgetting one’s own name.

  26. @Bloke in Costa Rica

    I was thinking more along lines of microwave will raise internal temp of eggs/bugs above survival well before grains become too hot.

    Freezer: yep, also works for killing worms in rabbits if one wants to feed dogs whole raw rabbit.

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