Recently somebody told me that the Apple Juice I was about to pour had been clarified using sheets of gelatine! I didn’t know about this process at all so I was shocked and also confused as to why companies felt the need to use that and bypass, say, some sort of Muslin cloth.
I researched a bit and found this information on a website called Jain World: –
The Vegetarian Society UK Soft Drinks and Gelatine
Gelatine is, quite literally, a sticky area for strict vegetarians. Yoghurt, mousses, sweets etc. are obvious prime suspects, as are commercial wines and beers, where its use in the fining process is widespread. More insidious however, because it is less well publicised, is the use of gelatine in the manufacture of soft drinks. Gelatine can be used to clarify fruit juices as well as added to the final product to stabilise beta-carotene, which is often used as a colouring agent.
The Vegetarian Society recently surveyed the UK’s major soft drinks producers in an attempt to establish which were suitable for vegetarians. All Schweppes soft drinks and fruit juices, (those include Sunkist, Gini and Kia-Ora as well as Schweppes own brand) were free of animal products, with the exception of some of the Kia-Ora range. Kia-Ora Orange Drink and Kia-Ora Orange and Pineapple Drink (regular and no added sugar versions) contained gelatine stabiliser, and gelatine was used in the processing of juices in Kia-Ora Mixed Fruit Drink and Kia-Ora Pear and Blackcurrant Drink.
Of the other companies who responded, Ben Shaws, Wells Soft Drinks, and Barrs all claimed their soft drinks were suitable for vegetarians. Fruit juices made by Del Monte, Suma and Princes (including Cima and Spartan brands) were also claimed to be suitable. Britvic stated that all their fruit juices were acceptable with the exception of canned apple juice. Tango Apple is believed to contain gelatin-clarified apple juice, while Tango Orange contains beta-carotene and gelatine.
The Director for the Research and Process Development Department at Borthwicks Flavours, suppliers of juice concentrates to other soft drinks manufacturers, thought it unlikely that most apple juice concentrate manufacturers could offer absolute assurance of gelatine not being used for clarification.
Given the difficulty in obtaining reliable information from companies, the best advice for avoiding gelatine in soft drinks is probably to steer clear of those listing beta-carotene and/or apple juice as ingredients.
The Vegetarian is published by The Vegetarian Society and is sent free of charge to all members.
I did some more research because 1) the article was written a while back AND 2) I had been told that one brand in particular was known for using gelatine when clarifying their juices. However, the content shown above did not list that company.
If in doubt any juice that is not cloudy or doesn’t have bits may have been clarified after being drained through sheets of animal derived gelatin!
Why isn’t there any accurate information about this? Unfortunately they don’t have to state their use of gelatine on the packaging as it’s not an ingredient. It’s to do with the process of making it!
Here are the replies from the companies that I wrote to: –
From: Tim Kezman [mailto:[email protected]]
We do not use any gelatin in our products
Dear Ms Modi,
I can confirm that there are no animal derivatives used in the production of our juices.
Customer Care Department
From: Consumer Care [mailto:[email protected]]
Thank you for query regarding our products.
I can confirm all our drinks are suitable for vegetarians as we do not use animal products except milk.
In fact all our products have been declared suitable for Vegans except 2 juices as we use condense milk. The two juices are:
Sun Exotic Pineapple and coconut juice
Sun Exotic Fruit paradise
From: Consumer Services [mailto:[email protected]]
We would like to inform you that the gelatine is not derived from animal products no items are derived from animal products which we use.
Consumer Services Department
From: Info OceanSprayInfo.co.uk [mailto:[email protected]]
Thank you for taking the time to contact Ocean Spray on this matter.
I can assure you that there is no gelatine or any other animal derivatives used as an ingredient in any of our juice drinks, dilute juices or sauces.
Some fruits, particularly red ones, do not clarify easily using most techniques that are widely available. Nonetheless, after reviewing our product specification and rigorous testing, we have been able to source most juices that have been clarified without the use of gelatine of any origin. To date we have been unable to find a supply of pomegranate concentrate to match our demanding standards, therefore if you are vegetarian or vegan, please be aware that we currently do not recommend our ambient Cranberry & Pomegranate Juice drink.
In order to overcome this we are continuing our discussions with all global providers of pomegranate concentrate so that we can obtain a sustainable source with consistent quality. Our policy is now to exclude gelatine clarified products from our supply base and there is a requirement within our raw material specification to this effect.
Although I am very sorry if this may, at present, slightly limits your choice of Ocean Spray drinks, I do hope this has gone some way to clarifying this matter for you.
From: Charley Roberts [mailto:[email protected]]
Thank you for your enquiry.
Fruit juices and other soft drinks which we know to be unsuitable for vegans are as follows:
- Coca-Cola state that their drinks are all free from animal ingredients apart from: Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora Orange Squash, Kia-Ora Orange Squash No Added Sugar and Schweppes Orange Squash.
- Ocean Spray‘s Cranberry & Pomegranate Juice drink and Grower’s Reserve Cranberry & Pomegranate Juice drink are not currently suitable for vegans as the pomegranate concentrate may have been filtered with gelatine. All other drinks are suitable for vegans (confirmed Feb 11).
- Britvic: Robinsons High Juice Blood Orange is not suitable for vegans.
Unfortunately, gelatine when used as a processing aid in drinks does not have to be declared on the packaging. However, if the drink is labelled as suitable for vegetarians it should not have been processed using gelatine. This would be in breach of the Food Standards Agency’s guidance for vegetarian and vegan labelling and the EU definitions for vegetarian and vegan food which are due to become law in the next couple of years.
I hope that was helpful. 🙂