Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kellog's Frosted Beefs

Via Flikr

Last week, I blogged about crushed beetles in Starbucks "vegan" smoothies.

Today, my friend and fellow blogger Neil (who is a vegetarian) found something interesting in the Kellog's UK product site.

It seems you can search cereals and other products by ingredient.

Here's "Beef":

Wait, what?

From the Frosted Wheats ingredients page:
"Shredded Wholewheat, Sugar, Humectant (Sorbitol), Beef Gelatin, Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12."
Gelatine ("it's made from bones, you know") is a common food additive and a real pest to vegetarians.

But wait! There's more.

He also searched "pork":

Yep. Rice Crispies Squares have pig in them:
"Toasted Rice Cereal (35%) (Rice, Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Flavouring, Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12), Marshmallow (33%) (Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Pork Gelatin, Flavouring), Fructose, Vegetable Oil, Invert Sugar Syrup, Glucose Syrup, Humectant (Glycerol), Flavouring (Contains Milk), Emulsifier (E472e, E472a), Antioxidant (E320)."
I'm not a vegetarian, and I have no problem with animal products in my foods. But many people are, and do. Including, ironically, health nut John Harvey Kellogg, who once said:

“A dead cow or sheep lying in the pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher’s stall passes as food.”
The UK site even has a whole section recommending vegetarian diets for young children.

The Canadian and US sites aren't as easy to navigate by ingredient, and searches for beef or pork take you to meatloaf recipes.

However, I did find this on the American site:

What is the source of gelatin in your products? 
Gelatin, which is used in some of our products to provide texture, is derived from either beef or pork. Products containing pork gelatin include Kellogg cereal products with marshmallow additives (i.e., Kellogg's® Marshmallow Froot Loops cereal and Kellogg's Smorz® cereal) and all varieties of Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats® Squares. Products containing beef gelatin include all varieties of Kellogg's® Frosted Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg's® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal, Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats cereal, and the Kellogg's® Fruit-Flavored Snacks that contain gelatin. 
The information provided here is intended to act as a general guide only. We ask that you always check the Nutrition Facts on the side panel of each of our packages to determine if the product contains any ingredient(s) that you want to avoid.
The moral of the story? Animal products show up in the strangest places. When you buy packaged foods, always read the ingredients list. (And always be suspicious of terms like "natural" flavour or colour.) If you're a vegan, vegetarian, Hindu, Jew or Muslim, you may be surprised how often you're breaking your vows.


  1. Great piece -- thanks. John Harvey Kellogg co-invented Corn Flakes with his brother, but it was his brother who started the company.

    Fun movie on the topic: The Road to Wellville.

    1. Thank you, David. I corrected the post.

  2. Believe me, us vegetarians (and the vegans I know) spend a lot of time reading labels! It definitely makes avoiding processed foods in general a lot easier when you know what's in them.