Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vegetarian gelatin

I avoid foods with gelatin and always buy vitamins and minerals in vegetarian capsules when I can. But it still bothers me that so many things -- some, like medicine, which I can’t really avoid -- contain gelatin. A press release I read recently reports that scientists have made advances in deriving gelatin from corn instead of animal by-products.

Although on the surface this is exciting news, producing this vegetarian gelatin results from modifying corn genetically. I don’t like the idea of genetically modified foods, so this tempers my enthusiasm. Personally, I don’t think we know enough about the consequences of mucking about with plant genetics to be sure that it’s safe or won’t have unfortunate nutritional consequences. And I don’t want fish DNA in my strawberries.

Still, in this case it strikes me as a lesser evil; I would rather ingest a pill containing modified-corn gelatin than gelatin derived from cow bones and hooves. What about you?

For now, you can read about cooking with vegetarian alternatives to gelatin here.

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