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New in the US - products aren't labelled!

smilingveggie
Posted by smilingveggie at 11/13/2011

Hi Everyone

I recently moved to the US (Malibu, CA to be precise)from the UK. I'm a strict ovo-lacto vegetarian and i've always been very careful about which products i buy in supermarkets etc by checking ingredients on labels. I've noticed that in regular supermarkets over here in the US that the majority of everyday products (cereals, soups, snacks) don't have the 'suitable for vegetarians' label that most in the UK do.

Where there are far more vegetarian / vegan restaurants here in the US, i'm struggling to buy products in supermarkets as easily as i do back home.

Obviously i know i can read the ingredients but for there are still several additives that can be plant or animal sourced, leaving me wondering if the product is ok for me or not. I've checked a few online web searches but a lot of the brand names don't seem to even publish on their websites which of their products are vegetarian

Does anyone know of a website or a central list that contains branded products that are suitable for vegetarians? I've seen a few for vegan products but that limits me a bit more than necessary

Thanks in advance :-)

Jenny

Responses

Cascadian
Cascadian11/14/2011 05:33:00
Hi Jenny,

I am not aware of such a list - please share it if you come across one! Even with such a list, I would be inclined to keep my eyes open as ingredients used in products change, etc.

By simply being vegan, I find it easier to avoid products that use ingredients sourced from animal exploitation. As you point out, more companies seem inclined to mark products as vegan. Perhaps because the term vegan signifies an easier and more broadly agreed upon definition than the term vegetarian?

Personally I generally stick with foods and other items that are either clearly vegan (whole plant foods) or companies/products that have taken a pro-active approach by seeking out and maintaining recognition of their vegan-friendliness. When that is highly impractical, I find what seems to be the best available option and then dont sweat the small stuff.

Anyway, I hope this helps!
smilingveggie
smilingveggie11/17/2011 20:41:17
Thanks :-)

I think my biggest problem here has been with cheese. In the UK most supermarkets are really good with labelling which cheeses contain animal or vegetable rennet; over here i've found most people look confused when i ask which cheese is suitable for vegetarians

I think i will find myself eating more like a vegan over here in the States which i suppose is no bad thing! I've just always been a very strict vegetarian...to the point where i was gradually converting restaurants in my local area to label their wine lists with 'V's next to the suitable options. The only thing i really eat now that is not vegan is cheese and eggs.

Thanks again for your reply :-)

Jenny
happycowgirl
happycowgirl11/18/2011 10:25:57
Hi smilingveggie,
I know what u mean. Things are so inadequately labeled in the U.S. it's pathetic. When I ate cheese I would just have to scour the ingredient list myself then I'd buy organic like from Organic Valley or Stonyfield Farm figuring it was at least a step in the right direction.

If you're in southern California, you're in vegan heaven. In my experience giving up cheese is not easy, but you couldn't be in a better place to give it a go. If you're interested, I'd take a look at a brochure like this http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/WhyVegan.pdf
Page through and remind yourself of the unthinkable cruelties of the dairy industry. That's what worked for me, anyway. I would think about the cows who suffered to make that cheese and it suddenly became terribly unappetizing. Then head over to Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, the Veggie Grill, buy some Daiya cheese at Whole Foods, go to Sage Organic Vegan Bistro. I'm so jealous just thinking of all the great vegan restaurants u have access to everyday!

Oh, then read The China Study and see why as a vegan you'll get the last laugh b/c you'll be the healthiest of everyone! : )

All the best,
HCG
happycowgirl
happycowgirl11/18/2011 10:29:24
almost forgot...

Speaking of labeling, you might be interested in California's ballot initiative to label GMO's:
http://labelgmos.org

Food and Water Watch is also a cool group that's working on labeling issues: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org
smilingveggie
smilingveggie11/22/2011 22:15:04
Wow - thank you so much!

I am discovering each day how much easier it is to be a vegan here than anywhere else i've ever been. I'm pretty sure i'm going to give it a go now :-)

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