Here are some tricky items you need to watch out for:-
Vegan and Vegetarian Wine
Just to let people know as I am sure most veggies already do that wine is not necessarily vegetarian or vegan.
When wine is made they filter it to make it clear and crisp looking, and it is these filters that make the difference between Veggie or not Veggie.
From Wikipedia Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer.
Always read the label and don’t buy if you are not sure. Most companies list on their website rather than the bottle if it is suitable or not for Veggies. Also don’t assume organic wine is automatically OK because sometimes it is not.
There are alternative filters that are used which make the wine suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Some wine is filtered using egg albumin which is OK for vegestarians but not vegans, so you do need to check. Vegan wine is usually filtered using a type of clay.
My best tip is to try the Co op supermarket, all their own brand wine is labelled correctly. The Cooperative Supermarket has some lovely wines to drink which are vegan and very reasonably priced.
Parmesan is Not Vegetarian
Parmesan has a Protected Designation of Origin within Europe requiring the use of calf rennet in its manufacture to allow it to be called Parmesan:
From the main site by Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium:
“Then rennet (rich in natural enzymes and obtained from the stomach of
suckling calves) is added to curdle the milk.”
The actual legal requirement for Parmigiano Reggiano, the only cheese that can legally be called Parmesan within Europe thanks to its Protected Designation of Origin: http://www.famigliagastaldello.it/a_52_IT_251_1.html “The coagulation of milk is performed in a truncated conical copper boilers and is achieved with the *** exclusive use of calf rennet.***
“PDOs enjoy protection under the Regulation not only in the exact form
in which they are registered (‘Parmigiano Reggiano’), but also in the
form of translations (‘parmesan’);
in any case, use of the name ‘parmesan’ constitutes an evocation of
the ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ PDO, and therefore infringes the protection
afforded to that PDO by Article 13(1)(b) of the Regulation. ”
“Parmesan and Gorgonzola are both by statute always made with animal rennet, so you have to look out for similar alternatives, such as the Vegetalia or Twynham Grange brands of Hard Italian Style Cheese to replace Parmesan, or a vegetarian Dolcellatte instead of the Gorgonzola.”
Katie Douglass, Head of Catering Services at the charity says, “On a weekly basis we hear about vegetarian meals that have been ruined because of Parmesan. Many restaurants have only one or two veggie options on a menu. Often both of these are then ruled out as they use Parmesan. Restaurants could make it so much easier for themselves by leaving the cheese off, or using an alternative and labelling it as such. Kick the habit and be proud that your dishes really are suitable for vegetarians.”
When you eat out or are buying cheese always ask if it is genuine Parmesan or a Parmesan style and ask if the labeling says suitable for vegetarians, otherwise you could be eating part of a cows stomach, yuck…
No No E Numbers For Veggies
E numbers can be tricky because it is not always clear if they have animal origin or not.
For everyone E numbers to avoid when you are vegetarian include:-
The following can be unsuitable for Vegans
E901 E904 E913
E1105 E101 E161(g)
E270 E304 E322
E325 E326 E327
E422 E431 to 436
E442 E470 E471
E472 E473 E474
E475 E479 E481
E483 E491 to 495,
E570 E631 E635
E640 E920 E966
The Vegetarian Society have a detailed list on their site which breaks it down into more details here is the link http://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=727
Always read the label and if you are not sure, do not buy it. More companies are marking products as suitable for vegetarians or vegans which makes life much easier.
This is the most basic thing to get right. Obviously to be vegetarian the dish should not contain meat or fish, but the following should also be given careful consideration:
Colourings, Flavourings, Preservatives and other e numbers
Many of the above are animal derived and should not simply be ignored or presumed to be suitable. Examples include e471 (used in many foodstuffs including breads), cochineal (a red food colouring – also known as e120 – which is derived from crushed insects). Remember to check such things as glace cherries and other decorations as these too contain colourings which could be unsuitable.
Cooking Oils and fats
Oils and fats should be checked to be suitable. For example, many pastries contain lard which is of animal origin. This checking should also extend to the oils and fats used to grease the cooking sheets, pie dishes etc as this becomes part of the ingredients and can render an otherwise suitable dish as not suitable for vegetarians.
Wines, Beer and other alcohol
This is a common failing point, especially in smaller outlets. Animal derived ingredients are frequently used in the clearing of alcoholic beverages. For example, gelatine and isinglass are very common in the wine industry rendering the wines themselves unsuitable and thus if an unsuitable wine is used in a food it will have made the food itself also unsuitable.
This is extensively used as an ingredient in everything from sweets (most gum type sweets have gelatine in them) through desserts and more. As it is of animal origin its use renders the foodstuff unsuitable.
Breads and other baked items may contain animal derived preservatives and/or colourings etc.
Another common misconception is that ALL cheese is vegetarian. This is simply not the case. Animal derived rennet is still in common use, especially in hard cheeses and would thus render the cheese and any product incorporating it as unsuitable. There are a huge range of cheese that uses vegetarian rennet so it should not be difficult to ensure suitability – caterers assuming the cheese will be okay is simply not acceptable.
As with cheese, this may contain animal derived rennet and thus be unsuitable.
Many margerines contain animal and/or fish fats. Remember, that butter itself is suitable for vegetarians (it is vegans who do not consume dairy produce).
Must be of vegetable origin to be suitable. Many restaurants (especially foreign) use chicken stock in dishes they sell as vegetarian – making them clearly unsuitable.
Most worcester sauces contain anchovies making it unsuitable as an ingredient in vegetarian food.
May be of animal origin.
REMEMBER: It is the legal duty of any establishment labelling a product as vegetarian to ensure ALL the ingredients and preparation methods result in the food actually being suitable for vegetarians.