I have been a vegetarian for over six years. I switched from a meat-based diet because, at the time, I was young and influenced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A). Soon after (and it continues to this day), I mostly do it for my health.
Vegetarian food is in the news here at Northern Kentucky University. (See Jesse Call’s article in ‘News’). The problem, it seems, stems from the food service company -Chartwell’s- which has not been labeling food properly.
The case is that soups, thought to be vegetarian, contained chicken and beef stock. Well, I hate to be the bubble buster, but from my experience, unless a soup says it is vegetarian, it has chicken or beef stock.
In fact, I have learned over the years that if a food is not labeled vegetarian, there probably is something in it that makes it non-vegetarian.
For example, lets say you go to Burger King and order a veggie burger. It does not claim to be vegetarian, because it is cooked in meat juices. If you go and read the nutrition menu, hanging up at most BK’s, you will see a small disclaimer that says BK does not guarantee the burger is vegetarian, or vegan.
If you are a vegetarian that is serious about being a vegetarian, then it is your responsibility to ask and make sure your food is meat-free. If you ask and the vendor can not tell you, walk away.
Now for you vendors: this is a new day in age where people are trying to take responsibility for their health and the things that go into their body. So post information about your food and train your employees to know what is in the food, in case they are asked.
For example, if I go to Chiptotle and ask for a vegetarian burrito -notice how it is labeled vegetarian- and ask for pinto beans in the burrito, the person making my food will warn me that the pinto beans are made with bacon, which makes them non-vegetarian. So, if I want a vegetarian burrito I should opt for the black beans. This is how food service should be.
Responsibility is the key word here for consumers and food vendors. Consumers need to take notice of what is going into their body, as vendors should take notice of what is going into their food.