Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism (USofH), is calling out Kellogg’s CEO John A. Bryant for failing to disclose that some of the company’s cereals contain beef-based gelatin.
Gelatin is a protein made from the skins and bones of pigs and cows. It’s a common ingredient in many products. Hindu religion prohibits followers from eating meat from cows.
Zed says the world’s 1 billion Hindus were shocked to learn that some of the Kellogg’s cereals they’ve been eating for years without concern, in fact, contained beef-based gelatin, which is not disclosed on packaging or labels.
Disclosure of the origin of gelatin is not a labeling requirement, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gelatin can be either pork or beef based.
Hindu religious texts do not explicitly prohibit eating meat, but do ban beef and suggest a more vegetarian lifestyle.
Kellogg’s has confirmed that beef-based gelatin is an ingredient in all varieties of Kellogg’s Frosted Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats cereal. All Kellogg’s fruit flavored snacks and all Kellogg’s Krave Treat Bars contain either pork or beef-based gelatin.
Zed says America’s 3 million Hindus are troubled by the disclosure because it means Kellogg’s kept the beef use a secret for almost 50 years. Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal went on the market in 1969.
Zed wants Kellogg’s to admit it made an error by not being transparent enough. Consumers could make the “right and appropriate” choice if Kellogg’s listed the ingredient on the label, he contends.
Zed, a cleric who works to advance interfaith relations, is known for offering the opening prayers before public bodies, often sparking controversy. Most notable was his opening prayer for the U.S. Senate on July 12, 2007, when unruly Christians objected from the Senate galleries.
Several state legislatures and city councils have since invited Zed to lead their prayers. The Hindu cleric is a resident of Reno, NV.
The Battle Creek, MI-based Kellogg’s makes more than 1,600 food products, with worldwide sales of $13 billion in 2016.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion in the world.
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