This is a little of an odd post, and I think you’ll understand why. I also need your (you, the reader) help so please read on…
A friend of mine is mortally allergic to fish, and as such I have an ‘EpiPen’ in my first aid kit especially for her in the event of accidental contamination of any of the food I make.
So what’s the title about? Well most people (including me before I met my friend) don’t know many drinks (eg Coca-Cola), particularly alcohols (eg Wine and Beer) are made using fish or egg products, so one sip of such a product by my friend could potentially kill her. What makes it worse, is that food allergy laws exempt listing ‘fining’ agents as ‘ingredients’ therefore there is no way to tell if a drink has been contaminated. This is where I want your help… more on that later.
So here’s the thing, ‘isinglass’ is a product that is derived from the bladders of fish, it’s used for clarifying alcoholic products, notably Wine (including Sherry) which is then used in other products (such as cooking, and cheap brandy)… Other ‘fining’ products include egg etc a good information source on what fining products are used is here: The Vegan Society Further research and checking of laws show that there is no requirement for a producer to list fining agents on their products as technically the agent is not an ingredient.. (it’s like requiring them to say stainless steal is used to store the product during manufacture.) However, here lies the problem, because it’s used as a fining agent there is a possibility that some of it is left in the finished product and whilst that doesn’t matter to many of us it is possibly lethal to people like my friend…!
So here’s where I need your help, spread this blog post to as many places as you can (legally, DO NOT SPAM!).. We need people to be aware, and if you work at a plant that creates drinks and/or alcoholic products or uses isinglass, please ask the management to consider putting a specific label on the product to indicate it’s use or the fact is is not used. Better still if the product is vegan (ie if the product doesn’t use any animal derived fining agents, including isinglass or egg etc) have the product labelled ‘suitable for vegans’…
To be clear I am not asking for people to go down the ‘may contain nuts’ path… what a mess that is (packets of peanuts labelled ‘may contain nuts’ … no SHIT! 😛 ) but if you make a product that can kill people because of a mortal allergic reaction, it would be good to let people know…! It’d be better for people like me, who care, to know if your product is safe so that I can choose it instead of a non-safe variant/brand.
For those with the allergy that don’t know how to tell the difference, currently Google is a good source of information and the best way I have found is search for ‘vegan-alcohol‘, or ‘isinglass-brandy‘, or ‘isinglass-vodka‘, or ‘isinglass-smirnoff‘ etc Results that state ‘this brand/product does not contain’ are safe products.
No information is just that.. unknown – DO NOT ASSUME SAFE!