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A Bit of Oink Oink in Your Snack?

Updated on October 25, 2013

Porcine = Gelatin (pork)

Most people who restrict themselves from pork products skim the ingredients list for the work "gelatin", however there is another word to look out for and that is Porcine or Enzymes. Doritos and Cheetos use the word enzyme (meaning specifically porcine) to stand in place of gelatin or animal starch. In most cases the product contains enzymes from animals like goats, sheep or cows. However in other cases the enzyme would be drawn from pigs. Now the big concern is when eating out you don't exactly have a list of ingredients.

UPDATE: Cheetos and many other snacks are on the Porcine Free List now.

Image Credit: Fat pig in the Market

SOME Products May Contain Porcine

Cheetos, Frito-Lay, and Doritos

On their site they clearly state that many of their products contain porcine. So it is not some conspiracy. In all honesty I give them props for being straightforward with their consumers. According the the representative that replied to my email "Porcine is an enzyme used to give the cheese flavor" in many of their products. Here is a list that the company provides of products that do NOT contain porcine:

Porcine/Pork Free Products

As consumers we need to take note of what it is that we are eating. We look for the typical red flags such as gelatin and the like... however we do not take notice of the other things on that ingredient list. After learning this I pay closer attention to what it is that is on the package. If I don't know what a particular thing is and I suspect it I simply call the company or do a quick bing search.

What is Porcine?

There are various TYPES of enzymes. Some are from vegetable sources, others are from animals, and then there are those produced by cultures of microorganisms such as molds or yeast. Porcine is derived from pigs many companies use this enzyme for "flavor" in their products. There are certain types that are used for insulin just a heads up. How is it derived or in their terms rendered? I found it hard to find but after much reading and research basically it is when the pig is boiled, the liquids evaporated, and the rest is the enzyme used to flavor cheese and so on. The person who said this says he trained at Le Cordon Bleu.

It seems that many of these enzymes are derived from a pig's pancreas. That just makes my stomach turn. What happened to simply using real cheese for flavor and not pulling stuff from an animal body part?

Poll: Did you know?

Did you know that pork goes by so many different names when it comes to the ingredient list on your food?

Enzyme and porcine being only two of them?

Did you know that pork goes by so many different names?

See results

What Can You Do?

Well you can click the "contact" link on the URL posted above and call or email them. Request that they find an alternative ingredient to Porcine. Companies will listen to their consumers but if we can't be bothered to make a phone call or send an email, why would they bother making an ingredient change? This applies to all companies in general... if they don't care then time to find a different one that does.

Did you know?

Did you know that enzymes can be found on the ingredients list of many different products that you buy from the market? Including bread (I certainly didn't know), however not every time the word enzyme is listed does it mean that the product has something derived from pork. It could be beef enzymes, so it is a good idea to call the customer service line and ask what they mean by it.

Did you know that Popeye's doesn't tell you their Bean's and Rice contains animal product? Heck even many of the employees in that restaurant do not know! This is a concern not only to those that omit these products due to their faith, it is a concern to vegetarians as well. That is one example of many. Even if something doesn't seem to have animal products in it people need to ask more and do their research. Look up menu's to the place you want to eat out at. My recent experience at D&B when I asked about a particular dish the waiter went the extra mile to not only ask but show me proof that what was on my plate was potato peel shavings and not bacon bits. He brought the freaking potato shavings before they were mixed into the meal! AWESOME people do exist!

Videos on the topic

FAQ

Other than trying my luck with lists how do i find if a product is halal or not?

Simple! Do what I did... all products (well those i came across at least) have contact information on the back of the package (on the side of boxes). Call the number or check their website. I did a combination of the two when it came to Cheetos Flamin' hot. I got an honest answer from the company, and the lady that spoke to me on the phone (in concern of Kraft Sliced Cheese) was kind enough to explain which products did or did not have the enzyme in them. They tell you what enzyme is used.. derived from vegetables or from other animals (cows, goats, sheep, you get the idea...).

Sigh... I ate so much of these products NOT knowing that they had pig oils, fats, etc... What now?

I can't speak of other faiths or groups that have a diet restricted from pig products but as for Islam if a person eats from these foods and doesn't know then it's all good. Doesn't mean grab a bag of Cheetos or something and chomp on it with your eyes closed after reading this! Sorry buddy doesn't work that way!

How do you know they wont lie?

Well, some companies actually have a list of Kosher products, Cheetos company Frito Lays told me in plain English that their product YES in fact contains pig enzymes.

A few sites to help you find CLEAN products

visit these sites to find out which products are pork-free

So far this is the one i know of that offers a good list..if you know of any others please let me know. When using the term "clean" or "unclean" here I mean clean as in not containing pork and unclean as in containing pork. In no way are these words meant to offend anyone.

CLEAN AND UNCLEAN FOOD PRODUCTS LIST

lactose.co.uk

Additive codes can signify what that preservative or color was derived from be it plant or animal. Here are a list of codes and what they represent.

Traditional Loven: Food Additives Codes

Here read more about food additives and another list of codes to be aware of.

Are there any questions in particular other than those discussed above? If so please feel free to ask so that I could add them to the FAQ section! Thank you for visiting!

Any ideas? Thoughts? If you know any other lists that relate to the topic please post it! - Don't forget to rate please..!

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    • Nadooa profile image
      Author

      Nadooa 4 years ago

      @bames24 lm: You'd be surprised how many people don't know... I guess all the people writing letters and not buying the products all helped encourage the recipe change :)

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 4 years ago

      I knew about porcine for quite sometime but I know a lot of people are not aware of what it is and where it is being used. Thanks for sharing the info.

    • Nadooa profile image
      Author

      Nadooa 4 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: My pleasure.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I wasn't aware of this. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am glad u have answered these questions for us.thnks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Looks like Frito-Lay's porcine list was updated last week, and it now says Doritos do not contain porcine enzymes. Nice!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I went to Frito Lay site before reading this topic today. I was very pleased that the Flaming Hot Cheetos and Crunchy/Puff Cheese snacks were ON the list of Porcine-Free! I noticed after I went back that the list had been updated TODAY July 05, 2012. Does anyone know if this is a new change in recipe?

      @Naomi -- Unclean does not mean bad. A woman is Unclean during her cycle, a couple is unclean after intimacy and many other situations.Unclean is just a status in reference to the types of uses of (or in a person's case actions available to) a thing or creature or person. Being unclean does not mean "having sinned" or being inherently bad. G-d created everything in this world for a purpose. Originally, animals were not intended for consumption.

    • MrInfopreneur profile image

      MrInfopreneur 5 years ago

      Watch out for pepsin also. Its also an enzyme from animals

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      To the person complaining about the use of the word "unclean" regarding pork: Get over yourself. For Muslims, pork is unclean and it has nothing to do with an outbreak of any kind. And while we believe this for ourselves, we do not expect others from different religions to avoid it the way we have to. Which goes to show that no disrespect is intended. Anyone who gets offended by a word really needs to do some self evaluation.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      I am vegetarian and prefer fully non-meat products. It is a shame that so many things by default use animal products. There really are so many good (or better) equivalents these days. The world cannot afford the economic and environmental impacts of meat production.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      so is cheetos kosher or not?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I respect people who chose not to eat or partake of something they feel is unhealthy, not just pork. I do not eat an animal that is a baby, but i do not condemn people that do. Using the term 'unclean' in reference to pork is received as derogatory by many people., including myself. The entire premise of not eating pork is based on an archaic response to people getting sick from trichinosis due to poor hygiene and food preserving 2000 years ago. "God" told the Israelites and Jews that pork was unclean because they were not capable of understanding microbiology. Most pork is irradiated to wipe out the parasite, and items that have pork products in them are so processed there is no chance of the parasite surviving. Before anyone judges my response, I am friends with Muslims and Jews. I just wish there was a way to change the term 'unclean'.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thanks! Great information... you can also get halal Doritos, etc... at: www.desertboutique.com! :) Salam :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      hi im not allowed to eat hot cheetos because of the pork. now i use to eat a lot of hot cheetos back then because i never knew. so can you please use a different ingrediant besides pork in hot cheetos! please and thankyou!!!