Parmesan

PARMESAN CAMPAIGN

Ha! I kicked wotsit in the River Cottage forums and Bloomsbury are correcting the Parmesan error in the next print run of River Cottage Veg Everyday. I was even referenced in the Guardian online!

This thread, in which I am LMS, is currently running on Delia Smith’s website regarding Parmesan not being vegetarian. The transcript so far is as follows:

By LMS 28 Apr 2011 19:15 Parmesan in recipe listed as vegetarian

Please will all you professionals stop using Parmesan in vegetarian recipes.

Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, so it’s definitely not suitable for vegetarians.

By ES 28 Apr 2011 20:00 parmesan in recipe listed as vegetarian

The following is a quote from the vegetarian recipes section:

“Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from http://www.bookhamcheese.co.uk”

By LMS  28 Apr 2011 21:23 Parmesan in recipe listed as vegetarian

If the recipe is in the vegetarian section then the vegetarian alternative to Parmesan should be in the ingredients list.

You wouldn’t list chicken stock in a vegetarian recipe then put a note elsewhere saying you can use vegetable stock instead.

By Darkginger 28 Apr 2011 22:07 Vegetarian ingredients

Totally agree – whilst not vegetarian myself, I respect those who choose to be so – and all too often you see so-called veggie recipes including gelatine, or suet etc. Yes, there are veggie versions available, but I think they should be listed as ‘vegetarian suet’ etc, in recipes aimed at veggie cooks. Remember that some people using these recipes may not be vegetarian themselves (cooking for a veggie dinner guest, for example), and therefore unaware of the animal content of the ingredients.

By Noreen, Message Board Moderator 29 Apr 2011 00:04 Parmesan

LMS please can you let me know which recipes on our site that contain Parmesan do not have a note in the introduction which advises on a vegetarian version of the cheese?

By LMS  29 Apr 2011 10:46 Parmesan

I realise there is a note on the opening page but I still feel it is wrong to list Parmesan in the ingredients as in the Winter Vegetable Pie. If it’s a vegetarian recipe, list the vegetarian cheese…there are plenty easily available on supermarket shelves. It’s a bit like using a recipe for steak and kidney pudding with a note to substitute the steak and kidney and beef stock to make chestnut and mushroom pudding…very similar dishes using the similar methods

“…if you prefer, you can substitute the cheese mentioned with a veggie version- supermarkets sell some of them.” That is the only way it will be vegetarian, no question of preference.

From 2014, there will be a legal definition of vegetarian and vegan replacing the Food Standards Agency guidelines and Trading Standards issues, though this will apply more to restaurants, food manufacturers, caterers etc. 

By JAMES30 Apr 2011 09:33 Parmesan

To be fair, the winter vegetable pie is not advertised as a vegetarian dish, its in the “English” section. I also think putting the message about vegetarian parmesan style cheese being available more than covers the issue. All of my veggie friends happily eat parmesan anyway.

By LMS30 Apr 2011 11:40 Parmesan I found the recipe this way…recipes page, vegetarian search and there it is. Delia also uses Parmesan in her “Vegetarian” cook book. Parmesan contains animal rennet from a calve’s stomach. I understand some vegetarians eat dairy produce but the rennet is obtained from slaughtered calves…how is that acceptable to your vegetarian friends?

By ES Rennet LMS, it isn’t just parmesan (although due to its protected status it cannot carry that name if it is veggie), it is any cheese. OK, so these days supermarkets have cottoned on and stock mainly vegetarian cheeses, but I would never assume a cheese was vegetarian and ALWAYS check the ingredients list. Even 100% vegetarian chiefs don’t state ‘vegetarian cheese’ every time the word cheese is required, but will have an introductory note.

I am sure the web team have taken your concerns on board and will consider the issue further.

Happy cooking.

By JAMES Parmesan “Parmesan contains animal rennet from a calve’s stomach. I understand some vegetarians eat dairy produce but the rennet is obtained from slaughtered calves…how is that acceptable to your vegetarian friends?”

How would I know, you’d have to ask them! All I know is most of my veggie friends happily eat, buy and use parmesan cheese.

I’d expect anyone that knows anything about cooking to check these things when cooking for anyone with any special diet. Personally, I’d not use parmesan if I had a veggie guest coming, but the fact that an alternative is suggested really should be enough. There are those tubs of “italian hard cheese” in most supermarkets, and many of them are suitable for veggies, and very close in character to parmesan. Not quite as good, but perfectly acceptable

By LMS Parmesan “I’d expect anyone that knows anything about cooking to check these things when cooking for anyone with any special diet.”

James, you’re quote above is my point exactly. I thought Delia would check on behalf of those who don’t know anything about cooking, when including recipes for special diets.

I like that you use alternatives for your guests :o)

The thread then went a little off topic and became a debate on what a vegeterian is. The site’s admin have yet to respond but I shall contact them directly again.

And a previous success

Good evening

I have been looking at your menu online and note that you state certain dishes containing Parmesan to be vegetarian. Any dishes containing Parmesan cannot be labelled as suitable for vegetarians. Please see the quote below and a link to its source:

“Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, so it’s definitely not suitable for vegetarians.”

http://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=850

Are you able to assure me of the validity of your other vegetarian options?

Regards

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENQUIRY WE BUY OUR PRODUCTS IN ON GOOD FAITH TO WHAT OUR REPUTABLE SUPPLIERS TELL US WE WILL MAKE FURTHER ENQUIRIES AND EMAIL YOU OUR RESULTS TO YOU INC THE BRAND WE USE MANY THANKS GIANBIAZ

Hello

Thank you for your response. I do understand you buy your ingredients in good faith.

I was wondering if you had heard from your supplier yet?

Regards

I will be seeing reps end of the week will be intouch many thanks GianBiaz

Hello again

Did you get a response from your supplier?

Can you confirm whether you are using Parmesan or a vegetarian alternative? In either case, in accordance with The Food Standards Agency advice, your menu does need revising as it cannot be described as both.

http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/guidancenotes/labelregsguidance/vegiguidancenotes

I hope this is of help to you.

Regards

NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN SORRY ITS TAKEN SO LONG TO GET BACK TO YOU BUT WE HAVE JUST CONCLUDED THAT AS YOU HAVE POINTED OUT THAT PARMESSAN CHEESE IS NOT TRULY VEGETARIAN SO AS WE ARE NOW ARRANGING OUR NEW MENUS WITH THE NEW PRICES AND REMOVE THE “V” SIGNES FROM OUR NEW MENUS AND WEB SITE THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS TO OUR ATTENTION IF YOU DROP US A LINE WITH YOUR ADDRESS WE WILL SEND YOU A VOUCHER FOR YOUR TROUBLE  MANY THANKS GIANBIAZ



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