What is behind food gelatin

Ingredients, use, controversy and alternatives … everything about food gelatin, this substance of animal origin which is not unanimous among consumers.

If informed amateurs have known for a long time that edible gelatin is a substance of animal origin, many Internet users discovered it on September 19 in a press release from Foodwatch, an association that fights for the rights of consumers. However, it suffices to type “scandal E441” into Google to realize that the subject returns every year to the front page.

This year, it is, therefore, an NGO that denounces the lack of transparency of certain industrialists, accused of not clearly indicating the composition of their products. Several brands are concerned, such as Yoplait, Nestlé, Carrefour, Cémoi and Haribo using gelatin without specifying its animal origin or by not mentioning it in a “sufficiently legible” manner, according to Mégane Ghorbani, Foodwatch campaign manager. We tell you everything about this ingredient once used unsuspectingly, now pointed out.

Gelatin, what is it?

Gelatin is a transparent (or slightly yellow) solid substance without taste and odor which serves as a gelling agent, texturing agent or thickener in cooking. It brings elasticity to sweets, consistency to creams or cake mixes, creaminess to yogurts and milk desserts and it clarifies vinegar, juices and sometimes wine. It is obtained by prolonged cooking of collagen, a protein found in the skin, cartilage, muscles, and bones of animals (previously rid of meat residues by washing with hot water and then dried and treated with l ‘hydrochloric acid). “In France, 80% of the gelatin is of porcine origin”, reported the association Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe to LCI in 2015. The rest coming from, on the one hand, bovine hides, and, on the other hand, bones of pigs, poultry and fish.

The reason for a disenchantment

This manufacturing method is the main reason which explains the vigilance of certain consumers with regard to this substance. The vegetarian the banished because of his animal origin and religious who do not eat pork when it is of porcine origin. Also in 2015, Médiapart reminded us that “the presence of traces of meat products in the sauce of cooked vegetables is normal; inevitable even and much healthier than glutamates and other flavor stimulators that we use wrongly and through. “

“Except that, not all consumers are aware of its animal origin,” says Mégane Ghorbani, Foodwatch campaign manager. Because legally, if the food industry is required to mention gelatin in the list of its ingredients as stipulated in the European regulation of October 2011, its animal nature is only specified on a voluntary basis. “What misleads the consumer.” While once informed, he can choose his side: gelatin or alternatives.

The alternatives

Starch, agar-agar, fruit pectin, there are several natural alternatives.

Agar-agar: of plant origin, agar-agar comes from a red alga native to Asia. Like gelatin, it is used as a gelling agent in cooking to make jellies, creams, mousses, jams, terrines, and confectionery. In practice, there is no question of simply replacing the gelatin with this red alga, the process not being the same. Agar-agar has a much higher gelling power, so it must be dosed well (on average, we use 4 g of agar-agar for 1 liter of liquid). Secondly, it must be brought to a boil in a liquid and then cooled before being incorporated into a preparation.

Starch or starch: from potato, corn or rice, starch is extracted from the tubers of the vegetable or plant. Like gelatin and agar-agar, it is a thickener that gives body and holds to cakes, sauces, pies, creams, and cookies. In practice, it is recommended to use between 50 g and 80 g of starch per liter of liquid.

Fruit pectin: present in many fruit seeds and citrus zest, fruit pectin is mainly used to make jams or gelatin desserts. Before incorporating it into a preparation, mix it with sugar and lemon juice (pectin only gelling in the presence of an acid). There is an average of 15 grams of pectin for one kilo of fruit and sugar.




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