vgnwtch (vgnwtch) wrote in vegancooking,

When I asked Bryanna Clark Grogan for permission to post her soy yoghurt link here, she later sent me this message concerning Emes Kosher Gel:

There is a rumour going around that EMES kosher gel is not vegan. Just in case you get asked about this, you are welcome to post this response from me:

This is what I wrote to someone the other day in response to the article asserting that EMES kosher gelatin is not really vegan:

"Yes, I saw that, but I am not convinced. I want to do further research before condemning it. The Seventh Day Adventist near Vancouver still sells EMES, as do vegan online stores such as,,, etc.

INTERJECTION: I just spoke to a Seventh Day Adventist friend who remembers hearing something along this line MANY years ago, but says it was not proven back then.

See this site;

This is the pertinent paragraph (bold type my emphasis):

"Carrageenans are used mainly for thickening, suspending and gelling. k- and i-carrageenans form thermoreversible gels on cooling in the presence of appropriate counterions. k-Carrageenan forms a firm clear, if brittle, gel with poor freeze-thaw stability; the coil-double helix transition being followed by a K^+ -induced aggregation of the helices [516 ]. k-*Carrageenan gels may be softened (and is generally regarded to be synergistically strengthene^a ) with locust bean gum . i*-Carrageenan has less specific ionic binding but increased ionic strength allows helices to form junction zones in soft elastic gels with good freeze-thaw stability. l-Carrageenan is non gelling as the lack of the ^1 C_4 3,6-anhydro-link allows the galactose residues to revert to their ^4 C_1 conformation which does not allow the initial double helix formation required for gelling. Additionally, the high density of charged sulfate groups encourages an extensive conformation. l-Carrageenan has been found to act as a cryoprotectant and improves the freeze-thaw behavior of locust bean gum ."

Locust bean gum is one of the ingredients in kosher gel-- it is NOT an ingredient in animal gelatin. I used animal gelatin for many years before becoming vegetarian, and kosher gel does not act just like Knox gelatin--it takes much longer to gel, for one thing, and it is a more delicate gel. Granulated animal gelatin has to be soaked in cold water before adding to hot liquid. If you don't do this the outer layers of the granules become gluey and stick neighboring granules together. Kosher gelatin can be added to hot liquid and it dissolves and disperses instantly.

The article lumped all "vegetable gum products" in together, but this is misleading. If you consult the revised and updated version of "On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee (Scribner 2004), you will see this. There are Agarose (agar); alginates; carrageenans; gum arabic; gum tragacanth; guar gum; locust-bean gum; Xanthan gum; and gellan. All behave differently.

When the article said one test showed the presence of protein, I'd like to know if this was predominant, or just traces.

I would also like to know what is the difference between EMES and other vegan kosher gels--or all they all suspect? I am aware that all kosher gelatin is not vegetarian-- however, are we to suspect all food labels of being fabrications? It is a crime to mislabel foods-- perhaps someone should contact the FDA?"

What would be the advantage of trying to pull this over on the public, anyway? Carageenan is ALOT cheaper than kosher-certified animal hides that are the only material that can be used for non-vegetarian kosher gelatin. EMES is an old and well-respected kosher company. Kosher certification is extremely detailed and time-consuming-- I know people who's companies have gone through the process.

Bryanna Grogan
From: annemarie (on vegsource beginners board):
Subject: And my comments too -
Date: June 20, 2005 at 6:58 pm PST

In Reply to: My comments: posted by Bryanna on June 10, 2005 at 10:35 am:

The local vegan store here has been through this as well. They spoke with the folks at Pangea online vegan store, who researched this and say Emes is indeed vegan. Pangea continues to sell Emes kosher gelatin. My personal opinion? If Pangea says it's ok - I'm not gonna worry about it.
Tags: substitutes-gelatine
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