In case you hadn’t heard yet, L.A. vegan restaurants are feeding eggs and milk to vegans (via Boing Boing, thanks to Zak).That’s right — A vegan blog called Quarry Girl undertook “Operation Pancake” — a study that basically bought food from 17 L.A. vegan restaurants and tested them for animal products. 10 restaurants passed the test — but 7 did not. According to Quarry Girl:
What the test results seem to confirm … is that the meat substitutes available at vegan Thai restaurants are suspect, as are the ingredients used in some specific food options (pancakes, quesadillas and more).
The specific issue that Quarry Girl points to is that meat substitutes imported from Taiwan sometimes include animal ingredients that aren’t listed on the ingredient labels — an omission that appears largely due to the different food labeling laws in Taiwan vs. the U.S. Luckily, Taiwan’s poised to tighten its food labeling laws, which will hopefully help close this un-vegan-friendly gap in information.
But the larger and more important issue, IMHO, is that many of these meat substitutes are highly processed foods with massive ingredient lists and huge travel footprints that bring up some of the same sort of scary issues as the synthetic, engineered foods from Nestle and Kraft. According to Quarry Girl, “MOST, if not all, of the fake meats you buy come from Taiwan.”
Given the choice between an egg from an organic free-range chicken farmer at my local farmers’ market and some multi-ingredient “meat” that’s made with in Taiwan using genetically-modified ingredients grown via factory farming before getting shipped over to the U.S., I’d opt for the egg. “Vegan” apparently isn’t always vegan, and a vegan diet most certainly isn’t always green.