Summer 2002 Newsletter: Getting the Pork Out
Author: Christine Peck
Publish date:

The Bible tells us in Leviticus 11:7 that pork is an unclean food. God also told His people, “Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you” (Leviticus 11:8 NKJV). “Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV).

E. G. White also has this to say about eating pork:

Pork, although one of the most common articles of diet, is one of the most injurious. God did not prohibit the Hebrews from eating swine’s flesh merely to show His authority, but because it was not a proper article of food for nab. It would fill the system with scrofula, and especially in that warm climate produced leprosy, and diseases of various kinds. Its influence upon the system in that climate was far more injurious than in a colder climate. But God never designed the swine to be eaten under any circumstances…But it is not the physical health alone which is injured by pork eating. The mind is affected, and the finer sensibilities are blunted by the use of this gross article of food. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creatures to be healthy when filth is their natural element, and when they will feed upon every detestable thing. The flesh of swine is composed of what they eat. If human beings eat their flesh, their blood and their flesh will be corrupted by impurities conveyed to them through the swine. (Counsel on Diet and Foods, 392-3).

Do you know what foods pork is found in? You might be surprised! While it’s easy to avoid pork chops, ham, and bacon, few of us realize how clever the food industry is in adding pork to our diets in the form of gelatin.

Gelatin in Foods

Where does it come from?
Gelatin is manufactured from collagen derived from animal carcasses.i Leiner Davis Gelatin in Davenport, Iowa claims to have the largest gelatin manufacturing plant in the northern hemisphere. Their website states that they use the skin of pork and beef to make gelatin. The Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe website claims that they also use the bones of these animals.

CC Attribution Carissa Rogers

What is it used in?
Gelatin is used in a variety of ways by the food industries. According to Leiner Davis Gelatin, it can be used as a gelling agent, thickener, film former, adhesive agent, stabilizer, or whipping agent. Another website states that gelatin is used in hard capsules, soft gels, plasma expanders, tablet binders and coatings, and vaccine stabilizers as well as numerous consumer food applications.ii The Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe website also indicates the major food uses for gelatin are jelly, bakery, meat products, fish products, confectionery, ice cream, alcoholic and soft drinks, dairy products, and yellow fats and spreads.

So, general speaking, gelatin may be an ingredient in any processed food product on the market today, especially those with a chewy consistency or requiring thickeners and gravies. They are often listed as mono- and diglycerides on nutrition labels.

Products Containing Gelatin

Here are some of the foods that contain gelatin:

Confectionery products such as jubes, wine gums, and pastilles; aerated confections such as marshmallows, nougate, marshmallow-meringues, and biscuit and wafer fillings; sugar-pulled confectionery such as fruit chews, milk caramels, toffees, cream pastes, and licorice; compressed tablets; and lozenges. This includes frostings, icings, and bakery glazes as well.

Dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheese spreads, pudding, molded creams and custards, mousse, chiffons and soufflés, ice cream, water ices, milk ices and novelties, thickened cream, and margarine.

Gelatin Desserts such as “Jell-O.”

Meat Products such as cooked ham, canned meat products, aspics, sausage, decorative jellies, and glazes for meats.

Gelatin also has other food application such as gelling of canned seafood products; micro-encapsulation of flavors, colors, and vitamins; stabilizing of cream fillings for frozen baked products; protein enrichment of foods such as beverages and dietetic products; film forming in panned chewing gum varieties; coating of fruits meats and delicatessen items; thickening and emulsifying soups, sauces, and gravies; and thickening and stabilizing low fat mayonnaise and salad dressing.

Prions in Gelatin

Prions are infectious substances made of protein. They carry fatal diseases such as mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The American Food and Drug Administration has recently raised concerns about the safety of gelatin as a food product in light of the spread of mad cow disease.iii Gelatin is manufactured at temperatures lower than 200°F, while it takes a temperature of 800°F to destroy the prion that causes mad cow disease.

The mad cow disease prion is found most commonly in the central nervous system and bones of animals. Nerve tissue reaches all parts of the body, including the skin. As well, there is no safety in being selective about the parts you eat because the butchering process slices the bone and smears its contents across the face of the cut produced.

It only takes one prion to start trouble. Scientists have observed that a prion placed next to a normal protein will change the normal protein to a prion. CJD cases from Britain show that it only takes 18 months for symptoms of mad cow disease to show up in humans who eaten infected beef.iv

The Bottom Line

If you want to avoid pork in your food, don’t eat commercially manufactured foods. Make your prepared dishes yourself. Make them from whole grains you cook yourself, legumes you prepare yourself, fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh fruits, and raw nuts and seeds you roast yourself. Obtain your sweeteners from dates, raisins, honey, apples, and jams, jellies, and apple “butters” made from 100% fruit without additives (pectin and citric acid are okay; they come from fruits). If you must add gravies or thickeners, make your own from flours, water or nut milks, olive oil, and herbs. Nut creams, nut milks, and tofu work well as replacements for milk and milk products in gravies and sauces. Many dishes can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the freezer for quick use.

If you feel it’s too hard to make your favorite dishes from scratch, try changing your menu plan. Train your palate to enjoy simple foods from natural sources, and your body will be healthier for it. Nutritionists today advocate eating a diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Eliminate sugary desserts, commercially prepared cookies, and candy from your diet. Replace them with fresh fruit, but avoid eating fruits and vegetables in the same meal (See The Health Message, Vol.1 no.7). Eat healthy and stay healthy!

i Applied Genetics News, “Biomanufacturing; Gelatin is Now a Crop,” (December 19, 1999).

ii CNN Interactive Health Story Page, “FDA advised to look at mad cow disease risk from gelatin.”

iii Ibid.

iv Amy Toburen, “A beef with beef,” (University of Wisconsin).

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