A recent issue of Time magazine ran an article about hospital food
and the need to improve its healthfulness. They described the gelatin
that hospitals serve as being “Low-nutrient, high-calorie,
artificially colored jellied sugar water.” I was surprised that they
didn’t mention what is used to “jell” this ubiquitous product. Most
gelatins are made from the collagen protein found in the skin,
cartilage, and bone of “food animals.” The pharmaceutical industry
uses hard gelatins made from bones, while the food industry uses soft
gelatins derived from hides and connective tissue.
Frank and I try to avoid anything that contains gelatin, and are
amazed that so many people don’t realize what gelatin really is. When I
think of animal-derived gelatin, I always wonder about the possibility
of contamination with prions. And in my opinion, the promotion of
gelatin as a food for children is totally irresponsible. (I believe that
the only “safe” gelatin is derived from non-animal sources such as
agar-agar, soy, or seaweed.)
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is one of the diseases caused by prions.
Since the publicity about Mad Cow Disease (BSE or Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy) and the causative agent, prions, pathologists take
extraordinary precautions in performing post mortems on known CJD cases.
I should mention that since BSE can only be diagnosed in a late stage in
animals, it stands to reason that diseased younger animals who show no
symptoms could be slaughtered and their products distributed.
I could go on and on about this fascinating subject. More people need
to take a serious look at the products they use and educate themselves
about the risks involved from these gelatin-containing products that are
everywhere – and where one would least expect.
For more information see: