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L-Cysteine – 21 January 2008
“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About L-Cysteine But Were
Afraid to Ask” by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS is an excellent article in The
Vegetarian Resource Group’s latest issue of “The Vegetarian Journal.”
According to this article, L-cysteine – a common dough conditioner,
flavor enhancer in human and pet foods, and precursor in some dietary
supplements – may be derived from human hair and duck feathers or pigs’
bristles and hooves. Today, most L-cysteine is derived from Chinese duck
feathers; whereas a few years ago “the most common source was human hair
found on the floors of Chinese barbershops.” Although at least two
synthetic forms are manufactured today, they are not commonly used
because they are expensive.
I found it disconcerting that L-cysteine must appear on a food
package label if it has a “functional effect on foods” but not if it is
“used to make flavors that are in foods.” Furthermore, according to the
FDA the source of L-cysteine is not required on labels.
For more information about ingredients in foods, visit The Vegetarian
Resource Group’s website:
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful. At the
same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the
world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true
peace and compassion.
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