Hindus are upset at supermarket chain Whole Foods Market (WFM), which claims to “maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry”, for not being transparent enough in ingredients listed on some of the products it sells.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that some products sold at WFM contained gelatin, but source of gelatin was not mentioned under the “Ingredients” on boxes/packages; which might be beef, pork, etc.
When the source of gelatin is not listed and if it is beef, it is a serious non-disclosure affecting the Hindu devotees and would severely hurt their feelings when they would come to know that they were inadvertently consuming beef-laced popular food products for years; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stresses.
Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism; Rajan Zed points out.
Zed urged WFM to recall all food items containing gelatin where source of gelatin was not clearly mentioned; and later replace these with items which markedly declare source of gelatin under the ingredients label. He also sought an official apology from WFM CEO John Mackey.
It was hard to comprehend that why WFM, which claimed its “product quality standards lead the marketplace”, did not make sure to have source of gelatin mentioned under the ingredients on the box/package, when it was part of the product inside. It was now time for WFM to admit their error of not being transparent enough to have displayed in clear and simple terms what was inside the box/package, so that an ordinary consumer could make right and appropriate choices; Rajan Zed indicated.
Under “Food Ingredients: We did the work for you.” on its website, WFM states: “Wouldn’t it be more fun to shop for groceries if you didn’t have to worry about what food additives to avoid? Good news: We’re looking out for you.” Under “Quality Standards”, WFM claims “Standards that aren’t standard anywhere else”.
Gelatin/gelatine is procured from various animal body parts and is usually used as a gelling agent in food (also used for clarification of vinegar, juices and wine). It can be from cows, pigs, fish, chicken, etc.; but there are animal-free and plant-based alternatives to gelatin like seaweed extracts.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
WFM, which claims to be “America's Healthiest Grocery Store”, launched in 1980 and headquartered in Austin (Texas), now has 501 stores in USA, Canada and United Kingdom. It claims to be a “purpose-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers”.