On DeenPort Irfan Younas started a thread and posted two links to reports about bread manufacturers using animal enzymes in the production of bread. Here are the links: The Metro newspaper and The Vegetarian Society.
I decided to email Hovis about the matter, as we tend to use Hovis breads at home, here was my email:
We regularly purchase Hovis Soft White in our family. However, after reading this report http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Most_bread_not_fit_for_vegetarians&in_article_id=636820&in_page_id=34 and this from the Vegetarian Society http://www.vegsoc.org/news/2009/bread.html?page=24 has left me in some doubt. We are a Muslim family and therefore rely on vegetarian products in our home if we cannot get halal alternatives. Therefore please can you confirm that you do not use the reported enzymes in any of your products AT ANY STAGE OF THEIR PRODUCTION, whether they form the final ingredients or not.
As you can imagine this is a cause of great concern to my family and to other Muslim and vegetarian families up and down the country.
I look forward to your expedient response.
Masud A. Khan
Here is the prompt response I got:
Thank you for your email. Please be assured we do not use any animal enzymes in our products. The enzymes we use are synthetic or vegetable based. Where we state vegetarian we are vegetarian
PA to Marketing and Sales Directors
PO Box 527
69 Alma Road
Berkshire SL4 3HD
Telephone: 08707 288888
Mazhar Iqbal on DeenPort wrote to Allied (Kingsmill) and got the following email back:
Response from Kingsmill/Allied Bakeries
Dear Mr Iqbal,
We thoroughly check all of our ingredients including enzymes, to ensure that they are vegetarian. The only product that we produce that is not suitable for vegetarians has been fortified with omega 3 derived from fish and is clearly labelled as ‘not suitable for vegetarians’.
We follow all relevant legislation and the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on labelling products as suitable for vegetarian.
Flour naturally has enzymes present and so does yeast. Sometimes we add additional amounts of enzymes to balance out those in the flour, as this gives a more controlled and consistent dough. Any enzymes we use are suitable for vegetarians.
We hope this information clarifies the situation.
If anyone else gets any responses from other bakeries, please email me: masud [at] masud.co.uk and I’ll include them here.