Whether you decide not to consume animal products because of moral, ethical or religious beliefs you will find out that it doesn’t come down to avoiding burgers. Scanning through labels and ingredient lists becomes part of everyday life for you It makes you aware of all the things that enter your body. Sometimes, you even have to check the gum you chew. If You, like us, never thought that chewing gym can have animal origin read on.
What better way to entertain that oral fixation than by chewing gum. A symbol of sexiness and social rebellion in the 80’s and 90’s, chewing a gum combined with the right attitude was a strong signal that you are someone not to be messed with.
Change in the process of producing chewing gum
For the better part of the 20th century, chewing gum was made from Chicle, a tree that grows in the Amazon forest. As popularity grew, faster and more reliable methods of production needed to be established. This led to the search of new ingredients to make the chewing gum.
Glycerin is a byproduct of making soap. It proved perfect to replace the Chicle and it was readily available in huge quantities. Now, there are two types of fat that you can use to produce the glycerin. Just as the soap we use, the glycerin can be a derivative from animal or plant fat. Next time when you pick up a pack of chewing gum, quickly scan through the ingredients. Glycerin in a combination with Capric Acid, Stearic Acid or Lanolin most definitely points to animal origin. Could it really be that one of the chewing gum ingredients is pig?
If you don’t see any other ingredients from the list other than glycerin, try and search for a green or red circle on the pack. The green circle would indicate plant and the red circle animal origin. The problem is, as most of the manufacturers have turned away from animal-based fat, the producing companies stopped using the circle symbols.
Is one of the chewing gum ingredients pig?
Now, according to Wrigley’s website (biggest chewing gum producer in the US), all of their products are made to best meet local quality standards in each country. The only worrying thing is that there are some discrepancies in their FAQ’s on different localized websites. On all of their websites the most of the products (except from Skittles which are made from gelatin from the bones of pigs/cattle) are claimed to be of non-animal origin. The only exception is the Israeli Wrigley’s website. In Judaism, Kosher (a type of diet) forbids consumption of pork and seafood excluding fish. The question “Is this chewing gum kosher?” on the website is followed by the answer that while the chewing gum sold in Israel is certified Kosher, they cannot guarantee that any other one is. This is their way isolating themselves of any mistakes in the production process.
So, if you truly want to be sure that the chewing gum you are using, whatever the brand is made from non-animal fat, be sure to first check the ingredient list and if you are still unsure, visit their website or contact them. Feel free to check out our short video on the subject below.