Posted by: Peter Scott | January 1, 2006

First rant of the year

Both of my daughters are vegetarians. As a family we have grown used to reading ingredient lists on packaged food for those hidden morsels of meat products. In the UK a lot of sweet products use gelatine as a gelling agent. The kids know to avoid marshmallows and gummy sweets but we still read labels on the packaging. This leads me to my first rant of the year, marshmallow cakes. OK, we expect that they contain gelatine and are not suitable for vegetarians but to list suilline gelatine as an ingredient is just wrong; Suilline is an uncommon word in England, indeed it is not even in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Few people these days would know the Latin for hog and make the connection that the cake-makers meant pig gelatine (suede has a similar root). True, the word pig on a cake pack may not have a positive image of yumminess; but when significant faith groups in the population find the idea of eating pig products unclean I have a thing about the compassion of food makers.
And while I am at it; what is about cosmetic companies that insist of hiding common ingredients by use of Latin – I would guess that my shower gel with ‘sea minerals’ was mostly water with added sea-salt but to list aqua and sal pushes things a bit too far!

Rant over



  1. E441. Now thats more greek to me than actual latin names being greek to normal consumers 🙂

    The E numbers look more scary than latin names of normal food additives.

  2. See? This is where knowing a few latin-based languages besides English comes in useful: “aqua” and “sal” are totally obvious to me, so is “suilline”. Now, if only I could say the same about data warehouse techniques!…

    Happy New Year!–>

  3. Thankyou very much for this article as i have understood what suilline is now. Somehow those jaffa-cakes with marshmallow dont seem as tempting as before. Thanks again!

  4. hi, i just got given some jaffacake marshmallows and looked at the ingreients, did a search and your blog appeared, a big thankyou, i thought marks and spencer marshmallow teacakes were rotten enough listing beef gelatine and now we even have pig gelatine yuk! i’ve been veggie for some 30 odd years and still crave sweet junkfood ocasionally, any suggestions?

  5. Jeff – sadly far too many sweets contain gelatine to give a degree of gumminess – there are some seaweed (agar) sweets around, but not marshmallows – my daughter says that you can get veggie marshmallows from the us – and there may even be a web based importer in the UK (or I think there is but as I have never used it I won’t endorse it)

  6. does all gelatine have pig bones? cause im not allowed to go close pigs at all…

  7. @sib

    No, some gelatine is beef (cow), some is chicken. The real problem is where the food label just says ‘Gelatine’ and you can’t tell which animal source is used, or in medicines where capsules use a gelling agent in the formulation and there are no alternatives available

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: