The Jewish word for truth is "emes" (pronounced em ess). Truth is the issue for the Seventh-day Adventist ABC Stores that have removed Emes Kosher-Jel from their shelves because they feel the company has not been honest about the ingredients in this product. For years Emes Kosher-Jel has been marketed as a vegetarian alternative to standard gelatin that is derived from animal ingredients. (See our gelatin story at http://www.vegparadise.comnews39.html
The ingredient label for Emes Kosher-Jel lists carageenan, locust bean gum, and maltodextrin. The package indicates "Plain Parave Gelatin" that is "Unflavored - Unsweetened" Also included is the statement, "Contains no meat, no dairy products." For those who are kosher "pareve or parve" means no meat or dairy products, although it may include eggs.
Although the package says the gelatin is kosher, there is no indication of the organization that has certified the product as kosher.
None of the three items in the product contain any protein. Yet, when the product was analyzed in a laboratory, it was found to contain protein.
As far back as March 1997 Professor Ken Burke of the School of Allied Health Professions Nutrition and Dietetics at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California, began his investigation of Emes Kosher-Jel. Dr. Burke concluded that "Emes Kosher-Jel reacts like gelatin and not like products made with carageenan and/or locust bean gum."
He shared his findings with the Loma Linda Market that pulled the product from its shelves six years ago and has not sold it since.
Dr. Burke spelled out the differences between vegetable gums and gelatin as gelling agents. In boiling water, gelatin is clear while vegetable gum is cloudy. Gelatin requires refrigeration to set while vegetable gums will become firm at room temperature. When a gelatin product is stirred it liquefies and then resets. Vegetable gum products do not liquefy and do not reset. When tested, Emes Kosher Jel was clear in boiling water, required refrigeration to set, and liquefied when stirred, then reset .
One of the major differences between gelatin and vegetable gum is the reaction to fresh pineapple. Fresh pineapple prevents gelatin from setting but has no effect on vegetable gum's ability to set.
Dr. Burke pointed out that, "The action of fresh pineapple is due to its content of a protein-splitting enzyme, bromelin which is specific for collagen (from which gelatin is derived)."
As a follow-up Dr. Burke filed a complaint against Emes with the Federal Trade Commission, but the agency has taken no action against the company.
Dr. Burke is not the only one who has investigated Emes Kosher-Jel. Kay Hansen of the Emerald Valley Wellness Clinic in Creswell, Oregon, submitted a 16-oz. bag to the Krueger Food Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for analysis. Subjecting the sample to the Kjeldahl protein test, the laboratory concluded, "Based on the protein content and the results of the FCC identification tests, we conclude this product contains approximately 55% gelatin.
VIP contacted Emes and spoke to Ted Loomos, vice president of the company, who denied the information that his product contained gelatin. He said the lab tests were "fiction because the samples were too small." He believed that competitors were behind the efforts to damage his products' reputation.
Loomos assured VIP that his product was certified kosher and parve by Rabbi Leonard Bronstein of New York. VIP wondered why Emes, currently located at P.O. box 27, St. Charles, IL 60174, selected a rabbi in New York to certify its products.
Loomos faxed a copy of the "Certificate of Kashrut" to VIP indicating the following products were Kosher for Passover as of January 2005:
# For Passover
Soup Base with Potato Meal
VIP contacted Rabbi Bronstein who verified that he indeed had issued a kosher certification to the company. The rabbi has been associated with three generations of the family operating the business.
Loomos also provided VIP with a Certificate of Analysis of their products. The test involved 900 50-lb bags of Lot Number 1A3871. The report did not specify what was in those bags. The certificate had no indication of the name of the laboratory providing the information. The analysis yielded the following results:
PRODUCT NAME: EMES Kosher Products ORDER#:
*********END OF ORDER#: 81-7278 ***********
Samples tested represented the product as obtained by survey of all Emes products on hand. Four separate determinations were made by composite test methods.
RESULTS: All samples of Emes products tested were found to be free of all animal matter.
Quality Support Laboratory Manager
SECURED COMPUTER PREPARED DOCUMENT
Vegetarians in Paradise believes there is more to the Emes story that needs to be told, but with the information already available, vegetarians and vegans should not accept Emes Kosher-Jel as a bonafide product to be included in their diets. If the company has been untruthful, it should be exposed and even prosecuted.
VIP will follow up on this story and inform our readers about any further developments. Meanwhile, we have removed Emes from our list of Vegetarian Food Companies at http://www.vegparadise.com/foodmakers.html Those who want to create their own homemade vegan marshmallows should disregard our story at http://www.vegparadise.com/asknettie11.html because it contains Emes Kosher-Jel as one of the ingredients.