What's gelatin made of?

Is gelatin still made with animal bones? Like when they put gelatin in children’s cereals, is that vegetarian/kosher?I guess it’s really a question of what is the least expensive if they are still using animal bones, right?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: True gelatin is protein-based and rendered from the skin, cartilage, bone, etc. of animals. Yes, it is still used. There are also gelling agents sometimes called vegetable gelatins, such as pectin, derived from plants, although these are carbohydrate-based and not chemically related to animal gelatins. Kosher gelatin just has to come from the right animals.

It’s not clear whether it’s more a cost issue (it may be) or just what works best as a gelling agent for a particular appliction. The labels on food should give some indication of the derivation (e.g., pectin, carrageenan, or agar indicates vegetable derivation). If it says “gelatin,” I’d assume that it’s animal-based.

18 thoughts on “What's gelatin made of?”

  1. The ingredients should be on the box. I’m sure that the animal protein that gelatin is made from comes from a variety of sources (i.e., you’re not going to find out if it’s from cows or pigs or whatever. “Pectin” comes from plants, perhaps seaweed, but I’m sure they use a variety of sources.

  2. Well, you need to look at the ingredients listed on the box, and I’m afraid there isn’t any better way to put it in “kid” language than the last sentence of my original reply. Based on the labeling, you could just say “animal products” or “plant products.” I’m sure they don’t use the exact same animal or plant source all the time. The compounds have been very highly processed, so it hardly matters where the molecules originally came from.

  3. Would people stop making gelatin becuse gelatin is made out of animal skin and some people don’t like eat animals. So would there be any time when people stop making gelatin out of animals skin.

  4. You’re always free to look at the labels and purchase products that use pectin or explicitly specify no animal products. If everyone did that, then no company would use animal-based gelatin.

  5. gosh how i cant eat skittles jello or any thing good!!!!!!!!!!! now that im a vegertarian plus the plant gelten is not commen to find

  6. what types of animals are used. Are pigs used am talking about their bones to produce gelatin.

  7. 7. Technically, you could make it out of people. Please don’t.
    8. Remember, too, that red food coloring (often listed as carmine) is made from the cochineal insect. Another thing for vegetarians to fret over.
    9. I think any animal that is industrially produced and slaughtered (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) are used. Remember that you’re just eating a chemical whose molecules were once part of the animal. If you eat a plant that was growing near where an animal died and decomposed on the ground, it would be about the same.

  8. Wait… so gelatin IS made of animals? And marshmallows too? That’s kinda scary. Are there any specific brands of either of these foods that DON’T use animals? How can you check?

  9. /who cares!!!!! if u eat chicken eggs turkey and blah it is the same thing it really doesnt matter it is the circle of life as long as its no bunnies dogs horses geckos or frogs because those r my pets.

  10. Hey, what percentage of gelatin is made of pigs ? I mean, how much of the food products sold on usual stores has porc molecules in it?

  11. ugh, im a vegetarian and i cant eat any of these things. i think if your a vegetarian, then you shouldn’t eat them.. but if your not, who cares.. if your eating bacon, hamburger, chicken, ect. then why not eat them ?
    and does anyone know of any brands of marshmello that don’t have gelatin in it ?

  12. can you tell me what gelatin made of you’re not going to find out if it’s from cows or pigs.

  13. 12.-17. Answer Person covered all this ground pretty thoroughly in the original answer and in comments 2, 4, and 6. As I said, “The compounds have been very highly processed, so it hardly matters where the molecules originally came from,” and I doubt whether there would be allergy problems relating to animals. You can ask a chemist about such things, or whether any meat-related compounds will clog your arteries. I don’t think you need to avoid gelatin if you’re worried about health problems with meat, but if you want to avoid products that ultimately derive from animals then you might want to look for “pectin” rather than “gelatin.”

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