Hindus are seeking an official apology from Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman for the non-disclosure of beef in some of its products and an immediate product recall.
Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said in a statement yesterday it was shocking for Hindus to learn that some of the Unilever food products, which they had been eating for years, might contain beef. He said it was not explicitly mentioned under the ingredients listed on the boxes or packages.
“Gelatin is made from animal protein. It is used in some of our products to provide a lower fat, lower calorie product with a pleasing texture and consistency. The protein of animal origin is processed according to high standards of purity. It is so highly refined, that it is no longer considered a meat product by the US Department of Agriculture. We cannot guarantee if the gelatin is derived from beef or pork,” according to Zed.
He has pointed out that the consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hinduism. Cow is considered sacred and has long been venerated in their religion. The statement said it was a very serious issue for the devotees and is deemed offensive when they would come to know that they were unknowingly eating beef-laced food products.
“We’ve developed a clear and global approach to nutrition labelling, to help people make healthy food choices,” stated Zed.
He said it was difficult to comprehend why Unilever did not mention beef explicitly under the ingredients on the box or packaging when it was part of the product inside. Unilever brands include Knorr, Hellmann’s, Magnum, Blue Band, Becel/Flora and Best Foods. It includes also a product bearing the same name as Hindu deity “Rama”, which sells margarine, cheese, cooking fats and cream alternatives.