There is nothing more frustrating than turning something simple into something unnecessarily complicated. This applies to all aspects of life but has been particularly evident to me lately when seeking out vegan eats.
The boy and I went to Pita Pit the other night specifically because we knew there were vegan pitas. When reviewing the menu I noticed the Hummus and Baba Ghanoush pitas were listed as “vegan” specifically, and the Falafel was not. Knowing falafel does not have meat, dairy or eggs in the ingredients I had to ask why. The cashier told me it wasn’t “because of the bread”. I figured she meant there were bread crumbs in the falafel or something. Nope. She confirmed the bread to mean the pita and said it contained eggs. I was floored! “So the other two pitas aren’t really vegan then”, I said. She shook her head no and said “Some vegans eat that stuff”… Not even standing yet and floored again.
OK, ok I know some vegans are ok with the “processed in a facility that also processes…” and the “may contain traces of…”, but no vegan eats dairy or eggs. Come ON!
Immediately I haul out my iPhone and begin my research. Wait… first I order a terribly bland salad that I didn’t even have hummus on because I didn’t realize until the end that it costs 99 cents! OK Pita Pit… you’re on my last nerve!
So I sit down with my terrible salad and to the allergen info I go… my findings below:
The pitas may contain traces of milk because they are processed in a facility that also produces these things. You can find this warning on almost ALL bread unless you purchase specialty or allergy friendly brands. Milk and eggs are not ingredients used directly in pita bread but you should always read the ingredients list. Some companies use them as unnecessary fillers….
So now I believe the large light up menu stating the hummus and baba ghanoush pitas are vegan. Phew. That would have been seriously messed up. But what is the difference with the falafel?!
It says the same thing! “Manufactured in a facility that also processes egg”. It doesn’t even say “may contain…” So according the this document and the menu listing, hummus and baba ghanous pitas are technically safe. So what is it about the falafel? All I can think is that it must be deep fried in the same fryer as meat. I am going to call the company and get a straight answer but I was pretty upset that the cashier was so ill-informed. She basically tried to tell me that the menu signs were blatantly lying… is that not crazy to anyone else
My conclusions summarized:
1. Eggs is not even listed in the “may contain” section of the allergen info for pitas (which cashier said it contained).
2. Neither eggs nor milk is listed in the “may contain” section of the falafel (though menu says not vegan).
3. Hummus and Baba Ghanoush are not listed as being processed in a facility that also processes milk and/or eggs BUT the pitas are…
What if I was deathly allergic? What if it was against my religion to consume dairy and/or eggs? What if I am just a strong believer in veganism?! Which I am…..
I will return to Pita Pit after this mishap (for hummus or baba ghanoush pitas only) but I will most definitely be calling the company to confirm the situation with the falafel. As a new vegan, I am OK with eating foods processed in facilities that process milk and eggs (i.e. any restaurant that is not vegan-only). I am also OK with “may contain traces of” since that is due to the processing facility and not direct ingredients. I would never eat something that had these foods in the ingredients list but I don’t believe that extreme measures are going to help my cause. It will only make my friends and family extremely annoyed and us and us vegans have to know we aren’t perfect!
Since more than 70% of all grain, soybeans and other crops are fed to farmed animals, not to humans, there is a lot more tiller death in chicken, turkey, pork and beff than in plant foods, but the point should still give vegetarians a bit of humility – Kathy Freston as quoted in Crazy, Sexy, Diet – Kris Carr.
I hope that this post will help other vegans-in-the-making when making food choices. It doesn’t just apply here either. Did you know Diana Sauce contains anchovies?! I will be sure to post again after speaking with someone from Pita Pit.
Keep on Vegan-On 😉