Is there something fishy about Fanta Orange? YES!
And not just Fanta Orange... Lilt Pineapple and Grapefruit all contain fish, as do the Diet versions of these products.
It all started when someone asked me if I had ever heard that dispensed Diet Coke contained animal fat to maintain the frothy head after serving. I immediately teelphoned Coca-Cola's U.K. customer careline on 0800 227711 and the lady who answered said,
'Oh no, that product is totally suitable for vegetarians!' Which prompted me to ask, 'Are any of your products not suitable for vegetarians?'
I was astonished by her reply, 'They're all fine for vegetarians, but some are not suitable for vegans because many vegans don't eat fish!'
Before pointing out to her that true vegetarian and vegan diets both totally exclude fish, I asked her which Coca-Cola products contained fish and more importantly, why? It was then that she listed Fanta Orange, Diet fanta Orange, Lilt Pineapple and Grapefruit, Diet Lilt Pineapple and Grapefruit, Kia-Ora Orange and Diet Kia-Ora Orange. She went on to explain that although it is not listed in Ingredients on the can, a fish derivative is used to stabilize the Beta-Carotene (E160), which is normally of itself of vegetable origin.
Maurice Hanssen writes in his book, E for Additives, published by Thorsons, 'An edible oil (e.g. peanut oil) has to be added [to the beta-carotene] immediately after extraction to stabilize the product.'
I doubted if this was correct and asked her to confirm it in writing. Her letter did confirm that the Beta-Carotene in certain Fanta and Lilt products contains 'Fish Gelatine' but does not mention Kia-Ora. more worrying perhaps is Coca-Cola's ignorance of what constitutes a vegetarian or vegan diet. In the same letter she says, 'Please find enclosed a list of the products of Coca-Cola of Great Britain that do NOT contain ingredients derived from mammals or poultry.
The letter from Coca-Cola confirms that all of their products comply with U.K. labelling requirements, which is a pretty good indication of just how pitifully inadequate British legislation on the labelling of food ingredients is, when anything can be passed off as flavouring or colouring, so long as it complies with U.K. food hygiene laws.
The list which also includes such well known brand names as Roses' Lime Cordial, Schweppes, Dr. Pepper and Canada Dry, actually only mentions 'mammal derivatives,' not poultry, but it does include all the products mentioned above as well as 77 others, any which we can infer may contain ingredients derived from crustacea (e.g. crabs or shrimps), molluscs (slugs, snails or oysters), insects, fish or reptiles, none of which normally feature in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
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Last updated 31 December 2004