By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
Moe’s FAQ page presents some relevant information for its vegan guests (scrolling down to the last question under “Menu Inquiries” on this page): http://www.moes.com/faqs/
Q: I am a vegetarian/vegan. What are my menu options at Moe’s?
A: Do you like your tofu medium-rare or well done? Just kidding, but our commitment to vegetarians and vegans is no joke. We use only soybean oil and vegetable stock. Our organic tofu, beans, tortillas and rice are all vegan. Also there is no gelatin in the guacamole.
On the interactive nutrition page of Moe’s website, visitors select ingredients for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, stacks, burrito bowls, salads or breakfast offerings. The nutritional profile of their customized menu choice automatically populates in a template as they add components (such as tofu, black beans or guacamole). Increasing values in each nutrition category (for example: calories, grams of fat or protein) appear as guests add each component to their entrée: http://www.moes.com/food/nutrition/burritos/
Patrons may determine if there are animal allergens such as eggs or dairy in their menu preferences: http://www.moes.com/public/pdf/allergen.pdf
Moe’s general statement on potential cross-contamination of menu components also appears on the allergen page: http://www.moes.com/food/allergens
The VRG wished to learn more about the vegan menu options at Moe’s. We corresponded with Guest Relations Specialist Michael Corbett at Moe’s corporate office in March 2017. Here are our questions and Michael’s responses:
Q: Is your tofu prepared on a surface away from meat products?
A: Yes, it is cooked on a completely different grill than our meats and fish.
Q: Are your grilled vegetables prepared away from meat products?
A: Yes, they are cooked on a completely different grill than our meats and fish.
Q: Are your shells and/or chips fried in oil used to prepared animal products?
A: Our shells and chips are not prepared with the same oil or tools as our proteins. [VRG Note: Bolded and underlined “not” is Michael’s.]
Q: Do your tortillas contain any animal ingredients such as L-cysteine (which is usually animal-derived)?
A: No, they do not.
Q: Does your whole-grain tortilla contain honey?
A: Honey is not an ingredient in any of our products.
Q: Does your seasoned rice or beans (pinto and black) contain any animal-based flavors or fats?
A: No, they do not contain any animal-based flavors or fats.
Q: Is calcium stearate (which could be from animal fat) still an ingredient in Moe’s beans?
A: Yes, it is still an ingredient but it is not from animal fat.
Q: Which dressings and salsas contain only vegetable ingredients?
A: Moe’s Southwest vinaigrette, Hard Rock & Roll Sauce and all current salsas on the salsa bar are considered vegetarian friendly.
Q: When you call them “vegetarian friendly,” do you mean that the dressing, the sauce and the salsas are vegan (no animal ingredients at all; made only with all-vegetable ingredients)?
A: Our dressings, sauce, and salsas absolutely contain no animal ingredients.
Q: Is there any added sugar in the salsas, Southwest vinaigrette or in the Hard Rock and Roll Sauce?
A: Additionally, the dressings, sauces and salsas do not contain any added sugar.
Q: Which foods at Moe’s contain added sugar?
A: Moe’s desserts, rice, and beans contains added sugar.
Q: Do you know how your sugar’s been processed? Has it been filtered through cow bone char?
A: In the U.S., sugar companies use bone char derived from cows for this filtering and bleaching process. To make bone char, animal bones are heated at incredibly high temperatures and are reduced to carbon before being used in a refinery. The sugar does not actually contain bone char particles, but it does come into contact with them. “Refined sugar does not contain any bone particles and is therefore kosher certified. The bone char simply removes impurities from the sugar, but does not become a part of the sugar,” Caroline Pyevich reports in The Vegetarian Journal.
Q: Do you mean that the added sugar could have been filtered through cow bone char but you just don’t know for sure?
A: Any added sugar in our products has been filtered through bone char. This is the most common method used by sugar companies in the U.S.
Q: Your FAQ page states that there is no gelatin in Moe’s guacamole. Does it contain any animal flavors or added sugar?
A: No, it does not contain any animal flavors or added sugar.
Since complete ingredient statements of entrée components do not appear on Moe’s website, guests with any other ingredient questions should contact this restaurant chain directly.
A feature of Moe’s website that we have not found on the sites of other fast casual chains is their presentation of how to find a Moe’s location in the US. To see a clickable listing of all restaurants with additional information on special offers (such as Moe Monday or if kids eat free) and services (such as Wi-Fi or catering) available at each one, guests should visit and scroll down to “Find a Moe’s”: http://www.moes.com/site-map/
The contents of this posting, our website, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.
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