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KFC, Taco Bell & Pizza Hut launch New Palm Oil Policy 0

Posted on April 07, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

Yum! Brands’ New Palm Oil Policy

Greenpeace welcomes Yum! Brands new palm oil procurement policy. Yum! Brands includes KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut under their umbrella. Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA responded with the following statement:

“Yum! Brands’ new palm oil policy is a good sign it’s listening to customers around the world who want rainforest destruction taken off the menu.” said Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA. “Yum!’s announcement moves the company closer to being deforestation-free, but there’s still room for improvement. Yum! needs to more clearly define terms like ‘high carbon stock forest’ and ‘best management practices’ for peatlands in order to make sure change really happens on the ground.”

“Fast food companies have multiple high-risk commodities like soy, beef and paper in their supply chains. When it comes to social conflict and deforestation, Greenpeace wants to see Yum! Brands and the whole fast food industry address these issues in a comprehensive way–or risk their brands, reputations and bottom lines. In the absence of clear commitments to prevent forest destruction, companies like Burger King and Subway are falling further behind and should work quickly to develop standards for the global commodities they buy.”

Yum! Brands palm oil sourcing policy:

Pizza Hut Australia 1

Posted on May 09, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A reader living in Australia wrote us to find out information about the ingredients in the food at Pizza Hut. She inquired at her local restaurant but was told it may take some time to get answers.

The VRG sent an email to Pizza Hut Australia and received a speedy reply from a Pizza Hut food technologist. She told us the following “regarding rennet in the cheeses used at Pizza Hut Australia.”

“…[I]t is important to note that not all of our cheeses are vegetarian.

The mozzarella cheese we use on all our pizzas, (including our standard, 11-inch large pizzas [in the] Legends range), contains non-animal rennet and so is classified as a vegetarian cheese. This includes the mozzarella cheese which we use to stuff the crust of Stuffed Crust Pizzas.

We also have cheddar (or Tasty) cheese available in stores and this is made with animal- derived rennet and so is NOT a vegetarian cheese. On our permanent menu, cheddar is used in Cheese Pizza and also in the whole Mia (9-inch) Pizza range. Cheddar is also used in promotional pizzas or side items from time to time. Examples of promotional products include Big Dippers, Dipsticks, and Cheesy Bites Pizza.

Note that the whole Mia Pizza range (9-inch) contains both mozzarella and cheddar (or Tasty) cheese and because the cheddar cheese contains animal-derived rennet it is not vegetarian.

We also add feta to various pizzas and the feta cheese contains non-animal rennet and so like the mozzarella is vegetarian.

It’s also important to be aware that Pizza Hut does not guarantee that all Veggie Pizzas are “vegetarian” because of the way our pizzas are made. Pizzas are topped from ingredients stored in pots in a refrigerated bench (make-table) using topping cups. Pizza Hut also prepares a large volume of Meat Lovers Pizza on site which include many different types of ham, bacon bits, bacon rashers, meatballs, chorizo sausage and chicken, all of which are meat products and all of which are prepared on the same make table; are cooked on the same pans in the same oven; and are also cut using the same board and knife as the vegetarian pizzas.

So with that in mind, cross contamination of meats with veggies is a definite reality, especially given that the same topping cups are used for both.

We have Veggie Pizzas on our menu and every effort is made to ensure that no meat lands on these (and any other) vegetable-only pizzas, however it cannot be guaranteed. Because of the above, we cannot offer strictly vegetarian items.

Please be advised that Pizza Hut does change product formulations from time to time. [T]herefore, the information above should be checked on a regular basis.”

In a follow-up email, The VRG asked if the “non-animal rennet” used by Pizza Hut Australia was genetically modified Chymax™. (This form of rennet is replicated today in microorganisms although originally it was derived from genetic material extracted long ago from a young ruminant’s (i.e., calf’s or kid’s) stomach.)

In response, we were told that “[o]ur suppliers specify either “animal derived” or “non-animal derived” rennet in our cheeses. I do not have access to further details about the precise rennet used in their manufacture process.”

Readers may like to compare the information presented here from Pizza Hut Australia with that collected in June 2010 from Pizza Hut USA:

For updates on Pizza Hut and other quick service chains, check our blog regularly or subscribe to our free enewsletter at

To support VRG research, you can donate here:

The contents of this website and our other publications, including The 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 judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

All Pizza Hut Cheeses Made with Chymax™, a Microbial Rennet 11

Posted on June 02, 2010 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

In February 2010, a reader asked us about the ingredients contained in The Natural™ pizza line at Pizza Hut. This line was first introduced in 2008 in test markets and then became nationwide in 2009. A purchasing manager at Pizza Hut told us that The Natural™ pizza line was discontinued from the national menu although it may still be available at certain Pizza Hut restaurants. Those that may carry it are franchises, not corporate-owned restaurants.

While inquiring into The Natural™ pizza line, we asked customer service representatives for an update on ingredient sources, especially since the Pizza Hut Ingredient Statement is no longer available on its website. The last information we received from Pizza Hut was in May 2007, when we were told by a Quality Assurance Specialist at the Dallas Pizza Hut headquarters that Pizza Hut cheeses were made with a non-animal enzyme.

We spoke with several people on the toll-free consumer line throughout February 2010 and received contradictory information. One time in mid-February, a representative told us that animal rennet was used to make the cheese.

The VRG found this information dubious considering what we were told in 2007 by Pizza Hut. Furthermore, we were told by several major enzyme manufacturers in 2008 that microbial rennet accounted for 80-95% of all enzymes used in cheese making in the United States. Thus we continued to research the question.

In May 2010, The VRG received confirmation through a source in management at the Pizza Hut corporate level, who had in turn been told in writing by the only supplier of all six varieties of its cheeses, that the enzyme used to make its cheese was microbial. Chymax™ is the brand name of the microbial fermentation product used to curdle the milk during cheese production. Our contact told us that his search lasted three months and led him to contact many companies along the supply chain, starting with the six from which Pizza Hut purchases its six cheese types, until he finally got to the cheese maker itself. He told The VRG that both corporate and franchised Pizza Hut restaurants must use companies chosen from an approved list of suppliers.

To cross-confirm what our Pizza Hut contact told us, The VRG contacted the senior product development specialist that sent the letter to our Pizza Hut contact. She confirmed that only Chymax™ is used to make its cheeses. She also stated that her company provides cheese to "the big three" quick-service chains in the United States as well as many other major restaurant chains. The company also sells its cheese to many major food service providers and food distributors, some of whom re-label the cheese using their own name.

Note: There is a specially-blended mix of Parmesan cheese and spices automatically sprinkled on all pizzas in Pizza Hut kitchens. Customers may request that it (known as "fairy dust" by staff) be left off.

Microbial Rennets and Fermentation Produced Chymosin (FPC): How Vegetarian Are They? 13

Posted on August 21, 2012 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director


In 2007, The VRG learned from an employee at Danisco, a major enzyme manufacturer, that fermentation produced chymosin (FPC) responsible for curdling milk used in making cheese, originated from a calf gene. (Chymosin is the primary enzyme in rennet responsible for curdling.) He told us: “Ultimately, maybe twenty-five years ago, the gene used to make microbial chymosin is from calf rennet. It has been genetically modified so it is a GMO product [strictly speaking].” In 2007, The VRG was told by several cheese companies and enzyme makers that approximately 70% of all cheese in the United States was produced with FPC.

In this update, The VRG more closely examines FPC, which is often referred to on labels as “microbial rennet.” In the process, we will discuss the role of bioengineering, such as recombinant DNA technology, in enzyme production commercially practiced today. Labeling issues arise and a comparison with the European Union will be discussed.


As we wrote in a 2008 article on rennet, there are four major types of rennet: calf rennet, microbial rennet, FPC, and vegetable rennet. In 2012, best estimates from enzyme companies and dairy groups attribute 90% of all commercial cheese production in the United States to FPC.

Before we get too far ahead, it’s helpful to keep in mind the role of chymosin/rennet in cheese manufacture. Enzymes used to coagulate milk in cheese production (disregarding other enzymes known as lipases which may be added to some cheeses for flavor and which are usually derived from animals even today although this is changing), whether a single type (chymosin) or a mixture, are used in very small quantities (e.g., approximately one ounce per one hundred gallons of milk), and later largely removed from the final cheese product. Approximately 90-95% of the small quantity remains in the whey produced during cheese manufacture. This whey, considered a byproduct of cheese production, is often added to many other food products today, especially packaged foods.

When calf rennet became scarce and unreliably available in the 1960s and 70s as the veal industry was declining due to the animal rights movement but demand for cheese increased, calf rennet became very expensive. Companies looked for a “rennet substitute.” Recombinant DNA technologies involving microbes were becoming popular and companies turned to it in the 1980s.

Companies were encouraged to do so when the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 1980 ruled that new life forms can be patented.,21&as_vis=1
This landmark case overturned a Patents and Trademark Office denial of the patent for a genetically engineered microbe.

In 1990, in another precedent-setting decision by a U.S. government office, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of FPC in food. It was the first time a bioengineered product was permitted in food in the U.S. Insulin, manufactured in a similar fashion, was approved by FDA eight years earlier as a drug. Read about it here:

Pfizer is credited with perfecting the technique in which genetic material (ribonucleic acid, or RNA) coding for chymosin is removed from an animal source and inserted via plasmids into microbial DNA (bacteria E. coli K-12) in a process known as gene splicing (a type of recombinant DNA technology). Through fermentation the microbes possessing the bovine genetic material produce bovine chymosin which is later isolated and purified in quantities much greater than those in calf rennet or in non-animal recombinant DNA microbial rennets. Since the original Federal Register article announcing bioengineered chymosin’s approval is no longer available online because it is so dated, (but may be purchased by calling or ordering offline), those interested may read about the FDA approval here:

What is significant about the FDA approval is that bioengineered chymosin was granted Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status. This meant that Pfizer was exempt from the preapproval requirements that apply to new food additives. Pfizer demonstrated what is often referred to as “substantial equivalence.” FDA concluded that bioengineered chymosin was substantially equivalent to calf rennet and needed neither special labeling nor indication of its source or method of production.

As J. H. Maryanski, Strategic Manager for Biotechnology, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, explained in an article titled “FDA’s Policy for Foods Developed by Biotechnology,” Pfizer showed “…the introduced chymosin gene encoded a protein that had the same structure and function as animal-derived chymosin; the manufacturing process removes most impurities; the production microorganisms are destroyed or removed during processing and are non-toxigenic and non-pathogenic; and any antibiotic-resistance marker genes (e.g., ampicillin) are destroyed in the manufacturing process.” In effect, the FDA extended calf rennet’s GRAS status to the bioengineered chymosin product. A few years later, FDA extended GRAS status to two other forms of bioengineered chymosin: that produced from Kluyveromyces marxianus var. lactis and Aspergillus niger var. awamori. In none of these approvals was FDA concerned with the process used to generate the chymosin.

View Pfizer’s patent application here: Scrolling midway down the page, under the paragraph headed “Preparation of RNA and Cloning of cDNA,” readers may note the first line which reads in part: “Total RNA from animal pituitaries was obtained from a local slaughterhouse…”

The writer points out this sentence because in an email exchange in 2012, an industry group described this first production of chymosin from E. coli as “synthetic.” The Pfizer application description for bioengineered chymosin begins with a natural (i.e., animal organ) source.

This interpretation and use of “synthetic” in how the recombinant process began in chymosin production also occurs in other places. For example, a 1993 International Dairy Journal article titled “Enzymes in Cheese Technology,” by P.F. Fox and L. Stepaniak article states:

“There would appear to be no reason why the rennet substitute saga should not be closed – an unlimited supply of high-quality rennet is now available. However, there is opposition from certain quarters to the use of chymosins from genetically engineered microorganisms. Microbial chymosin should be acceptable for the manufacture of ‘vegetarian’ cheese. However, the gene cloned in K. Lactis was isolated from calf gastric tissue and is, apparently, not acceptable to some vegetarians. As the gene cloned in E. coli was synthesized, this chymosin should be acceptable to vegetarians.”

Today, Chr. Hansen, the makers of bioengineered FPC Chy-Max®, uses the fungus Aspergillus niger. An employee of the company told The VRG in 2012 that “a calf gene was used” initially.

According to product data sheets, DSM makes its bioengineered FPC, Maxiren®, using the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis. DSM did not reply to our inquiries about use of a calf gene. According to the International Dairy Journal article cited above, it appears that a calf gene was also used initially to produce Maxiren®.

FPC, often labeled as “microbial rennet” or “vegetable rennet,” and described in product literature as “vegetarian,” is believed by those in the cheese industry to yield high-quality and good-tasting cheese indistinguishable from that produced through the use of calf rennet.

FPC does not, according to many in the cheese industry, yield sometimes bitter-tasting cheese which non-animal “microbial rennet” may yield especially if the cheese is aged for too long of a time. For these microbial rennets, in which a fermentation process is involved like the case of FPC production, the chymosin-like enzymes called acid proteinases are native to the microbes (fungi Rhizomucor miehei, R. pusillus and Endothia parasitica). According to an article published in 1996 in the journal Antonie van Leeuwenhoek titled “Acceleration of Cheese Ripening” by P.F. Fox et. al.: “The gene for the acid proteinase of R. miehei has also been cloned and expressed in A. oryzae, and the product is commercially available (Marzyme®…).” (A. oryzae is a fungus.)

Marzyme® manufactured by Danisco-DuPont is a non-animal microbial rennet that is commercially available today. A senior level employee at Danisco/DuPont told The VRG that “In consultation with our business unit leader, I can report the following: Animal genes were not ever used in the production of Marzyme®. It is a protease of microbial origin. No bovine genes or enzymes were used to develop Marzyme® or to produce Marzyme®.” (Specific details on the process, specifically if any non-animal genetic recombination of any type was done, are not available. A product data sheet on Marzyme™ Supreme specifies R. Miehei only.) A cheese supply company told The VRG that Marzyme® is less expensive that FPC. For example, in 2011, a five-gallon container of Marzyme® sells for approximately $312 while the same quantity of a FPC costs approximately one hundred dollars more.

Other microbial rennets which do not appear to have been produced through recombinant animal gene technology include Hannilase® by Chr. Hansen. R. miehei is used to produce Hannilase®. DSM produces Fromase® from R. miehei which is listed both as non-GMO and vegetarian. DSM also produces Suparen/Surecurd® derived from the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica and described as vegetarian in product literature.

More on FPC Terminology

The writer observed while working on this update that companies manufacturing bioengineered FPC produced originally through animal gene splicing use the phrase “microbial rennet” to describe their product. They refer to them as “acceptable to vegetarians.” They also use “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” to describe their products.

Likewise, companies producing microbial rennet that had not involved animal gene splicing use the same terms to describe their products. Some vegetarians may wish to know more information about the source of the “microbial” or “non-GMO” rennet in the cheese they wish to consume.

As of June 2012, FDA has not established a legal definition for what is “GMO” or “non-GMO.” Nor are there any mandatory rules for labeling products manufactured by genetic techniques or containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or their products. In the United States, there are voluntary guideline documents intended to assist companies with manufacturing and labeling issues involving GMOs. See the most recent one here:

In this document, FDA acknowledges concerns that people may have about bioengineered foods. However, except for a few cases listed in the document, (and bioengineered products such as FPC considered GRAS are notably not included), FDA does not see the need at this time to require labeling because, in most cases, the agency sees no threat to human health or public safety. Here is an excerpt:

“Most of the comments [to us] that addressed labeling requested mandatory disclosure of the fact that the food or its ingredients was bioengineered or was produced from bioengineered food. However, these comments did not provide data or other information regarding consequences to consumers from eating the foods or any other basis for FDA to find under section 201(n) of the act that such a disclosure was a material fact. Many of the comments expressed concern about possible long term consequences from consuming bioengineered foods, but they did not contend that any of the bioengineered foods already on the market have adverse health effects…The agency is still not aware of any data or other information that would form a basis for concluding that the fact that a food or its ingredients was produced using bioengineering is a material fact that must be disclosed under sections 403(a) and 201(n) of the act. FDA is therefore reaffirming its decision to not require special labeling of all bioengineered foods.”

By contrast, explicit definition and regulation about GMOs and products derived from them (such as FPC) have existed in the European Union (EU) since the 1990s. The regulations are very detailed and very extensive. GMOs that fall under the EU regulations include:

  • GMOs by themselves;
  • food and feed containing GMOs;
  • food and feed produced from or containing ingredients produced from GMOs.

The most recent EU document can be viewed here:

In our review of FPC produced by European companies who adhere to these guidelines and refer to their FPC products as “non-GMO,” it appears that FPC is exempt from labeling requirements. The process by which FPC is produced is included in the EU’s regulations as a GMO technique, so it may initially appear to some that FPC is a GMO product and subject to labeling.

(A partial list of those techniques in Annex IA is reprinted here and accessed

“Recombinant nucleic acid techniques involving the formation of new combinations
of genetic material by the insertion of nucleic acid molecules produced by whatever means outside an organism, into any virus, bacterial plasmid or other vector system and their incorporation into a host organism in which they do not naturally occur but in which they are capable of continued propagation…”)

FPC, it appears, is not considered “GMO” and subject to labeling requirements because it appears in foods as “a trace” below the 0.9% threshold which requires labeling and may be “technically unavoidable” to remove as demonstrated by the manufacturers requesting exemption. Companies manufacturing FPC label it “non-GMO.” Article 4 Part C on exemptions to labeling appears in this document:

However, a European group known as GMO Compass refers to chymosin produced through gene technology as “GM” (genetically modified) and contrasts it with “microbial rennet substitutes which are derived from non-GM microorganisms.” GMO Compass states that chymosin produced through genetic technology is used to make European cheese (except in France and Austria). Presently, it does not have to be labeled at all.

The VRG wrote to the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (AMFEP) based in Belgium in April 2012 about chymosin. Here is their response to our question: Is there a microbial rennet which has not been originally developed from a calf gene?

“‘Microbial rennet’ is the term commonly used for all milk coagulating enzymes from microorganisms, especially enzymes which are native to certain microorganisms, not a result of genetic modification. Protease from Rhizomucor miehei or Cryphonectria parasitica are examples and they are suitable, for example, for vegetarian cheese.

Chymosin, the classical animal-derived milk coagulant found in rennet, is also produced by means of microorganisms, e.g., genetically modified strains of Aspergillus niger. The chymosin gene inserted in the organism is in fact synthesized, not extracted from the animal…”

Wondering if AMFEP knew of a “synthetic” chymosin derived from non-living substances with no animal gene splicing ever involved, The VRG asked this group for further clarification in April 2012. As of this writing in June 2012, no response from AMFEP has been received. Given the organism cited by AMFEP to produce a “synthetic” chymosin, the writer wonders if the bioengineered Chy-Max® manufactured from A. niger is here described as “synthetic” by AMFEP. (The VRG was told by a Chr. Hansen employee that their FPC Chy-Max® was based on a calf gene initially.)

In recent telephone conversations and email exchanges with several enzyme companies, cheese companies, dairy groups, nonprofits, and FDA, the writer observed that there is no standard use of the terms “GMO product” or “non-GMO product.” An FDA employee wrote to us in July 2011: “It is not true that enzyme-modified cheeses…contain GMOs… Microbial rennet is chemically identical to that derived from calf stomach. The organisms modified to produce microbial rennet would be considered GMOs, but that’s where the GMO issue begins and ends.” The FDA employee declined to give further clarification on her statement when we asked.

Similarly, an employee of a major enzyme manufacturer, after he said that calf genetic material was removed and added to microbial genetic material, told The VRG in March of 2012 that “the resulting enzyme is non-GMO.”

The assertion that chymosin is non-GMO is not accurate according to some as we’ve seen (GMO Compass). The Non-GMO Project based in the United States, a nonprofit that certifies food products as non-GMO, maintains this position as well. The group told The VRG that chymosin is a “high-risk ingredient.” Listed in their Standards in Appendix A, Variance 4a, chymosin is “…one of the things we specifically wanted to make sure was NOT allowed through” [in a product that we declare to be non-GMO.] (emphasis added by the Non-GMO Project)

The Non-GMO Project told us that “If a cheese has our seal on it, the consumer can be assured that it does not have [bioengineered] chymosin.” The Introduction to their standards contains this group’s definitions of “GM” (1.3.3), “GMO” (1.3.4), and “non-GMO” (1.3.7) and are reprinted here:

GM: Genetically Modified or Genetic Modification—A term referring to products or processes employing gene splicing, gene modification, recombinant DNA technology, or transgenic technology, and referring to products of the gene-splicing process, either as inputs or as process elements.

GMO: A plant, animal, microorganism, or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods, also called gene splicing, gene modification, or transgenic technology…

Non-GMO: A plant, animal, or other organism or derivative of such an organism whose genetic structure has not been altered by gene splicing. A process or product that does not employ GM processes or inputs…”

Current FPC Use and Labeling in the United States

The VRG looked again in May 2012 at FPC used in the United States and learned from cheese companies, enzyme makers, and dairy groups who agreed that today approximately “90%” of all cheese made in the United States is made with FPC. Product data sheets or product literature on two major FPC products, Chy-Max® (manufactured by Chr. Hansen) and Maxiren® (manufactured by DSM), state that FPC is “vegetarian” and “non-GMO.”

These are several different types of Chy-Max®: Chy-Max® Plus, Extra, Ultra, and Special. The first three in the list are 100% chymosin. Chy-Max® Special is 80% chymosin and 20% bovine pepsin (another type of enzyme). According to the product data sheet on Chy-Max® Extra, it is “acceptable for the production of vegetarian cheeses.”

The newest addition to the Chy-Max® line of product is Chy-Max M®, developed using a camel gene. It is considered a second generation FPC, described by the company as coagulating milk five times faster than first generation FPCs and 25 times faster than microbial rennets developed from R. Miehei. The company calls this FPC “suitable for vegetarians.” As reported in FoodNavigator, Chy-Max M® increases cheese yield per quantity of milk and produces a better-tasting cheese with a prolonged shelf-life.

An announcement in the Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 92 stated that “…chymosin from Camelus dromedarius (CC) has been obtained through heterologous expression in Aspergillus niger and is now commercially available as Chy-Max M® from Chr. Hansen.” It has GRAS status in the US. Information on the precise method by which the camel gene was obtained is not available although a patent application states that “extracts of camel abomasum (camel rennet comprising chymosin and pepsin) have been used to coagulate cow’s milk.” (“Abomasum” refers to the fourth stomach of a ruminant.)

Chr. Hansen sent us a non-GMO statement for its Chy-Max®. The company uses European Union regulations (see above) regarding genetic modification. According to Chr. Hansen, “Legislation in the European Union states that a final food product must be labeled if it is a GMO itself, if it contains GMOs, or if it contains ingredients derived from GMOs.”

The company concludes that “Chy-Max® Extra does not contain GMOs and does not contain GM labeled raw materials…The use of Chy-Max® Extra does not trigger a GM labeling of the final food product.” Chr. Hansen’s position on GMO can be found on: us/Policies and positions/Quality and product safety.

Chy-Max cannot be used in USDA Organic Cheese. According to a company statement, Chr. Hansen states:

“The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 required the USDA to develop the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP sets national standards for organically produced products. The NOP assures consumers that agricultural products labeled as organic meet consistent standards. The NOP regulation 7CFR205.105 lists allowed
and prohibited methods, substances and ingredients for use in organic production and handling.

As such, the Chr-Hansen, Inc. product, Chy-Max®, does not meet these requirements and cannot be used as an ingredient in or on processed products to be labeled as ‘100% Organic,’ ‘Organic,’ or ‘Made with Organic (specified ingredients).’”

DSM produces a FPC called Maxiren®. DSM has not responded to our inquiries as of this writing. A German company which carries DSM products told The VRG in writing that “DSM confirms that Maxiren®®is a non-GMO product.” Maxiren® 600 KPO is made from Kluyveromyces lactis. Maxiren® Premium is made from “Kluyveromyces lactis mixed with a carboxypeptidase derived from a selected strain of Aspergillus niger. DSM product brochures describe Maxiren® as “vegetarian friendly.”

What Does FPC Mean for Cheese-Eating Vegetarians?

To the best of our knowledge and according to our observations, ingredient labels do not distinguish between FPC “microbial rennet” and the “microbial rennet” composed of an enzyme/enzyme mix produced without any gene technology or with non-animal recombinant gene technology. Likewise, “vegetable rennet” and “vegetarian rennet” may also mean that either FPC or a “naturally” derived microbial enzyme/mix was used. Any type of “microbial rennet” could be called “natural,” too. (Recall that FDA has not, as of June 2012, legally defined use of the term “natural.”)

When we asked cheese companies and restaurants about their “microbial rennet” we were told in all cases that the source of the “microbial rennet” was non-animal. Given that 90% of all US cheese is made with FPC according to several industry sources, the writer must conclude that most companies and restaurants are not aware of the animal gene splicing involved in FPC manufacture and/or consider FPC “vegetarian acceptable” as FPC product data sheets from the manufacturers state it is. Some vegetarians may agree that FPC is vegetarian while others may not.

We’ve also learned from doing this update that it must not be assumed that “non-GMO” chymosin implies “vegetarian.” Vegetarians should note that, according to several industry sources, 90% of all US cheese is made with FPC, a product of animal gene splicing, and it as well as the cheese produced by it are considered “non-GMO” by the companies that manufacture it. Some vegetarians may agree that “non-GMO” FPC is vegetarian while others may not.

According to the writer’s knowledge, FPC is not permitted in USDA Organic Cheese. There was a petition to allow the “bio-engineered form” of chymosin to be added to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (in products certified under the USDA Organic Program by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)). The petition was denied because FPC was considered “bio-engineered” and thus unsuitable for inclusion in the USDA Organic Program which disallows the presence of such substances in USDA Organic products. As a panel member for the petition review said, “The NOSB has recommended that all organisms that have been genetically modified by [recombinant DNA] techniques be considered synthetic.” FPC was determined to be “synthetic.”

Furthermore, the panel members pointed out, “non-synthetic” cheese making enzymes (i.e., calf rennet, non-engineered microbial rennets) are available. (Rennet is an example of a non-agricultural substance that is allowed in organic food products when it is derived from calves or non-genetically altered microorganisms.) Technical Advisory Panel Reports concerning the petition to include FPC as an allowed substance in USDA Organic-certified foods can be accessed here:

Another USDA document pointed out that GMOs are not permitted at all in USDA Organic foods and beverages. The USDA Deputy Director gives some indication of what the USDA means by “GMO” in describing the “excluded methods” in USDA Organic production:

“A variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are not considered compatible with organic production. Such methods include…recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology).”

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The 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 employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.

Readers may be interested in a blog post on cheeses used by Pizza Hut:

For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at

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Vegetarian Journal Issue 1, 2011 Now Online! 0

Posted on December 28, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

Vegetarian Journal Issue 1, 2011 is now online! More back issues can be viewed here.

To subscribe to the Vegetarian Journal and receive the complete print version, you can join online with $25, call (410) 366-8343 and order by phone with your Mastercard® or Visa®, or complete this form

Vegetarian Journal Issue 1, 2011


A Primer for No-Hassle Dinners at Home
Debra Daniels-Zeller converts pantry staples into easy suppers.

A Soy-Free, Nut-Free Vegan Meal Plan
Corey Bivins develops a three-day, allergen-free menu.

Vegan in a Mexican Household
VRG Intern Veronica Lizaola revamps some family recipes.

Wrapping It All Up!
Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, introduces creative ideas
for sandwich wraps in this issue's Foodservice Update.

2010 VJ Essay Contest Winner – Second Installment


Nutrition Hotline
Should we avoid feeding soy to our young daughter? How can a vegan gain weight?
And what's the difference between the sugar in fruit and the sugar in cookies?

Note from the Coordinators

Letters to the Editors

Vegan Cooking Tips
All About Soyrizo, by Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE

Scientific Update

All Pizza Hut Cheeses Made with Chymax™

Notes from the VRG Scientific Department

Veggie Bits

Order Vegan Passover Recipes

P.F. Chang's 'Vegetarian' Entrées Contain No Animal Ingredients

Book Reviews


Vegetarian Action
Heather Mills, by Heather Gorn

Back Cover
New Book From VRG – Vegans Know How to Party!

Thanks to VRG volunteer Celina Chung for her help in converting these articles into HTML! To volunteer to help with these kinds of projects, please email

The Vegan Guide to Stockholm, Sweden 0

Posted on February 14, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Julia Mathew

According to a March 2016 study conducted by Novus for Djurens Rätt, the largest animal rights and welfare group in Sweden, when asked “Are you a vegetarian or vegan” 5% of individuals responded that they were vegetarian and 3% said they were vegan. However, the parameters of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ were not clearly defined so the study results could be skewed. Many vegetarians and vegans live in the capital city of Stockholm and Skåne, or the southernmost county of Sweden. Younger generations are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of animal agriculture and are changing their diet and lifestyle as a result. According to a poll run by Demoskop and commissioned by Djurens Rätt, Sweden’s largest animal welfare and rights organization, Swedish individuals in the 15-34 year old demographic most commonly associated themselves with vegetarianism or veganism. Among non-vegetarians, the poll further stated that there was an increase in interest of purchasing vegetarian products, going from 26 to 37 percent in a single year.

Having visited Sweden multiple times, I have always been thrilled to see the expansion of the vegan movement in such a historically animal product-based society. Veganism is becoming a sort of trend among Swedish youth, as information on the environmental and non-ethical aspects of animal products are becoming more widespread in Scandinavia. There are many popular Swedish bloggers who are changing outsiders’ perspective on plant-based food through their colorful, modern, and artful social media accounts.

Of the Swedish cities I have been to, such as Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala, and Malmö, I have never had any problems eating vegan in my experience. Stockholm is a beautiful city encompassed by water due to its 14 inclusive islands. There are countless vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants and cafes throughout the city. Most cafes have plant-based milks available. Oatly is among one of my favorite plant-based milks and is becoming an increasingly popular non-dairy milk option in cafes. Oatly is a Swedish oat milk company that produces various vegan products such as milk, creamer, yogurt, fruit juices, and ice cream. Astrid och Aporna is another great Swedish brand that has its own line of products, as well as its own fully vegan grocery store in both Malmö and Copenhagen. Look out for these brands if you’re in Scandinavia!

Vegan-friendly Restaurants, Cafes, and Shops

• Bagar’n Horstull (Hornstull T-bana): Serves vegan semlor, cookies, and sweets; some vegan options available
• Chutney (Katarina-Sofia): Serves Mediterranean plates, burgers, and tofu dishes; 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly
• Delivore (Hornstull): Serves bagels, sandwiches, smoothies, salads, and milkshakes; 100% vegan
• Govinda (Södermalm): Serves various Indian dishes, has a weekly menu; 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly
• Hälsocafét (Södermalm): Serves salads, raw pizza, chili, burgers, fruit bowls, and cakes; 100% vegan
• Hermans (Katarina-Sofia): Offers a hearty buffet which includes mixed salads, potato and pasta dishes, bread, pastries, and various dishes; 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly
• Hermitage (Gamla Stan): Offers a hearty buffet serving soups, daal, potato and rice dishes, salads, curry, and various dishes; 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly
• Naturbageriet Sattva (Gamla Stan): Offers pastries, bread, sandwiches, tea, and coffee; vegan-friendly
• Reload Superfood (Vasastan): Serves acai bowls, hearty salad bar, sandwiches, smoothies, and raw cakes; vegan-friendly
• Sally Voltaire & Systrar (Norrmalm, inside Åhléns City): Serves soup, sandwiches, and various salads; serves some fish but has many vegan options
• Södermalm Vegetariska (Södermalm): Serves moussaka, nacho and falafel plates, burgers, chili, wraps, and vegetable stir fries; 100% vegetarian and vegan-friendly
• Sthlm Raw (Hornstull): Serves salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, and pastries; 100% vegan and mostly raw
• Lao Wai (Vasastan): Serves various tofu, noodle, seaweed, vegetable, and soy protein dishes, as well as homemade ice cream; 100% vegan

Specialty Shops & Health Food Stores

• Goodstore (Hornstull, Katarina-Sofia): Carries various Swedish and imported vegan food products and cosmetics; 100% vegan shop
• Paradiset (Södermalm): Offers produce, various vegan food products, and cosmetics; vegan-friendly

“Opinion Polls”. Djurens Rätt. Updated 19 Janurary 2017.
“One in ten Swedes is vegetarian or vegan, according to study.” Independent. 24 March 2014.

Eating Vegan in Copenhagen, Denmark 0

Posted on February 06, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Julia Mathew, VRG Intern

Denmark is the largest single exporter of pork and has one of the highest rates of meat consumption in the world. About 28 million pigs are raised annually in the small Scandinavian country of five and a half million. Historically, Scandinavia has had a diet rich in meat and dairy products. However, the vegan movement has been growing across the region. In recent years, the organic health food industry has been booming in Denmark. The capital city of Copenhagen was named the European Green Capital in 2014 and aims to be carbon neutral by the year 2025. Although it was met with resistance from the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Landbrug & Fødevarer, a meat tax to reduce climate effects was proposed by the Danish Council of Ethics, Det Etiske Råd. Environmental incentives, along with ethical concerns, have caused many Danes, especially within Copenhagen, to become interested in the vegan movement.

Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and frequently eating out can easily add up. However, cheaper vegan-friendly options exist. Take advantage of street food, such as falafel, which can be found at stands or small shops throughout the city, especially in Nørrebro. Smileys Kebab is a small stand in front of the Amagerbro Metro Station that sells cheap falafel wraps, pita, and salad boxes from 25-35 Danish kroner. It is vegan except for the white, dairy-based dressing that often comes on it. Falafel-House is another good option in central Copenhagen that is fairly cheap as well. Some hotdogs stands, such as Den Økologiske Pølsemand (DØP) by the Round Tower in central Copenhagen, offer organic vegan sausage or pølse. The Swedish fast food chain MAX Hamburger also offers the spicy “Oumph! BBQ Burger,” which includes pulled soy protein and vegan mayonnaise for 52 Danish kroner. These are all great options for relatively fast and ‘cheap’ plant-based meals for Copenhagen standards. It is also important to note that most coffee shops in Copenhagen offer plant-based milks such as soy, almond, and oat milks. Many cafes and bakeries are also starting to label pastries as vegan and often offer raw vegan cakes.

In terms of grocery shopping, many Danish supermarkets offer vegan options. Most grocery stores carry some sort of plant-based milks such as soy, almond, rice, oat, and coconut milks. Netto, SuperBrugsen, Fakta, Lidl, Føtex, Meny, Irma, and Aldi are some common supermarkets in Denmark and generally all sell non-dairy milks. The most common brands of plant-based milks in Denmark are Alpro, Naturli’, Urtekram, and Oatly. Tofu, falafel, soy creamer, and vegetable margarine are often found at most grocery stores. Discount grocery store companies, such as Netto and Lidl, generally do not carry as diverse of vegan products as larger grocery stores like SuperBrugsen and Meny, which often sell Astrid och Aporna products. Some Rema1000 stores sell vegan ice cream by the brand Tofuline. Larger grocery stores such as Irma, SuperBrugsen, and Føtex often have vegan spreads, nut butters, tofu, ice cream, and vegan specialty products to some extent. Many ethnic shops sell cheaper produce, nuts, juices, and falafel in comparison to Danish supermarkets. The Danish Vegan Society is currently working with Danish grocery stores across the country to increase the number of vegan products offered. Many vegan specialty shops in Copenhagen import vegan products from countries like Germany and the UK.

Health is becoming an increasingly popular concern for Danes, and plant-based food is on the rise. The number of plant-based restaurants and vegan options available in Copenhagen has significantly risen in the past few years.

Vegan-friendly Restaurants, Cafes, and Shops in Copenhagen
• 42Raw (Pilestræde, Frederiksberg): Serves brunch, burgers, salads, tapas, pizza, lasagna, sandwiches, breakfast bowls, and smoothies; 100% raw vegan
• Acacia (Frederiksberg): Serves ice cream sandwiches, muffins, cupcakes, and desserts; vegan-friendly
• Café N (Nørrebro): Serves brunch, burgers, soup, hummus and bread, sandwiches, the hearty ‘Café N-plate’, and freshly squeezed juices; 100% vegan
• Green Burger (by Nørreport Station): Serves various plant-based burgers with vegan mayonnaise and sauces; 100% vegan
• Hope Bar (Central): Serves salads, smoothie bowls, brunch, raw desserts, and coffee; mostly vegan
• Kaf (Nørrebro): Serves vegan brunch, sandwiches, and cakes; 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan
• Morgenstedet (Christiania): Serves organic, home-cooked, hearty vegetarian meals from soups and bread to rice and pasta dishes; 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan
• Naturbageriet (Central): Serves various vegan Danish pastries and vegan food products; vegan-friendly
• Nicecream (Vesterbro): Serves coconut milk ice cream, bars, cookie sandwiches, milkshakes, and acai bowls; 100% vegan
• simpleRAW (Central): Serves brunch, snacks such as kale chips and sweet potato nachos, stuffed rice paper with veggies, warm burgers, zucchini noodles, raw cakes, juices/smoothies and shakes; 100% vegan and mostly raw
• Souls (Østerbro): Serves brunch, hearty salads and sandwiches, pizza, burgers, coffee, and raw cakes; 100% vegan
• The South Indian (Frederiksberg, Vesterbro): Serves traditional South Indian food such as sambar, chutney, idli, vada, parotta, and different varieties of dosas, has a popular all you can eat dosa special; vegan-friendly
• Torvehallerne (by Nørreport Station): Also known as the ‘Glass Market’, houses many coffee, pastry, and small food stands; some vegan options available
o Most coffee stands have soy, almond, or oat milks available
o The Fresh Market has fruits, vegan salads, and breakfast bowls to-go
o Grød is a porridge bar that has some marked vegan options
o Smag has multiple dense and flavorful vegan salads
• Urten [by Atlas Bar] (Central): Vegan restaurant located above and owned by Atlas Bar, serves hearty and diverse plant-based foods such as braised or roasted vegetables, soups, pancakes, and various desserts; 100% vegan

Specialty Shops & Health Food Stores
• Den Vegansk Butik (Central): Sells many vegan food products such as dry goods, spreads, drinks, bars, pasta, and pastries; 100% vegan shop
• Astrid och Aporna (Frederiksberg): A Swedish brand with its own shop and line of various vegan products, along with many imported products; sells plant-based meats, cheeses, spreads, sweets, dry goods, frozen treats, and also offers a small selection of prepared foods; 100% vegan shop
o Astrid och Aporna Spiseri is a small vegan fast-food restaurant in Nørrebro that offers hotdogs and burgers
• Spidsroden (Nørrebro): Offers many plant-based meats, specialty products, and produce; 99% vegan shop
• Natur og Sundhed Helsekost (Nørrebro): Health food store that offers many cosmetics and body care products, as well as bars and some vegan specialty products; vegan-friendly
• Helsemin (Nørrebro, Vesterbro, Central): A small health food chain that offers organic cosmetics and body care products, as well as supplements and some vegan specialty products; vegan-friendly

More Restaurants Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada 0

Posted on January 26, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here:


B52 Vegan Bakery & Café
5202 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
B52 Café focuses on traditional American fare and savory pastries for breakfast and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods for lunch and dinner. Though most of the cuisine is Mediterranean, vegan cinnamon rolls, brownies, cookies, truffles, and more can still be enjoyed! Along with vegan staples such as tofu scramble and buckwheat pancakes.

Be Well Kitchen
4th Street Market
201 E. 4th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
After a consultation, the chef customized a unique meal plan for your needs. Programs range from a full day of three meals and a snack to week-long meals. Meals are available for pickup or delivery. Be Well Kitchen is devoted to flavorful and convenient healthy living.

The Cinnamon Snail
The Pennsy
2 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10021
The Cinnamon Snail vegan food truck that serves mostly organic food, prepared without processed or artificial ingredients now has a store front location in Penn Station. Try their Thai BBQ Tempeh with Pickled Red Onions and Thai Basil, Arugula, Smoked Chili Roasted Peanuts and Sriracha Mayonnaise on Grilled Spelt Bread, their famous Beastmode Burger Deluxe, Ancho Chili Seitan Burger Grilled in Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce with Jalapeno Max & Cheese, Arugula Smoked Chili Coconut Bacon and Chipotle Mayo on a Grilled Pretzel Bun, and a Lemongrass 5 Spice Seitan with Curried Cashews, Arugula, Sichuan Chili Sauce and Wasabi Mayonnaise on a Grilled Baguette. They also offer vegan desserts.

Dixie Dharma At Market On South
2603 E South St.
Orlando, FL 32803
Traditional southern dishes take on a plant-based twist at this market location. Dixie Dharma’s BBQ is known for its immaculate similarity to authentic pulled pork. Indulge in a “sloppy joe” or “baked mac ‘n cheese” at this hip location in central Florida.

Harvest Beat
1711 N 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
Harvest Beat is a restaurant on a mission. By creating prix-fixe menus based on the current availability of ingredients from local farmers and from their own gardens, which reduces the need for food storage and ultimately, food waste, and by composting all food scraps, they are keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum. Naturally, as the ingredients are always changing, so does the menu. This dish, served as the 4th course on a December menu, should give you an idea of the kind of fare served at Harvest Beat: eggplant roulade, jester squash mousse, grilled whiskey poached kohlrabi, Romanesco spears, micro arugula, and autumn olive chutney. There is also a limited take out lunch menu available offering soup and a sandwich wrap.

1503 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92102
Located in South Park, Kindred boasts a wide selection of vegan cocktails. The menu features a number of classic dishes made vegan. Snack selections include Fried Pickles and Seitan Skewers. Main dishes range from the Memphis BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich to the Beet Risotto. Be sure to check out the weekend brunch menu, too. They are open late.

Nutritious You
6583 Midnight Pass Rd.
Siesta Key, FL 34242
The menu at Nutritious You includes a wide variety of snacks and cuisine with a health-conscious twist. Restaurant goers may recognize their snacks from various health food stores. The restaurant itself includes a wide variety of items including desserts, spreads, and take home items. Menu staples include options like Vegan Pizza or Falafel.

Revolution Juice
150 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Revolution Juice’s specialty is serving plant-based drinks to promote a nutritious and environmentally-friendly diet. Try their Carrot Ginger Curry, Vanilla Date-orade, or their Ginger Juice Shot from an expansive menu of juices, juice shots, smoothies, sorbets, coffees, teas, soups, snacks, and more at this juice bar which is located right between Newton and Belvidere Street.

223 W Walnut St.
Lancaster, PA 17602
Root is the perfect vegan restaurant/bar to visit if you are in need of good vegan food and/or drinks! They offer a wide variety of specialty vegan foods including mushroom sliders, spinach dip, pizza, and Caesar salad! These typically non-vegan dishes are made with tofu, vegan cheeses, and mushrooms, and are much more delicious as a result. Stop in and enjoy a nice meal and vegan drinks!

Valhalla Bakery
2603 E South St.
Orlando, FL 32803
Valhalla Bakery is the perfect place to go to satisfy your vegan sweet-tooth craving. The cozy bakery is known for its Nanaimo bars, cupcakes, and artfully presented custom-order cakes that are suitable for any occasion from a birthday party to a wedding. Their ever-changing menu is also filled with a selection of pies, cookies, muffins, pretzels, tarts, buns, doughnuts, and even some gluten-free baked goods.

1466 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
VeganBurg’s specialty is making completely vegan burgers. With the aim to promote an environmentally sustainable and nutritious diet, VeganBurg’s menu is full of options such as the Smoky BBQ (a mushroom burger high in beta-carotene) or the Tangy Tartar (a crunchy alfalfa burger with vegan tartar sauce). VeganBurg is not limited to burgers. Their sides include their Seaweed Fries and Handmade Spinach Pops, and they have a selection of vegan sweets. VeganBurg also has a Kiddie Meal for younger ones.

9-2460 Neyagawa Blvd.
Oakville, ON L6H 7P4 Canada
Enjoy a wide range of fresh juices, vegan milk shakes, and more. For a late breakfast meal (served all day), you can sample muffins, parfaits, chickpea waffles, and scrambled tofu. For lunch or dinner try a wide range of salads, sides, and appetizers along with different types of burgers and sandwiches.

Vegano Italiano Tours reveal rarely seen Italy in 2016 1

Posted on November 19, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor


Vegano Italiano Tours, a joint project of Tierno Tours and Green Earth Travels, returns with two terrific travel tours for 2016. The first is a week-long tour of southwestern Italy’s renowned Amalfi Coast and overlooked Cilento Coast July 2–9, with visits to Herculaneum, Padula, and Roccadaspide. The second week-long tour goes through the stunning region of Puglia in southeastern Italy, with visits to Bari, Matera, and Alberobello, September 24–October 1.

Whether Amalfi’s breathtaking views or Matera’s rich history, travelers will enjoy stepping away from their regular routine to visit Italy, one of the world’s Top 3 travel destinations. Travelers can admire the lemon-laden terraced gardens along the entire coast of Amalfi while sipping on some limoncello liqueur, or marvel at the fact that Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast about living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago.

The regions of Puglia and Cilento are equally enthralling. Whether savoring the former’s locally produced olive oil, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms as well as its Baroque architectural monuments in Lecce and other archeological areas, or the latter’s Greek temples (some of the best-preserved on the Mediterranean) and its pre-Byzantine tombs.
Each tour includes a special guest from vegandom that will share cooking demonstrations and more. In July, that is Julieanna Hever, while in September, it is Miyoko Schinner. Both of 2016’s special guests are accomplished professional vegans with well-received vegan tv shows and their own books, hailing from Southern and Northern California, respectively.

Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, aka the Plant-Based Dietitian, joins the first tour July 2 through 9. Julieanna hosts Z Living’s What Would Julieanna Do? tv show. She’s the author of the very recently released book title The Vegiterranean Diet, and previously The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. She’s also VegNews Magazine’s nutrition columnist.

Travelers joining Julieanna will stay two nights in breathtaking Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, sail to the caves of Palinuro down the Cilento Coast, visit four UNESCO World Heritage sites, marvel at (and happily moan about) meals with fresh made vegan pasta and pizzas, plus discover hidden treasures and roads of Southern Italy from local guides.
September 24 through October 1, special guest Miyoko Schinner will impart her culinary knowledge and talents with travelers. Miyoko heads Miyoko’s Creamery, selling handcrafted, artisanal cheeses based on her bestselling cookbook, Artisan Vegan Cheese. She shares her passion for delicious vegan cuisine in classes around the world, and co-hosts Vegan Mashup, seen on public television.

People on Miyoko’s tour will spend a day among the Trulli huts, stay two nights in the heart of “i sassi” of Matera, sail the Adriatic Sea, enjoy olive oil like never before, and experience a truly one of a kind travel meets culinary tour.

Travelers want to choose Vegano Italiano Tours for a comfortable, all-inclusive, immersive vacation seeing and tasting Italy as very very few have before. They will come and forge lifelong friendships amidst tremendously beautiful backdrops. Book today and make this one more thing to be thankful for, toast to and celebrate this season. Salute!

About Tierno Tours
Founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team Pasquale Tierno and Gretchen Sheridan, Tierno Tours arranges and leads boutique tours of Southern Italy. Using a discerning insider’s curatorial touch, they craft unforgettable European experiences catering to hiking enthusiasts, avid vegans, history buffs, and more.

About Green Earth Travel
Seasoned world traveler Donna Zeigfinger founded Green Earth Travel to provide a wide range of travel options for people who crave adventure and care about the planet. Since 1997, this travel agency has remained on the cutting edge of conscientious and customized tourism, while becoming the nation’s premiere vegetarian/vegan/eco travel agency.
To make inquiries or secure reservations, please contact Donna Zeigfinger at Green Earth Travel LLC, or (301) 229-5666


Posted on August 06, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

If you are traveling to Beijing, Emily Li suggests you try these restaurants.

*Vegetarian food
**Vegan food
§ Reviewer’s choice


**Beijing Vegan Hut
Stall 0912, 2/F, Bldg 9, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100020
Chinese/international/organic/fast food

*Buddha’s Bite
798 Road (at Art Zone, Seven Star East Street, Unit 311), Beijing, 100015

*Pure Lotus
Tongguang Bldg, 12 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (Courtyard of China Fed of Literary and Art Circles), Beijing, China
+86-10-6592-3627, 8703-6669

**ShangSu Pizza
Stall 905, Building 6, Xian, Dai Cheng, 6, Jianguo Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
+86 139-1135-3903

*Tianchu Miaoxiang Vegetarian – Chaowai
Rm 0260, 2/F, Bldg D, Chaowai SOHO, 6B Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, CBD/Guomao, Beijing, 100020
59001088, 59001288
Chinese/fast food/take-out

§Tribe Organic
China View Plaza, 1/F, Bdg 3, Gongti Donglu
8587 1899

*Baihe – Lily Vegetarian
23 Caoyuan Hutong, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China

*Fairy Su
30 Yonghegong Da Jie, Dongcheng District (next to Yonghegong Lama Temple), Beijing, China
+86 010-58444596, 58444598

**The Veggie Table
19 Wudaoying Hutong, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China 100007

*Xu Xiang Zhai
26-1 Guozijian Dajie, Hutong (opposite Lama temple, next to Confucian temple, Dongcheng District), Beijing, China
+86-010-64046568, 64046566


**SUHU – Vegetarian Tiger
203, Southeast Huayuan Office Building, 88, Shuangqing Rd, Haidian District, Beijing, China


Avocado Tree
310 Pinnacle Plaza

North of LuoMa Roundabout, HouShaYu Town, Shunyi District, Beijing, China

Emily Li is a Vegetarian Resource Group volunteer living in China.

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