Note from the Coordinators

Serving 3 Million Vegans A Day

In a recent article, BusinessWeek stated that McDonald's serves 27 million people per day. This is certainly not an indication that North Americans' interest in eating fast food is waning. Therefore, The Vegetarian Resource Group continues to report the latest about fast food and quick-service restaurant chains, just as this organization has since 1984.

In this issue, first-rate researcher Jeanne Yacoubou again uncovers some interesting details. The bad news is that L-cysteine in some apple pies may be derived from duck feathers. On the other hand, some of the good news is that Chipotle, a growing burrito and taco chain, clearly states which of its menu items are vegetarian and even uses the word “vegan” on its website.

We realize that some readers avoid large businesses such as these, but for those who travel, Taco Bell continues to be a very convenient, widely-available stop to order bean tacos or burritos without cheese. Speaking of largeness, we noticed that even Target now advertises soymilk. Certainly, it's easy to travel most anywhere in the United States or Canada and find a multitude of vegan options. However, for those who prefer to patronize vegetarian restaurants, check out our U.S. and Canadian listings at You can enter a state or provence and then search by city or town to find vegan, vegetarian, and exceptionally veggiefriendly establishments. And for those who want convenience at home, see our review of vegan burgers and dogs on page 9.

If you want a vegetarian world, it’s necessary to reach young people. This is why The VRG gives away tens of thousands of coloring books, activity placemats, and teen brochures. We've sponsored our essay contest for more than 20 years. Chef Berkoff recently gave a workshop for school food service staff. This fall, we had an outreach booth at the meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians to educate doctors about vegetarianism.

The Vegetarian Resource Group is a national group with grassroots beginnings. We continue to sponsor local and national outreach, which enables us to have a unique perspective. Over the past quarter of a century, we have enjoyed watching changes on the local level around the country, in professional circles, and in national media.

VRG's Nutrition Advisor, Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, was called several times as a resource for an article that appeared in Newsweek. The piece asked, “Is Your Kid Turning Vegetarian?… If you're worried they're not getting adequate nutrients, relax. Doctors and dietitians say you can raise healthy herbivores at any age, even from birth.” Our website,, was given as a reference in this article.

Also of note was an advertisement from the Citi credit card, which stated, “Well, my son Jack went and married a vegetarian… It was my first tofurky, and I wanted it to be just right.” (They, of course, should have capitalized Tofurky, but this typo detracts little from the otherwise great ad.)

We greatly appreciate all our members for their support and dedicated efforts to bring about a more vegetarian-friendly world.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group