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Do you avoid breads which may contain L-cysteine as a dough conditioner
I avoid all dubious bread products 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
I avoid it if I know its in there 62%  62%  [ 21 ]
I am not bothered (care to elaborate?) 32%  32%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 34
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 Post subject: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:53 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Hot on the heels of Jojo's poll on bone char sugar, what do you do about things like breads that could contain L-cysteine?
http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/03/09/l-cy ... -hog-hair/

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2013/04/22/info ... -cysteine/

I definitely avoid it if I know its in something (like DD bagels), but do you have to just assume its in all breads you're eating? Its supergross to think about my food containing something derived from human hair (is it vegan if its human hair obtained with consent?) or duck feathers.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:00 am 
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I voted 'not bothered' but in reality it is 'not bothered yet'. As a new vegan I am prioritising while I get the hang of things, so am choosing to ignore any additives that may be in bread I buy from the supermarket for now. We have a couple of bread vans that visit our village every day and I'm pretty certain that one of them has no additives - their breads are also sold in the local supermarket and the ingredients list is flour, yeast, water, salt. Sometimes I crave a different sort of bread and that is when I ignore the list altogether. Long-term, the plan is to make my own bread and I'm pretty certain I'll not be putting hair or duck feathers in it.

Interesting question about whether human hair is vegan if obtained with consent, but either way, the idea of human hair in bread is pretty icky. I told my omni family about why some breads might not be vegan recently and they were pretty grossed out about the human hair thing.


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:04 am 
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Jojo ' s thread was asking advice for what to tell traveling vegans. This thread just seems judgy to me. If you avoid it, fine. If not fine. There are a million personal choices like this in veganism that, in my opinion, don't really matter. This is quickly going to turn into a who is more vegan contest.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:39 am 
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People often invoke the "yuck" factor when it comes to these byproducts, rather than making an ethical argument for avoiding them. I really doubt that the small amount of L-cysteine that might be in bread contributes significantly to animal suffering.


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:31 am 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
Jojo ' s thread was asking advice for what to tell traveling vegans. This thread just seems judgy to me. If you avoid it, fine. If not fine. There are a million personal choices like this in veganism that, in my opinion, don't really matter. This is quickly going to turn into a who is more vegan contest.


Sorry if it seems judgy or a competition. I was just wondering what other people do. I'm constantly learning about new things (even 9 years into being vegan) and trying to draw the line for myself often involves getting a gut check from others.

I avoid it only if I know for a fact it is in - like Dunkin Donuts bagels, because I can't unknow that. But I generally just eat bread, tortillas or pizza dough in restaurants, just like I consume food that may have bone char sugar in it or that is fried in a shared frier, because at some point in order to live in the world with its institutional support for animal ag, you just have to draw a line somewhere and for me its at what I happen to know. But I am constantly learning and balancing, you know?

It just seems like bread is one of those things that a server will forget has an egg wash or has a bit of butter brushed over, or a bit of sugar or L-cysteine in it. And so I wonder what other people do. Just for my own information. I really don't think I am in any position to be judging anyone else.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:51 am 
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I'm not finding this judgy at all. I didn't even know about L-Cysteine being an issue, so I'm glad to have the information.

If it's from human hair that has been consensually given, I wouldn't have an ethical issue with it. Yeah, a bit of an ick factor, but not enough to make me avoid it. If it's from duck feathers, then I'd put it in the bone char category. It's probably a bi-product of duck slaughter for human consumtion, and I'd rather not participate in that at any level if I can avoid it. So now that I know about it, I will avoid it if I see it on an ingredient list, but I'm not going to sweat it when I'm out to eat or eating at a friend's house.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:29 am 
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Will the ingredients list say l-cysteine or just dough conditioner? Are there any vegan sources used commercially?

I didn't know about it at all. I'm not sure what I'll do with this info. Probably nothing, if I'm being honest.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:54 pm 
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I remember being disgusted and heartbroken when I found out Noah's bagels have l-cystein in them. Last week a co-worker brought in a big bag of them, freshly baked and oh-so-fluffy looking. I had a sad.

I haven't eaten a Noah's bagel since I found out, but that said- I'm not Sherlocking all my bread-based food, either.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:13 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Will the ingredients list say l-cysteine or just dough conditioner? Are there any vegan sources used commercially?


Great question! I hadn't thought of the first one, but the linked VRG articles in the OP says this:

Quote:
Q. Is it sometimes, but not always, listed on labels?

A. According to the CFR (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/c ... m?fr=101.4) under paragraph 18, L-cysteine is listed on labels, usually in a parenthetical expression after the term “dough conditioner.” However, it need not be listed if L-cysteine is an ingredient used to make other ingredients which are in a final product. For example, L-cysteine used as a “reaction flavor” (http://askfsis.custhelp.com/app/answers ... /related/1 see #7) need not be labeled. Another example is in a pizza kit in which there are individual packets of dough, sauce, and seasonings in a larger box. L-cysteine may be in the dough but not labeled as an ingredient in the kit.

- See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/?s=l-cysteine#s ... LmpFZ.dpuf


And re the vegan sources - it sounds like about 10% are synthetically produced and 90% is from human hair, feathers or hog hair.

Quote:
Q. Can it be derived from hog hair, human hair, and feathers?

A. The major commercial sources of L-cysteine today are Chinese and Indian avian feathers and human hair. Hog’s hair as a source is likely when the hair/feather supply is low. Because the industrial plants needed to extract L-cysteine exist in China, most of the extraction is done there (i.e., it’s too costly for companies to ship feathers/hair and extract it here when the feathers, hair and industrial plants are already there).

- See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/?s=l-cysteine#s ... LmpFZ.dpuf


Quote:
A product manager with another food ingredients company reported to The VRG in August 2010 that "it’s not human hair, not duck feathers, that’s the major source of L-cysteine today; it’s hog hair." He estimated hog hair to be the source of 90% of the Chinese L-cysteine supply. - See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/03/09/l-cy ... iL7tW.dpuf


I feel like its different from DATEM because VRG states that DATEM is typically vegan so odds are if you're eating it, you are not eating animal products.

Again, I don't care what anyone else does, and don't want to be vegan policing anyone but am just curious as to what people do. I know I do a check on processed food where I can - so when we went to Disney I did a lot of research to see that the Dole Whip was vegan, but it seems impossible to check all your bread....

If anyone has better info or guidance as to how to manage, that would be great.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:17 pm 
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last I'd heard was that animal-based L-cysteine wasn't used very often in favour of synthetic (? plant based?) alternatives almost always being cheaper. I hadn't even thought about it in a long time - it's not listed (even as 'dough conditioner' or E92x) in any breads that I buy/know of

though now that I think about it, I *did* buy bread that had 'dough conditioner (ascorbic acid)' as an ingredient when traveling recently. not sure the source of it though, but it's specifically not L-cysteine, so hey

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Ha! Jinx Joshua! I answered those questions with the VRG links just as you were typing!

VRG says that the microbial l-cysteine costs 2-3x as much as the hair/feather/hog hair derived stuff, which is why the l-cysteine used commercially is primarily (90%) animal based. And l-cysteine doesn't have to be specifically labeled, so that makes life harder.

Its amazing how hard it is to know what we are eating sometimes!

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I feel like its different from DATEM because VRG states that DATEM is typically vegan so odds are if you're eating it, you are not eating animal products.

oh! good to know. i've been avoiding that too. (but not to the extent that i avoid l-cysteine.) now i won't even bother to look for it. thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:41 pm 
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I'm trying to figure out how human hair makes it into the food system. That sort of boggles the mind. I'm not even really sure I believe it.

If I know about it, I avoid it, particularly because it might be pig-based, not because it might be bird (or human) based. Pigs are really my line in the sand on this kind of thing. (I'm also curious about how kosher and halal certified Dunkin' Donuts stores deal with this - they can't actually be using a different bagel recipe, can they?) When it comes to buying bread for home, it's usually not the l-cysteine that's the first thing scaring me away from a product anyway, so it hasn't really come up as an issue. This would mostly come up about Dunkin Donuts and such. There are even better reasons to avoid DD bagels, though, like the fact that they taste like asparagus and I live in the good bagel capitol of the universe.

However, I have a very clear don't-ask-don't-tell policy about bread/bagels in general, so it is highly likely I am regularly eating breads that have a bit of milk, egg, l-cysteine, or honey in them. This is a policy for self-preservation. I try not to know such things for as long as I can get away with it.


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
I'm also curious about how kosher and halal certified Dunkin' Donuts stores deal with this - they can't actually be using a different bagel recipe, can they?


Dunkin Donuts has said their l-cysteine is from duck feathers. From VRG " L-cysteine derived from human hair or duck feathers may or may not be certified kosher and/or halal."
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:17 pm 
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When I buy bread for myself I only get the stuff I definitely know is vegan, but I don't ask about bread in restaurants. And if I'm at a friend's house and they offer me bread, then I'll check the packaging if they've still got it, but if they don't then I just eat it.


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:25 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Ariann wrote:
I'm also curious about how kosher and halal certified Dunkin' Donuts stores deal with this - they can't actually be using a different bagel recipe, can they?


Dunkin Donuts has said their l-cysteine is from duck feathers. From VRG " L-cysteine derived from human hair or duck feathers may or may not be certified kosher and/or halal."
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm


Interesting. It might be one of those things that most kosher certifying agencies consider so removed from the original source as to not be an issue anymore (like, it doesn't have the "essence" of the animal left in it somehow).


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:26 pm 
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I went to a BBQ where the hosts went out of their way to buy and make me vegan food, but the buns contained L-cysteine. I didn't sweat it. They did the best they could. So yeah, I avoid it, except in rare instances like this one.


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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:20 pm 
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I don't buy products that I know it's in, but I generally don't worry about it at restaurants. Places that have the ingredients of their breads listed on the website are a different story, but I don't always research every single place I eat before I eat there, either. But yeah, it's one of the things that I check for on labels when I'm buying bread/consuming it at a friend's house.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:23 pm 
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I generally avoid it, but if the only options when I'm shopping are a bread with milk and eggs or a bread that is otherwise vegan except for l-cysteine, I'll get the bread with l-cysteine. I knew that l-cysteine wasn't vegan but I didn't realize what it was actually made of and I'm super grossed out, so I'll probably be more vigilant now about avoiding it.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:02 pm 
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This is one of those things I've only started keeping an eye on recently. I buy the bagels at my store that don't contain it, but certainly if a friend offers me a PB sammich and it's bread I know contains it, I won't turn them down, as I think it would make veganism seem really limiting. I don't think most people really don't know about this, like d3 being from wool.

If I knew all l-cysteine was derived from human hair, I'd eat the heck out of it, ick factor be damned.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:21 pm 
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What about the "What the fork are you talking about" option? I'd never heard of this until now.

I guess I'll change my vote to "if I know it's in there, I'll avoid it." Otherwise I won't worry at restaurants. Since I don't eat at places like Dunkin' Donuts anyway, there's small chance I'll ever eat any.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:24 pm 
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Little My wrote:
Since I don't eat at places like Dunkin' Donuts anyway, there's small chance I'll ever eat any.


It's actually a dough conditioner in a lot of breads that I've checked at the store that would otherwise be vegan, not just something that 'places like Dunkin' Donuts' use.

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 Post subject: Re: The L-Cysteine Issue
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:36 pm 
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I always assume that bread at restaurants isn't vegan.

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