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Many foods use gelatin, which is an animal-derived product, as a thickening or coagulating agent in many foods. According to the labels on its products, as well as the information provided on its public website, yogurt made by the Yoplait company includes what is referred to as "kosher gelatin."
What is Kosher Gelatin?
Kosher gelatin can stem from non-animal-derived products; however, more commonly, the source of kosher gelatin is fish bones or beef skins. Although not all kosher authorities accept this practice, some authorities, such as the Orthodox Union (or OU), do permit the use of gelatin from animal sources in dairy products.
Statement from Yoplait Canada
According to Yoplait Canada's official website, the gelatin that it adds to Yoplait is beef derived. Since it has not been disputed by the Yoplait company, it is safe to assume that the certified kosher gelatin added to Yoplait yogurt in the United States is also derived from animal products.
Alternatives to Gelatin
Many non-animal-based thickening agents exist in vegetarian and vegan foods. Some examples include agar-agar, guar gum, carrageenan, and xanthan.
While Yoplait's decision to include kosher gelatin would disqualify Yoplait as a vegetarian yogurt, they are not difficult to find. Some of the many brands of vegetarian yogurt include Brown Cow, Stonyfield Farms, Cascade Farms and Nancy's.
There are also many non-dairy (generally soy-based) yogurts on the market that address the needs of the vegan consumer. Some of the many brands include Whole Soy, Silk and O'Soy.