What Food Has Hidden Pork in It?

Many foods have hidden pork in them, including gelatin, chips, cookies, cereal, frosting and dairy products such as whipped cream, sour cream, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Small amounts of pork can be found in so many foods that it can be quite challenging to avoid eating it.

Consumers should look for the words "lard," "animal fats," "monoglycerides," "diglycerides," "enzymes" and "rennet" on food labels as a clue that pork is an ingredient. Gelatin is made from pork skin and is a widely used ingredient in many products, including the coating of gel caps. A Kosher marking on a label is an indication that the product is pork-free. In addition to foods, other products such as medications, cosmetics, detergents, cleansers, soaps and toothpastes often contain hidden pork. Look out for the words "collagen," "keratin" and "tallow" in these products, as they are all pork-based.

Many consumers avoid pork for religious reasons. For example, the Bible says a pig is an unclean scavenger and is not to be eaten. The Jewish Torah and the Holy Qur'an also forbid the consumption of pork.

Others avoid pork because it is more toxic than other meats and may carry viruses and parasites like trichinosis. Vegetarians commonly wish to avoid pork for humanitarian reasons, among a sea of others. The only way to avoid eating pork completely may be to prepare all foods at home and to avoid eating at restaurants, or eating anything that is commercially prepared.