Can Vegetarians Eat Gelatin?

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According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, gelatin is not a vegetarian food source. It is produced by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments or bones of animals. Vegetarians do not eat animal meat, and vegans abstain from eating eggs, dairy and other animal-derivatives.

Gelatin is not derived from animals, such as eggs and dairy products are, but it is derived from parts of an animal, so it cannot be considered a vegetarian food. Vegetarians can consume gelatin alternatives, including many types of kosher gelatin. PETA explains that agar-agar and carrageen are alternative gelling agents, which are derived from different types of seaweed. Agar-agar can be used to make firm gels in an hour; whereas, carrageen can be boiled for 10 minutes and used in softer gels and puddings.