Reacting to immense pressure brought by vegetarians, Masterfoods Great Britain has decided to return to microbial-derived whey. Ha'aretz reports:
…Earlier this month, the British-based company began using rennet in many of its chocolate products including Snickers, Milky Way and Twix. The move infuriated vegetarians and generated a flood of complaints.
Though the London Beth Din had issued a ruling that the products would remain kosher, the announcement is welcome news for many local chocolate lovers. According to reports, the Israeli rabbinate remained wary of the new animal-derived ingredient and was considering revoking its seal of approval if British firm Masterfoods, which produces the chocolates, continued its plans.
"We made a mistake. We apologise," the company said in a statement on its Web site. "The consumer is our boss. Therefore we listen to you and your feedback. Therefore we commit to you today, that we at Mars UK will ensure that a selection of your favorite brands Mars bars, Snickers bars, Galaxy and Maltesers, will be suitable for vegetarians in the near future. To this effect we are starting to change our manufacturing process today."
Of course, Masterfoods did not begin using "rennet" in its candy last month; it began using whey derived from a cheese-making process that used animal rennet, as opposed to what it had used previously and will be using again – whey derived from microbial rennet in the cheese-making process. Other ingredients are also animal derived or animal – milk, the whey itself, cream, butter, etc. From a kosher perspective, the more proper term for the "problematic" whey would be "non-vegetarian" or "non-vegetarian derived."
That being said, from my (primarily) vegetarian perspective, I'm glad the whey is again microbial-derived.
[Hat Tip: Michelle.]