Why your banana may not be vegan

Why your banana may not be vegan

It's a no-brainer, right? Vegans and vegetarians don't have to think twice about eating fruit and vegetables because they don't contain animal products.

But at Natural Products Expo West this year, I met the folks of One Degree Organic, who introduced the concept of "veganic" agriculturea type of organic farming in which no animal byproducts are used.

So, that loaf of bread I thought was vegan? Technically not, if the wheat was grown using manure.

And now, a new spray-on coating that could delay the ripening of bananas for 12 days could also turn my vegan banana into, technically, a non-vegan one.

The spray coating is made from chitosan, which is derived from shrimp and crab shells.  Vegans forgo the consumption of fish and crustaceans, making this spray a no-no.

What else is in our food?

According to ScienceDaily, chitosan is gaining attention for keeping fruits and vegetables fresher longer due to how it kills bacteria that causes produce to rot. Until now, however, it has not been used to slow the ripening of bananas. The coating could potentially be used in supermarkets or by consumers at home.

While it's not a commercial reality yet, if such a spray were used in stores, consumers would be none the wiser.

I'm not a stickler when it comes to the perfect vegan diet. In fact, I eat organic, local honey. But like screening for GMOs, I want to know what my local grocer is spraying my food with—vegan or not—so that I can be an informed shopper.

Do you think we should be spraying our food with fish to keep it fresher, longer? Share in the comments.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.