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Vegetarianism encompasses a variety of options and choices, based on life styles, philosophies, and religions. The preferences vary from eating nothing but the parts of plants that be picked without destroying the plant to eating everything except flesh (red meat). Types of vegetarians from lenient to the most strict include:

Pesco vegetarians — eat fish, eggs, and dairy products, but avoid poultry and meat products.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians — consume all types of vegetable products, eggs, and milk products, but avoids all forms of slaughtered flesh, including meat, poultry, and fish. People who do not eat eggs but eat dairy products are called lacto-vegetarians, whereas ovovegetarians consume eggs but not dairy products.

Vegans — do not eat anything of animal origin. A vegan therefore avoids all meats, poultry, and any other animal products and their derivatives, such as gelatin; eggs; milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products; and fish, shellfish, crustaceans, and other marine animal products. Vegans also try to avoid honey, royal jelly, and cochineal and other insect-derived products. In addition, vegans do not knowingly consume hidden animal ingredients.

Fruitarians and foodists follow a type of vegan diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that is minimally processed or cooked. Fruitarians believe that only plant foods that can be harvested without killing the plant should be eaten (1).

Vegetarianism is not a particular religion. Believers of many religious denominations including Jews, Seventh Day Adventist, Christians, Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains might practice vegetarianism to some extent. Mainstream vegetarianism is usually defined as lacto-ovo; however, veganism is becoming quite popular in the West. The comparison to be made here is limited to vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarianism rather than other types of vegetarianism.

Food Standards for Vegetarians

Animal Products:

For both vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians, all products of animal flesh including food ingredients from meat, poultry, and seafood must be avoided. Moreover, for vegans, products and by-products from live animals, such as milk and eggs, and products from insects, such as honey and royal jelly, must also be avoided. Lactoovo vegetarians who consume egg and dairy products avoid incidental ingredients of animal origin, including enzymes such as rennet. However, most of the enzymes for cheese manufacture at least in the U.S. & Middle-East are from microbial or GM origin, which has found acceptance among this group. Ingredients not acceptable as vegetarian include Vitamin D from sheep wool, gelatin in juice processing, and anchovies in Worcestershire sauce (2).

Kitchen and Hygiene Standards:

Dishes and utensils used for preparing and serving vegetarian products must be separate from non-vegetarian dishes or at a minimum must be thoroughly washed. It is recommended that cross-contamination from non-vegetarian food be avoided.


The Vegetarian Society. 2012. Park Dale, U.K.,

The Vegetarian Society. 2012. Park Dale, U.K.,

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