By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
The Vegetarian Resource Group first learned of Every Company (formerly Clara Foods) in March 2021 in an article on its “animal-free” pepsin.
At that time, we were curious to find out more about the source of Every’s pepsin. Since this digestive enzyme, common in many nutritional supplements, is typically derived from hogs on a commercial basis, pepsin is considered an animal-derived ingredient.
So how could pepsin be “animal-free”?
Every Company “animal-free” products
- egg white protein
- egg white replacer
- porcine pepsin replacement
According to the website, these products are suitable for a wide range of foods and beverages.
For egg white protein and egg white replacer, these include:
- assorted beverages
- protein bars
- dry mixes
- binder in meat analogues
Pepsin, in particular, was noted as a possible food processing aid as well as an ingredient in nutritional supplements.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, processing aids do not have to be listed on food and beverage labels.
At the time of writing this article, Every Company was in partnership to sell a vegan protein smoothie in California and New York as well as online.
In the description for this product, there was an asterisk after the word “vegan” which lead to this disclaimer:
“Contains egg allergens. This is not an animal product and is not created from chickens.”
Here was the complete ingredient statement for this product:
Apple Juice, Water, Pineapple, Banana, Spinach, Avocado Pulp (Avocado, Citric Acid), Lemon Juice, Egg White Protein (Non-Animal Source)
Every Company manufacturing process
On their website, Every Company states that it “…decouples proteins from the animals that make them using fermentation.”
To do this, they use a DNA sequence library. After copying the genetic code for a specific animal protein, they insert it into yeast. Every uses chicken and porcine DNA sequences for their products.
Then the yeast are grown on a medium containing sugar. Through fermentation, the yeast produce the animal protein according to the genetic instructions previously inserted.
Every Company FAQ page
On the website FAQ page, Every Company writes:
Note: Because our egg proteins are nature-equivalent to chicken-made eggs, they are considered egg allergens. People with an egg allergy should not consume our proteins.
Q: Why do you call your proteins animal-free?
A: Every Company conducted extensive consumer research to identify the clearest way to describe our proteins and the fact that no animal or animal cell is involved in our process or product. Our research indicated that animal-free is the clearest, most understandable way to describe animal protein made without using a single animal.
Note to reader: There are varied opinions on the labeling of these types of products, which will continue to evolve. Here is a YouGov national U.S. adult poll concerning how meat and dairy alternatives based on DNA originally from animals should be labeled: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/CulturedMeatYouGov2022.pdf
What do readers think? Which terms would you suggest be used or not used?
The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian and Vegan Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.