For Greeks, especially during Holy Week, it is important to find fasting options. Confectioneries have more fasting and/or vegan sweets in their windows, which are generally very tasty. From kataifi to chocolate cakes and biscuits to baklavas and vegan cheesecakes, pastry chefs offer a huge variety of delights to those who are away from the pleasures of certain foods and drinks.
According to the precepts of fasting in the Orthodox Church, the consumption of meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products (including butter) is not allowed during Lent. The same ingredients are prohibited in the vegan diet, so if someone is vegan they could buy them as suitable for their diet.
In addition to the replacement of animal ingredients by plant ingredients, which is sometimes easy and sometimes difficult, the rapid development in food technology now offers a series of solutions to professionals with new plant substitutes that can be used in the preparation of fasting / vegan desserts. So every year the range of fasting / vegan desserts grows.
However, the question or suspicion of consumers as to whether the provisions are actually being followed exists. Old housewives are skeptical about sweets sold by pastry shops as fasting, especially if they are products whose original recipe is curable.
Cibum, a specialised site on food safety and hygiene, decided to do some research.
Knowing that butter, milk and egg are fundamental raw materials of the pastry art, he wanted to check their presence or not in sweets sold in pastry shops as fasting sweets. He bought fasting sweets and delivered them for analysis to Tsakalidis Analysis & Testing food analysis laboratories.
It should be noted that the purchase of the products was accompanied in all cases by the question "are they definitely suitable for fasting?"
The Tsakalidis laboratories analysed 22 fasting sweets from 10 confectioneries, central as well as in the districts of Athens and Piraeus, the selection of which was random. Depending on the nature of the product, 14 milk products, 12 butter products and four egg products were checked. The following analyses were selected: Cholesterol detection by gas chromatography (AOAC 994.10) for the presence of butter, milk protein detection by the ELISA method for the presence of milk and egg protein detection by the ELISA method for the presence of egg.
The results of the analysis by the Tsakalidis Analysis & Testing laboratories showed that out of the 22 sweets, 9, i.e. 40.9%, were not suitable for fasting as they contained milk or butter or egg. In fact, in 3 cases, 2 animal ingredients together (milk and egg) were detected in the fasting products!
Milk was detected in 50% of the samples analysed for milk, mainly in those containing chocolate, butter in kataifa, egg in products with mousse.
The detection methods followed by the laboratory are mainly qualitative (has / does not have) but the conclusion remains shocking since beyond the "cheating" of the consumer we must consider that both milk and egg are among the most common allergenic food ingredients and clearly dangerous for those suffering from a related food allergy.
Tsakalidis laboratories analysed on behalf of Cibum, 22 fasting sweets from 10 patisseries, and it was found that 40.9% of the sweets are not fasting as milk, or butter or egg was detected.
- 9 out of 22 sweets are not fasting
- In 3 out of 22 both milk and egg were detected
- Milk was detected in 50% of samples analyzed for milk
- Egg in 75% of samples tested for appearance and taste, for egg
- Butter in 17% of sweets analyzed for butter
- Milk was mainly detected in those containing chocolate
- The butter in kadaifia
- The egg in products with mousse
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