Jell-O -- marshmallows -- cosmetics -- pill capsules -- candies have something in common... They all may contain gelatin. What is gelatin, anyway? The current method to obtain gelatin comes from the skin and bones of cows and pigs. Turns out, this method has a number of drawbacks, including variation in quality from batch to batch. There’s the potential for transmitting infectious diseases like Mad Cow and the possibility of triggering immune system responses in humans. The New Gelatin Jin Chun Chen, associate professor in microbiology at Tisnhua University in Hong Kong, and his team are seeking an alternative to the traditional animal-based gelatin. (Alert: This product is too weird.) This report on the heels of Japan’s new meat, derived from excrement, covered in last week’s blog, seems like a set up. The new gelatin is developed by inserting HUMAN genes into a strain of yeast, which can produce gelatin with controllable features. (Hold on, human genes in food. That's Soylent Green all over again.) The new product is still being tested to see how it compares to other animal gelatins. If this report from Hong Kong weren’t creepy enough, other companies are working on similar products. FiberGen, a San Francisco-based company, is also developing "recombinant human gelatin" which has already been safely tested on humans as a stabilizer for vaccines. (Who says it’s safe?) FibroGen is also talking with capsule manufacturers (for medication) to study the feasibility of using recombinant gelatin in their products. Excuse me while I throw up! I can’t believe what I’m writing, so I won’t blame you if you don’t believe me either. I can only come to one conclusion: The world has gone mad…Cook your food at home. We must become detectives to learn what’s in our food. Then we must learn how to prepare food at home (notice, I said food, not chemicals). I haven’t eaten Jell-O for over 30 years. Jell-O is sugar, gelatin and chemicals: artificial flavors and colors. When my girls were young, I’d make my own jell-o from fruit juice and unflavored beef derived gelatin. Great Lakes and Now carry bovine (beef) derived gelatin (kosher). When I purchase vitamins in capsules, I look for the vegetarian capsules only.