Salon takes a peek at blog’s “Operation Pancake: Undercover Investigation of LA Vegan Restaurants,” a 6,000-plus-word look at vegan restaurants in Los Angeles that finds that “vegan” dishes are often contaminated with egg, casein, and other verboten ingredients. Salon’s Andrew Leonard puts his finger on the most interesting issue: Fake meat from Taiwan (the most popular exporter) isn’t as pure as vegans would like. Why? The intrepid “Operation Pancake” investigators have the answer:

“In the Taiwanese and Chinese market [where most of these products are made and sold] vegetarian customers are only concerned with meat ingredients and not bothered at all if egg or milk ingredients are included [this is due to religious reasons in many cases, typically to accommodate Buddhists, who are often not vegan].”

Also, according to one Taiwanese manufacturer:

“There are few labeling regulations in Taiwan and they are rarely, if ever, enforced. We usually list the ingredients we put into food directly, but if if we’re using something from a third party we don’t always list the ingredients in that. It’s just not important in Taiwan.”

Does this remind anyone else of those guys who got busted for relabeling regular doughnuts as low-fat?

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