I fed a vegetarian lard by mistake . Should I tell them ?

No I didn’t . But stumbled upon this topic while scrounging on CH . Credit Lulubelle 10/24/09 for the topic . I would probably not tell them . It was something about nachos . Anyway I missed this one when I was there . But interesting question otherwise . Would you tell them ?

If they didn’t sense it and ate it already, why need to make them uncomfortable?! They couldn’t do much except to repent…

Actually many food are made with pork without us consciously knowing. Gelatin is one. Also can be in wine and beer too…

The surprising food that contains with animal products list goes on with certain peanuts, potato chips…


I won’t, but that’s not because I am trying to be ‘dishonest’. The question is, are we solving for ourselves, or the vegetarian? Telling the person when the person don’t know may alleviate our guilt, but makes it worse for the person psychologically. Not telling the person technically doesn’t do anything further to the person physiologically beyond what was already done…

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Nope. What’s done is done.

I organize a weekly Sichuan jour fixe, and we have a few vegans and vegetarians/pescatarians in our group. The last couple of times we ordered a fish dish, it came sprinkled with ground pork.

I didn’t notice this until both pescatarians were already chowing down (and quite happily, I might add), but will make sure to let the owner know next time to leave the pork out. We already get the vegetarian versions of mapo tofu and dry-fried green beans, with the ground pork being replaced by mushrooms (or some sort of fermented vegetable, I’m not sure - very savory & umami, so the pork isn’t missed).

If it was a friend I would certainly tell them, especially if I had reason to believe they might learn it some other way and think I was indifferent to their food choices and would cavalierly do it again. If it was somehow very difficult to reach the person or I didn’t know them really (say, someone else brought them to my giant dinner party), then I’d let it go, or if it was a relative who was always difficult about everything, I’d skip giving myself a headache.

But my first reaction to the question is: Why not? Most of the people I eat with are friends and beloved relatives. I feel I can tell them anything. Most vegetarians I know started out as meat eaters. It’s not like they’re allergic. (And if they were allergic, I’d DEFINITELY want to tell them.)

Most vegetarians I know take it for granted they occasionally end up eating meat without knowing it. Even the few people I know who abstain from meat for orgnaized religion reasons wouldn’t have a big problem with finding out that they’d unintentioally had some lard.

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One of my pescatarian friends figured it out on his own (it’s kinda obvious), and still kept eating. We’re all grown-ups, so I feel confident that he can make those decisions for himself.

I didn’t mean to hit the reply button to your post. I was only responding to the original post --not your post – which posited a vegetarian who didn’t realize he or she was eating meat (or lard).

Happens to the best of us.

Guess so.

No reason to at all. Whatever their reasons for being vegetarian there’s no way to undo what’s been done, so unburdening yourself will serve only to burden them … so just drop it.

Most vegetarians do not feel guilty when they accidentally eat meat. But many might appreciate a friend or even acquaintance acknowledging they made an error that won’t be repeated. I can’t see any reason not to tell them – unless you know something about them personally that warrants it. But that would be pretty rare!

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I got curious about people’s rationales for not telling a friend about a mistake one had made that involves the friend, so I Googled up the original Chowhound thread – and it is interesting. It goes to more than 100 posts, with people taking both views (including some posters who now post on Hungry Onion, who apparently have since changed their minds).

The hypothetical is also a bit more complicated – in that the vegetarian in questions is repeatedly described as someone easily upset, high strung, overly serious about everything, not just being a vegetarian. Still, several people – including vegetarians or friends of vegetarians – felt it was a trust and friendship issue, and honesty was the best policy.

Being from a Muslim family strict about eating only Halal meat, and only ingredients derived from Halal-slaughtered animals, I have a split opinion on this issue. (Essentially, I am “non-alcoholic” pescatarian when eating out or at the grocery store.)

First, as a person who was raised to read ingredients labels, I understand someone who wasn’t conditioned in that way can never be as diligent in this matter, no matter how much that person loves food. Knowing this, there’s always a probabilistic guilt assigned to situations.

If a person was like me – fairly strict, very specific and attentive – I would tell that person my mistake. The person might think that food product is okay for them, and might continue to eat it. As an example, my cheesemonger told me a certain cheese didn’t contain animal rennet when it did. (Should’ve known cause it tasted too good.) We kept purchasing more and sharing it with people. Eventually saw that same cheese at Whole Foods labeled as having animal rennet. Checked with the manufacturer to confirm. First time in 3 years our cheesemonger was wrong (we keep a list of all our cheeses and checked all of them again.) It was an honest mistake, but now we felt guilty cause we had fed the cheese to so many people who also avoid animal rennet. Say the cheesemonger had realized his mistake soon afterward, I would really have appreciated it if he told us immediately. Replace “cheesemonger” with “good friend” to make it a non-professional situation, I don’t feel it changes anything.

On the other side, you have so much randomness of things various Muslims are strict about: strict about Halal meat but not alcohol, strict about Halal meat proper but not animal-derived ingredients, considering Kosher to be Halal, considering any non-pork to be Halal, etc. It’s a mess trying to figure out what matters to someone. I have family members who don’t trust Halal meat stores, so they go and slaughter chicken and lamb themselves. Yet, these same folks will knowingly eat food with, say, Vanilla Extract (alcohol). I know strict Hindus who eat Parmigiano Reggiano (animal rennet), but they avoid gelatin. Then there’s folks with different rules for when at home and when going out. If you can think of a combination, it probably exists.

So for me, if I had to even ask myself once what to do, I would just leave it alone.


Your whole post was excellent, but let me reply to the above in specific.

What one could do is tell a small lie, and after a while mention (for example), “Gee, it’s a pity that you liked those chips, but the next time I looked they had changed the ingredients and now list lard instead of corn oil.” You have to wait long enough for this to seem reasonable (not just two days later), and obviously never serve that to them again.

(I go to an annual barbecue at a friend’s house where the guests include one person who avoid pork and shrimp, one who is lactose-intolerant and gluten-intolerant, one who is allergic to nuts, and one who needs to avoid soy because of drug interaction with it. Trying to think of what to bring is tricky! I’ve settled on Quinoa Tabouli, homemade fudge, fresh fruit, and the rare sorbet that meets all these requirements. The only other option is providing ingredients lists for everything.)

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I just can’t get over the fact that the CH OP didnt make homemade refried beans. Too easy.

It isn’t as if the 7 layer dip took all day to cook and the OP didn’t have time, with all that jar and can opening.

Back to the question, I would not tell. Especially if I bragged about taking all the time to omit ingredient’s for their benefit :angel:

Love your insight, too true!

That will probably work with regular people, but my key point was “if a person was like me.” Your fib would never pass with us. To help you understand, I complained to Trader Joe’s recently “Your canola oil has changed, bring back the old one!” They said, “No it hasn’t, it’s the same.” I replied, “Shame on you!” Okay, that’s what I wanted to write, but I actually wrote “Maybe it’s the same supplier, but not the same product. Look at these pictures of the old one. Before it was from Canada, now it’s from Canada and/or Australia. Also the volume is different now, plus if you look closely the wording on the label has changed. And of course, doesn’t taste the same.”

Ummm… so I guess what I’m trying to say… your solution should be okay with everyone else in the world except us handful of crazies. Probably need to diversify our hobbies some, huh?

If it’s a mistake that’s unlikely to be repeated: no, I wouldn’t tell them. It might just make the vegetarian feel bad over something that can’t be changed. However, if it could be repeated–like if you gave that person commercially available potato chips that they loved enough to want to buy for themselves later—then I’d tell them.


That’s my thinking the entire way. You can’t change what has already happened, so why burden someone with regret they don’t need to feel?

Keep it in mind for the future, but let the past go. It’s not helping anyone but your own need to unburden yourself of some strange feeling of guilt.