As I was eating my key lime pie-flavored Yoplait yogurt, for some weird reason my eyes were fixed on ‘live and active cultures’ on the container. In other words, living organisms. Meaning the Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermaopilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation.
Would a vegetarian eat yogurt, then? I pondered. It has a living ‘thing’ in it.
Vegetarianism is, cheating from Wikipedia, the practice of a diet that excludes all animal flesh, including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, and the slaughter-by products. Since I skipped a lot of my Microbiology classes back in high school *ahem* especially the microorganism subject, I don’t quite remember the detail about bacterias. Would a few micrometres in length (in the shape of spheres, rods, or spirals) be considered ‘fleshy’ for Lactobacillus or its cousin, Streptococcus? Does eating something alive or fleshy even though it’s a tiny thing, bother a vegetarian?
Something to keep in mind though, unlike cells of animals, bacteria cells do not contain a nucleus and rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles. In plain English, bacteria does not have chromosomes thus we won’t know if it’s a girl bacteria or a boy bacteria. Not only bacteria lacks of gender identity, it also lacks of proteins and lipids.
So what? We don’t need to call it Miss Lactobacillus or Mr. Streptococcus anyway. I pondered again. No protein or lipids? Even better for the vegetarians. I began to feel confident.
If a tiny living thing doesn’t bother a vegetarian, would the fact that Yoplait contains gelatin -which is made from boiled pig skin, animal bones and hooves- bothered them?