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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   Bill Harris, M.D. | Q&A

Is the source of D3 from swine?
Q&A with Bill Harris, M.D.

Q. I do not eat swine products. Is the source of D3 from swine?


A. Dear Marty,

I think so. If you encountered a statement that it's from swine then that's probably correct because plants make D2 not D3.

Here's a quote from an excellent book:

"When a fortified food or supplement label says “vitamin D,” or “cholecalciferol,” that means the origin was animal (generally fish, but sometimes from sheep wool, hides, or other animal parts such as cattle brains). Often milk or margarine, which may be thought of as vegetarian products, will contain vitamin D3 of animal origin. We have even found supplements that are labeled “vegetarian,” yet contain vitamin D3; upon further inquiry, the suppliers were surprised to realize that the vitamin D used was of animal origin. Occasionally a soymilk can be found that uses D3 instead of D2 though most have chosen the D2 (plant) form and clearly list D2 on the nutrition panel."


Brenda Davis, R.D. Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. Becoming Vegan Book Publishing Company PO Box 99 Summertown, TN 38483 l-888-260-8458 www.bookpubco.com ISBN l-57067-103-6 p 133

Is this source of vitamin supplement D3 found only in the skin of swine or is this a common source of calcium found in all animals?

It's not a source of calcium at all. It's a source of the mistakenly termed "Vitamin D." I haven't heard of it being taken from pigs before but there's no reason that it couldn't be, and since pigs are slaughtered by the millions it probably is.

If I do not eat pork, or anyone else for that matter, how can I drink milk if it has been suplemented by a pork product?

Other than giving up milk, I don't know what you can do.

Also, does or has the FDA informed the general public in any way, shape or form that today's milk contains by-products of swine's flesh? It certainly IS NOT on the labels of ingredients as being a by-product of swine's flesh. What is wrong with this picture and how have we not been made aware of this travesty?

Your quarrel is with the FDA and the USDA and I strongly encourage you to take it to them directly since you would be doing us all a favor. These agencies have allowed and sometimes encouraged the most outrageous falsehoods and omissions almost since their inception.

On December 3, 1999 I filed a petition with the FDA against their deceptive fat labeling policies. According to their own rules they were required to reply by July 1 2000 but I have yet to hear from them. I don't believe the FDA or USDA are much concerned with the formalities of democracy but if you would like to harass them a bit over their failure to identify the form of vitamin D found in milk here is the place I started: Code of Federal Regulations http://www.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/cfrassemble.cgi?title=199921 http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/get-cfr.cgi?TITLE=21&PART=10&SECTIO N=30&YEAR=1999&TYPE=TEXT




This is the start of the petition:

"Dockets Management Branch, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, rm. 1-23, 12420 Parklawn Dr., Rockville, MD 20857.

Citizen Petition

The undersigned submits this petition under TITLE 21 CFR 10.30 to request the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to amend Sec. 101.9 "Nutrition labeling of food."

Presently in Sec. 101.9: .........

...The undersigned certifies, that, to the best knowledge and belief of the undersigned, this petition includes all information and views on which the petition relies, and that it includes representative data and information known to the petitioner which are unfavorable to the petition (I know of none).


Please acknowledge receipt."


No acknowledgement was ever received and I haven't had time to follow up. You could file a similar complaint against "vitamin D" labeling.

Good luck,

-William Harris, M.D.

William Harris MD received a degree in physics from the University of California Berkeley, where he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. He received his degree in medicine from the University of California at San Francisco, and received his postgraduate training at San Diego County Hospital. He holds a Medical License in the State of Hawaii. He has been an Emergency Department physican since 1963, and the Director of the Kaiser Permanente Vegan Lifestyle Clinic on Oahu until his retirement in 1998. Dr. Harris is the author of The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism.

In addition, he was the 1950 Big Ten Trampoline Champion, is an accomplished hangglider and commercial pilot, and at age 70 became a skydiver with 108 jumps to date. Dr. Harris has been vegetarian since 1950, and vegan since 1963.

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