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ketchup bloody ketchup

October 25, 2009

While eating lunch last Sunday, I overheard someone at our table say quite matter-of-factly that Heinz ketchup was made with animal blood because it helps to keep the ketchup red. For a split second, I actually thought it might be true, but thankfully my bullshit detector went off and I immediately grabbed the bottle to inspect it. Sure enough, right on the label was the symbol of the Orthodox Union (it’s the U inside the circle) certifying that the product was kosher.

For those who aren’t familiar with Jewish dietary law, eating blood is strictly forbidden as per Gen. 9:4, Lev 3:17, Lev 17:11 and Deut 12:16. In other words, nothing can be labelled “kosher” with animal blood as an ingredient.

Just be to sure (read “sick sense of curiosity”), I googled “Heinz” and “animal blood” after I got home to see what I could find. Apparently, it’s a popular urban legend. I’m not sure why, though. I mean, where do people even get these ideas? Why the fuck would anybody put animal blood in ketchup in the first place? “That’s how it gets it’s red colouring,” they say. “It keeps it from turning black.” Um, its red colour couldn’t be from all the ripe, pickled tomatoes could it? Not to mention the fact that, as my friend Brian pointed out, BLOOD TURNS BLACK WHEN IT OXIDIZES!

So the moral of this story is: if you hear someone say that Heinz ketchup is made with animal blood, smack them in the back of the head for saying something so stupid. Or at the very least, take the time to calmly explain to them about kosher foods and Jewish dietary law. Who knows, maybe they’ll actually learn something worth repeating in public while everyone’s trying to eat their chicken strips and french fries.

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