“Vegan” Pie Shock: Z’s Vegan pies contained chicken!

Oh noes!  Z energy may have inadvertently been providing chicken and vege pies to its strict vegan customers!

Z Energy’s new vegan pie offering has feathers ruffled over one decidedly non-vegan ingredient.

A customer revealed today that the gourmet Mexican pie – with a spicy tomato, sweetcorn and onion filling – contained E920, a pastry conditioner made from ground-up poultry feathers – meaning the prize-winning baked good is definitely not suitable for vegans.

The claim was made on the petrol station’s Facebook page, with Z Energy confirming the ingredient in a follow-up comment.

“We’ve just checked with our pie makers and the E920 that has been used to date has been chemically derived from poultry feathers,” the post read.

“This was an honest mistake which our bakers have fixed.

An honest mistake they say.  I would have thought that they’d understand the concept of a vegan pie.   Ground-up chicken feathers don’t really fit that.  

“While only the tiniest trace of this product was used in our pies – 0.0023 per cent – we understand the principle here and no future vegan pies, including the ones being baked today, will contain this product.

“To demonstrate how seriously we take this, a production run of these pies using this ingredient are now being donated to charity rather than sold at Z sites. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.”

The pie, which won a customer competition to be sold in Z petrol stations over the summer holiday period, had sold in the thousands in its first five days on the racks – with some stores selling out.

When food isn’t Halal, Muslims can just chant an incantation and they can eat it anyway.

What do vegans do when their bodies have ingested an animal?  Does the idea that some of the animal-derived nutrition is now part of your fat cells, or brain, or muscle upset you? How do you cope?


– NZ Herald


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  • Gazza

    ouch….a lot of offended pie munchers who have been poisoned will be lining up for blood transfusions, and of course….compensation. MSM will be busy today running around looking for victims

    • johcar

      Blood transfusions? Only from other vegans, surely? Non-vegan blood would contain all kinds of non-vegan remnants.

      Which begs the question. If a Muslim needs a transfusion, are they picky about who it comes from? Does the Blood Service even collect/keep that information about the source of the donation? (It’s been a long time since I gave blood, since they seem to think that I have mad cow disease because I lived in the UK for a couple of years in the eighties)

    • Ross

      At least this didn’t occur in America – I can imagine the class action lawsuit would be filed by lunchtime!

  • Wheninrome

    They are “vegan” as a choice, sometimes one’s choices are subject to being tested. You just get over it, it won’t kill you. They are not “intolerant” of meat, they just don’t want to eat it for whatever reason.
    Don’t get me started on the lactose intolerant, the gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant etc., all these food allergies that have suddenly raised their heads. Yes, there are people who genuinely suffer from life threatening issues if they eat eggs, nuts etc., but most people are simply making a choice that has no foundation or basis in fact, they “feel” better by not eating said product, they probably feel better when taking a placebo pill.
    Indeed, experts are having great success introducing peanuts to babies, toddlers in getting them over their issues.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    What a way to start the day with such news. We now know what the ingredient E920 is though not as hard to chew as feathered filled mouth sensation the morning after a bender.
    It will be interesting to see if the sales volumes continue. One always prefers the tried and true to food lines that are “new”. Expect the twitterata and social media will really ringing hard today after the vegans have finished regurgitating or whatever detox ritual they adhere to. Lol

  • Brian Smaller

    How does a fanatical vegan purify themselves after becoming unclean? This reminds me of all the Indian guys and girls at work chowing down on gummy bears (someone had brought several bags) and the look on their faces when I told them that they were made from cow. You should have seen the frantic Googling of “gelatin”. I was seriously amused.

    • Brian Dingwall

      Coud have been based on starch tho probably gelatin)…it always amused me that we used to import one starch used for both jelly beans and wall paper ((true story)

  • JEL51

    Good God, how many other foods have ground-up chook feathers in them? You townies probably don’t want to know what the magnetic properties of an old chook can attract.

    • XCIA

      It is used to improve the life-span of flour products; biscuits, bread rolls, pizza bases, you name it (except those that claim to be wholemeal)…..or so they say!

      • JEL51

        Heavens! Even more reason to avoid over-processed foods. I heard that there is a new flour mill down Timaru way, I hope they won’t interfere with the natural product.

    • thebitinbetween

      Hey I’m an old chook so perhaps there’s hope for me yet!! ;-)

      • JEL51

        Depends whether you have dangly bits attached to your tail feathers ;-)

        • thebitinbetween

          Well the bits dangle a lot more than they used to but no tail feathers, sorry.

    • Old Chook

      Very magnetic, I assure you!

      • JEL51

        I am over buying any pastry products after today’s disclosure especially because my last 3 chooks (Elizabeth, Margaret & Anne) would have all manner of things attached to their tail feathers if I fed them too much bread. I resorted to feeding them anti-inflametories (voltarin) to over-come their digestive issues. It worked too.

  • wanarunna

    Apparently they have now changed the recipe, but they were still left with a run of pies that they couldn’t sell, so they have given them to charity. One wonders why they couldn’t just sell them as chicken pies. Oh, thats right, they wouldn’t be allowed to sell them as chicken pies as there would be complaints that they didn’t have any chicken in them.

    • I call BS on the charity. Name it.

      • wanarunna

        Can’t name it – just repeating what I read here – http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11570077
        In hindsight, given that this was in the Horrid, it is probably BS as you say.

        • Sorry. I didn’t mean that you should name it. I meant Z. But I didn’t express myself very well.

      • thebitinbetween

        And have the charity confirm receipt.

    • Jimmie

      Maybe just sell them as Chicken Feather pies – could promote them with a tv ad showing a pie with wings flying off into the sunset….

  • wanarunna

    lets hope they don’t get nervous and start chewing their fingernails

  • I love how they try to minimise it by saying “0.0023 per cent”

    So when the pie is 250 grams, then the animal part is still half a gram, or a very decent tip of a teaspoon’s worth.


    • friardo

      No it’s not.
      It’s 0.00575g
      One could hardly see that amount.

      • Never got the hang of numbers. I yield, with thanks.

        So it’s the amount in the picture per 100 pies.

        (See, got that right in the end :)

  • Hard1

    Interestingly, The majority of E920 (L-cysteine) is obtained industrially by hydrolysis of human hair, poultry feathers, or hog hair, with human hair being the preferred method.

    • You’re not helping

    • idbkiwi

      Bloody fascinating, thanks for that information. A bit of googling confirms that human hair is indeed the preferred protein enhancer.

      Is it still a vegan pie if it has human ingredients?

      • Chris EM

        Only if they use hair from vegans.

    • stephen2d

      Christ, the Vegans are also cannibals?!

      On a more serious side, this is really, really appalling what goes into these processed foods – yuck.

  • XCIA

    Allegedly, China has a nice little earner going producing E920 from human hair. I guess someone should ask the country of origin before the chooks are blamed. It also seems E920 can be made from pig bristles, but that doesn’t worry the Muslims because [E920] it is broken down in the baking process so the manufacturers argue that doesn’t constitute an ingredient.

  • Mags

    Hope all the meat pies have just as tasty ingredients. Sure to be the winning ingredient.

  • oldmanNZ

    its just feathers?
    we accidently eat quite a few insects (when you ride a bike with mouth open).

    Vegans would eat more insects as they would eat more veges, there are many insects in veges that can’t be simply washed away, like alphids and worms, catipllars(baby ones)
    and the vegetarian pizza is made with cheese which use beef rennet (some claim to use a vegan type now)

    And how many animals were killed harvesting the corn? (there are lots of mice, rabbits and birds in the field).

    • Tiger

      And Vegans would most certainly be riding bikes more often than most, increasing their risk of incidental insect ingestion (iii). Who’d have thought a million years of omnivore evolution could be overturned in one generation!

  • LesleyNZ

    So all Z pies have ground up chicken feathers? How horrible. I have never ever heard of ground up chicken feathers being used in pastry for a pie. Sounds revolting. What is wrong with using the old fashioned ingredients of flour, fat/lard/butter and water? (Of course vegans won’t like the animal fat which is the best ingredient to use for flakey pastry). I am a bit lazy these days and buy ready made pastry – will be checking out the ingredients on the packet for “E920” chicken feathers! How many other pies we buy and eat have ground up chicken feathers in the pastry?

    • thebitinbetween

      On the previous post re this I was wondering if perhaps they hadn’t thought of the fat part (as you say essential for good pastry) and the pastry may contain that but never in 100+ years did I think of chicken feathers.
      I buy the ready made stuff but will also be checking next time – if I remember. Perhaps all the ‘wonder’ ingredients that we now ingest w/o knowing is what has made my memory falter, lol.

  • RightofSingapore

    Who cares how the Vegans cope? We don’t need to wonder about or indulge in their childish sentimental nonsense. Being vegans, they’ll tell us every 5 minutes anyway.

    • Brian Smaller

      First rule of vegan club…tell every about vegan club.

  • Betty Swallocks

    A more surprising but, admittedly, less likely headline would be “Vegan found to contain commonsense.”

  • Rick H

    Why ever would anybody want to put such rubbish in a pastry? Or in the actual flour?
    What is wrong with flour being 100% from the grain?
    It makes one wonder how many other ingredients are in processed foods that nobody really knows about.

  • Dan

    The problem is that commercially it is nigh impossible to manufacture 100% vegan pastry in the first place. You need a vegan butter substitute, but I seriously dont think thatbthe baker would go there. In order to get the right texture and flavour above cardboard level there are few if any commercial solutions available.

    Mince and cheese for me thanks, with or without feathers.

  • jollygreengiant

    What do vegans do when their bodies have ingested an animal you ask? Well, they probably find they have more energy for starters.

  • Ruahine

    Meat from grass eating animals is most certainly Vegan. That is why the meat tastes so good.

    • Not really. They inadvertently eat insects at the same time.

  • 61dart

    Wow. I thought those pies tasted better than they should have!!

  • L-cysteine is a common amino acid and is completely harmless. Where it is derived from is not relevant, as the purified product contains ONLY L-cysteine (which naturally occurs in the human body). Refusing to eat something containing derived L-cysteine because it may come from human hair or chicken feathers is as irrational as refusing insulin because it is derived from genetically-modified bacteria.

    As for vegans – they should stop drinking water – considering the amount of fish and bird poo dissolved in it.

  • notoutraged

    Is it just me or has there been a bit of a thing in the media lately pushing veganism?

  • Uncle Bully

    It may lead to matrimonial or relationship conflicts….