Maxwell Everett wrote:
Not many people know this (though probably many here I'd bet), but gelatin is made from collagen, which comes from animal bones and skin. Looking it up on Google/Wikipedia, it's derived from pork skins, pork, horses, and cattle bones, or split cattle hides. Its composition is 84%-90% protein, 1%-2% mineral salts and 8%-15% water. Gelatin contains no fat and has about 95 calories per ounce. An ounce of gelatin satisfies about 2% of your daily needs for iron and calcium. By itself, it's essentially odorless and tasteless.
Personally, I always assumed that the gelatin discs in "Allegiance" were made from the collagen from the bodies of the previous inhabitants of the prison cell! Brings a whole new darker spin to the episode, huh? What would've happened to them if Picard hadn't discovered that the Starfleet cadet was an imposter and the aliens ended the experiment?
As a vegetarian, I'm always reading the ingredients and decline anything having gelatin. I'm always surprised when others are ignorant of the origins of it.
Fortunately, I'm now able to enjoy some things that used to contain gelatin. I think Skittles are one delicacy that used to contain it, but now use a fruit gel instead. I don't know if the change is due to vegetarians' complaints, or a more prosaic economic or supply factor.