VEGETARIANS are biting off more than they want to chew at fast food chains.
Food commonly ordered by vegetarians off the menus of fast food giants such as Hungry Jack's and Subway could be riddled with traces of discarded animals.
The findings from a Choice review of 80 non-meat products at 12 fast food chains nationwide has outraged health-conscious consumers who say they are being misled.
A Hungry Jack's vegie burger patty was found to contain animal rennet, an enzyme extracted from calf stomachs.
Cheese-laden vegie menu items in particular were identified as a potential minefield for vegetarians.
Noodle Box's meat-free Gung Ho Soy Box was also found to be smothered in sauce containing crustaceans "and their products".
Vegetarian Network Victoria president Mark Doneddu said the stores were deceiving consumers.
"Not every vegetarian is going to be diligent in researching every non-meat option and it's startling to think these options aren't vegetarian at all," he said.
"If they're purchasing a vegie burger, it's reasonable to assume there isn't part of a dead animal buried within it."
Elwood vegan Rachael Morris, 35, said stores were "abusing and disrespecting customers' choice for monetary gain".
She became sceptical about eating out after learning restaurants that made vegetable soup often used chicken broth.
"I think every vegetarian and vegan would have been booby-trapped at some stage," she said. "It's the most awful feeling when you consume a product containing animal products that you've intentionally chosen believing that it doesn't."
By Erin Michael, Herald Sun