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ConsumerWatch: Bay Area Hindu Man Accidentally Served Meat Aboard Flight

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An airplane lands at nightfall. (CBS)

An airplane lands at nightfall. (CBS)

Julie-Watts_BIO-HEAD Julie Watts
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area Hindu man’s life has been dramatically altered after accidentally being served a sandwich containing meat on an airplane.

The tenets of Anshu Kumar’s religion require a strict vegetarian diet, and Kumar had never eaten meat.

Before traveling on Asiana Airlines, Kumar confirmed via email that his in-flight meals would be meat-free, and once on board, a flight attendant assured him again he would receive a vegetarian meal.

But, a few bites in, Kumar noticed an unfamiliar taste, and what he thought might be potato turned out to be meat.

Eating meat, even accidentally, is considered a sin for devout Hindus.

“When someone of that background does accidentally eat meat, there’s a sense of deep revulsion, agony I would say,” said professor Vijaya Nagarajan, a religious studies expert from the University of San Francisco.

Kumar says he is now forbidden to touch the altar where he prays daily for forgiveness, and he must also travel back to India to perform penance.

He said he is also is no longer allowed to eat with his family.

“For the person who served the meat, it is of little consequence, but for the person who accidentally ate it for the very first time in their entire life, and for how many generations, it’s like a break in the fabric of their community,” Nagarajan said.

Kumar is asking the airline to label its food.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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