Read your labels and look for hidden animal products
Read your labels and look for hidden animal products
Animal-derived ingredients abound in supplements, and vegans must be alert to avoid them. Become an avid label reader. Here are some things to look out for:
- Anchovies is small, silver-colored fish used in the making of Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad dressing.
- Animal shortening, is also butter, suet and lard. Packaged cookies and crackers, refried beans, flour tortillas,
and ready-made piecrusts are generally all made from animal shortening.
- Albumin is the protein component of egg whites and its found in most processed foods. (eggs is classified as an animal product)
- Bananas, always buy organic as non-organic bananas are sprayed with a pesticide Chitosan to fight bacteria and prevents them from over-riping which is made from shrimp and crab shells.
- Beta-carotene, though vegetarian sourced, is often coated in gelatin for stabilization purpose.
- Chondroitin Sulfate is derived from cattle. It is used as a supplement for the joints and arthritis.
- Carmine (carmine cochineal or carminic acid) Red coloring made from a ground-up insect found in bottled juices, colored pasta, some candies and frozen pops. To combat this, they introduced natural colours, in particular natural red colour E521. E521 (or cochineal) is the red pigment extracted from pregnant Dactylopius Coccus Costa.
- Casein (caseinate) a milk protein found in dairy products and some soy cheese.
- Cheese many vegetarians and vegan should be aware that most dairy cheese is made with pepsin, rennet, or lipase, coagulated enzymes from the stomach linings of slaughtered cows and pigs.
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), an essential omega-3 fatty acid, is derived from seaweed but normally packaged in gelatin softgels. Finding a vegetarian or vegan form may require some effort; however, most soy cheeses are made with casein, which is obtained from cow’s milk.
- Gelatin – Usually derived from by-products protein from bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of animals of the meat and leather industry, gelatin is often found in gummy bears, marshmallows, soups, sauces and supplements with gel caps, yogurt, frosted cereals and gelatin-containing desserts. a protein derived from the collagen in cow or pig bones, skin and connective tissues. It’s often used as a thickening or stabilizing agent and can be found in a variety of candies.
- Glucose (dextrose) Animal tissues and fluids (some glucose can come from fruits) many baked goods, soft drinks, candies and frosting contain glucose.
- Glycerides (mono-, di-, and triglycerides) Glycerol can come from animal fats or plants, generally found in processed foods.
- Glucosamine Sulfate is usually derived from shellfish, although a new vegetarian source is now being tested for efficacy and stability.
- Hard Candy, lollies contains calcium stereate derived from tallow, an animal fat.
- Isinglass Gelatin from the air bladder of sturgeon and other freshwater fish used in alcoholic beverages and some jellied desserts and in the clarification process of many beers and wines.
- Ice Cream contains dairy although vegetarians should also be aware most brands contain capric acid derived from animal products.
- Kellogg’s Frosted Wheats, has beef gelatine in it to make the sugar stick to the cereal.
- Lactic Acid is an acid formed by bacteria acting on the milk sugar lactose found in Cheese, yogurt, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, candy, frozen desserts and fruit preserves.
- Lard is the fat from the abdomens of pigs, used in baked goods and refried beans.
- Lactose (saccharum lactin, D-lactose) is milk sugar, used as a culture medium for souring milk and in processed
- Lactylic Ctearate or called Stearic acid (octadecanoic acid) Tallow, other animal fats and oils used in vanilla flavouring, baked goods, beverages and candies.
- Lecithin Phospholipids from animal tissues, plants, and egg yolks found in breakfast cereal, candy, chocolate, baked goods, margarine and vegetable oil sprays.
- L-cysteine is derived from either human hair or poultry feathers, which is used as a softening agent and found in many bread products. Businesses that have acknowledged they have used L-cysteine include Lender’s, Einstein Bros., McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. The enzyme L-cysteine is used as a dough conditioner in a range of baked goods. L-cysteine is an amino acid sourced from duck and chicken feathers (when used as an additive, it’s referred to as E920). Avoid animal products by checking the ingredient list of all baked goods including bagels, pizza dough and pastries.
- Lutein is the deep yellow colouring found in marigolds or egg yolks used in commercial food colouring.
- Marshmallows have hidden gelatin made from animal products you need to find vegan mashmallow made with agar-agar. The collagen-rich mixture (gelatin) is what gives the sweet its firm and bouncy texture.
- Milk Chocolate contains milk dairy.
- Non Dairy Creamer, although it has non-dairy in its name, many such creamers contain casein, a protein derived from milk.
- Oleic acid (oleinic acid) is animal tallow (see Tallow) Synthetic butter, cheese, vegetable fats and oils, candy, ice
cream, beverages and condiments.
- Omega 3 Many products with labels that boast their heart-healthy ingredients contain Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish.
- Potato Chips, some flavored potato chips, especially those flavored with powdered cheese, can contain casein, whey or animal-derived enzymes.
- Pepsin is the enzyme from pigs’ stomachs used in cheese making.
- Peanuts, some brands of peanuts, such as Planters dry roasted peanuts, also contain gelatin because the substance helps salt and other spices adhere to the nuts.
- Pesto, unless there is a clear with Vegan symbol on the bottle it may contain Pecorino Romano and Grana Padano, both which, are made with the stomach lining of calves.
- Refined Sugar is not naturally white, so manufacturers process it using bone char, which is made from the bones of cattle. To avoid sugar filtered with bone char, purchase unrefined sugar or buy from brands that do not use bone-char filters. Fortunately, this practice was halted in Australia in 1990, and the carbon is now derived from coal.
- Suet is a hard white fat found around kidneys and loins of animals. Used in pies and baked goods.
- Sugar – Believe it or not, sugar is often filtered through charred animal bones as part of the bleaching process. You can avoid this by looking for unbleached sugar products or ones that are labeled “vegan.”
- Soup – Many canned and restaurant soups use chicken stock or broth as a base. Even miso soup often has a dashi broth, which is made using seaweed and bonito (a type of fish) flakes. Always check the ingredient list or ask the chef or server.
- Tallow solid sheep fat and cattle fat, separated from the membranous tissue used in margarine.
- Toothpaste contains Glycerin is a common ingredient in many toothpastes and what gives the paste-like quality to it. Turns out the glycerin (which can be derived from plants), is cheaper to derive from the fat taken out of animal bones. It is suspected that the chemical actually demineralizes teeth.
- Vitamin A (A1, retinol) Vitamin obtained from vegetables, egg yolks, or fish liver oil found in Vitamin supplements and fortification of foods with the Vitamin A1 produced by microorganisms and found in all animals products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels).
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from fish liver oils or lanolin, found in supplements and fortified foods. Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) is usually derived from lanolin (sheep’s wool), animal hides or fish oil. D2, a synthetic version, is not as bioavailable as D3.
- Whey is a watery liquid that separates from the solids in cheese-making, mostly found in biscuits, crackers, breads, cakes and processed foods.
- Wine and Beer, always opt for vegan alcohol. After fermentation, wine and beer are clarified to remove excess proteins, which if left would form long molecular strands. Isinglass, a membrane taken from the bladders of tropical fish, is often used as the clarifying agent, along with milk and egg.
Vegans also should be aware that many products labelled as “vegetarian” may contain egg and dairy byproducts. In addition to avoiding products that contain butter, milk, eggs, and honey, vegans should check ingredient labels for casein, albumin, whey, and lactose.
The best defense against unwittingly buying foods with animal-derived ingredients is quite simple: read the labels. As a rule, the more processed a food item is, the more likely it is to contain animal products. Or even simpler, just eat Whole-food Plant-based foods.