Animal products in food you would least expect

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you’re used to avoiding certain foods for obvious reasons — steak, chicken, pork. However, you may be surprised at the number of foods out there that you think are meat-free or suitable to eat on a vegan diet that actually contain animal products.

Animal ingredients such as gelatin, bone, char, casein, shellac, and carmine are found in a lot of the foods that you think are safe to eat if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. Examples of unexpected food with animal products are some of the sugar-coated breakfast cereals, that glass of beer or wine you have with lunch or dinner, and some of your favorite snacks, such as gummy bears and Jell-O.

Food labels can not only be confusing, but they can be misleading. What can be particularly worrisome if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan is that, even after reading a list of ingredients on a food that you assume is safe to eat, it could still contain animal by-products. For example, the pesticides used to spray bananas can contain shellfish, or the dye that’s used to color red candies may contain carmines, made of an extract from the bodies of dead cacti bugs.

Check your food labels

For vegans and vegetarians, checking food labels for animal products is very important. If you’ve not sure what an ingredient is, do your homework to ensure that you’re not eating foods that contain hidden animal products.

There are a surprising number of foods that, as a vegetarian or vegan, you may think are safe to eat, but that contain stealth animal products including:

  • Bagels — some contain L-cysteine, derived from poultry feathers, as a softening agent
  • Peanuts — some brands may contain gelatin
  • Potato chips — some flavored brands contain casein or whey, derived from milk
  • Caesar dressing — contain anchovy paste
  • Refined sugar — contains bone char, made from cattle, to give a white color

Product ingredient lists frequently change, so it’s important be vigilant about checking them when you buy products marketed for vegetarians and vegans. Choose organic and natural products that don’t have a laundry list of unfamiliar or strange sounding ingredients. The less processed, the better.

More than just food

Many vitamins and other supplements gelatin. It’s a very common ingredient used to coat vitamin capsules in order to make them easier to swallow. As gelatin is an animal product, these vitamins are not suitable to take for vegans and vegetarians.

At Vibrant Nutraceuticals, we know that the best vitamins for vegans and vegetarians are those that are 100% plant sourced. Our Vegan Vitamin D3 gel caps and our D3 + B12 gummies are free of animal byproducts and are a great source of these two essential vitamins that have been found to be deficient in the diets of people who don’t eat meat or dairy.

Check out our website to learn about multivitamins without gelatin and all of our products for vegans and vegetarians.