You're just about to purchase a food at the supermarket when you scan the ingredients list and discover that it contains a small amount of animal product. It's really a small amount - the ingredient is placed towards the end of the list. Should you turn a blind eye to it or leave the food behind?
- What PETA Says
In an article published on Manchester Evening News, reference was made to advice from PETA regarding packaged foods and the possible animal-derived ingredients they contain. PETA advises that scrutinising ingredients lists and obsessing over any tiny amounts of animal products can be too much stress and advises people not to refuse such foods. The important thing is to stick 'to a vegetarian or vegan diet... to help animals and reduce suffering', PETA claims. They add that this is accomplished by choosing vegetable-based foods over meat like animal flesh in the form of chicken. It's therefore acceptable to let small traces of animal product slide.
- Is PETA right?
On the one hand, PETA's comments make sense: there will always be packaged foods that contain small traces of animal-derived ingredients and sometimes you might even be consuming them without realizing it because they can be listed as words that you might not associate with animal ingredients, such as casein or monoglycerides. There's also the element of motivation to consider. It can feel really bleak to think that you have to scour ingredients lists to avoid any and every trace of animal products - you might be left wondering, 'Is there anything I can actually eat??!' and this might cause you to relapse, going back to eating meat because vegan diets are just too stressful. In that case, turning a blind eye to the traces of animal ingredients in products can be beneficial to keeping you on track with your main goals (that is, avoiding eggs, meat, and dairy). However, on the other hand, being 100% vegan means sticking to a strict 'no animal ingredients' policy. Letting in small traces of animal products can also be dangerous - it might start with small traces and end up being the larger quantities that you allow. In addition, a small trace is not comforting to vegans who don't want to consume any animal products at all. Imagine if a product claimed to contain only small quantities of human flesh. Would that be okay? What about if a product had a small trace of poison? These are extreme examples but being vegan is extreme - in a good way! - and yet it makes perfect sense. No animal products or ingredients at all means just that and not settling for less which conflicts with your vegan values.
- Choose What Works For You
Of course, every vegan will view this differently. You might be against any animal consumption, in any shape or form; or perhaps you might be of the opinion that the big choices - such as not eating chicken or beef - matter more than the smaller ones. Whatever the case, it's interesting to know PETA's take on the issue.