So, you’re vegan and loving the new lifestyle. Then foods come along that con you into eating animal products. You might be tucking into healthy, dairy free biscuits only to turn the package over and cringe at the animal rennet that is inside them. Not a fun experience. To prevent such instances in future, here are some animal ingredients to note:
- 1. Gelatin
When it is found in items such as desserts and marshmallows, you might not think that it comes from animals (gelatin is produced from beef and cow parts). Always check the ingredients before you indulge.
- 2. Carmine
Made from the cochineal beetles that are killed so that their red color can be used, carmine can be found in reddish food or beverages, such as grape juice and ice cream. It can also be found in some apple sauce brands.
- 3. Sugar
Some refined sugars are not vegan because of how they are processed. Some make use of filters made of bone char. Make sure that you choose sugars that do not make use of bones. You can spot them by sugars that are listed as 100 per cent beet sugar or cane sugar.
- 4. Fish
Worcester usually contains fish, so make sure you find a vegan version when shopping at the supermarket or wholefoods shop. Surprisingly, soft drinks such as Fanta Orange contain small traces of fish gelatine.
This protein is found in egg whites, but also animal blood and milk. It can be used to thicken or add texture to processed foods.
- 6. Animal Rennet
Also known as rennin, animal rennet is an enzyme that is taken from a young animal’s stomach (usually a calf). It is used in dairy products such as milk or cheese. Always make sure the product is listed as having non-animal rennet. Whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process, often also uses rennet.
- 7. Animal Phosphate
Bone phosphate is derived from the steaming of animal bones.It can be used as an anti-caking agent that prevents certain food particles from sticking together, or it can be an emulsifier. This preserves a blend of substances that usually cannot mix. Animal phosphate can be present as a filler in tablets!
Don’t Ignore the 'E' Ingredients!
On your ingredients names, there are often 'E' numbers that appear but which consumers might not realize contain animal products. These numbers are really just codes for certain food additives. Here are some important ones:
- E120 - Cochineal colouring to make foods pink or red.
- E441 or E485 - Gelatine.
- E542 - Bone phosphate.
- E635 - Disodium 5' ribonucleotides (usually found in stock cubes and salty snacks to boost flavour).
- E1105 - Lysozyme (made from eggs).
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.