|Ingredient||What It Is||Where You Find It|
|Albumin||The protein component of egg whites||Processed foods|
|Anchovies||Small, silver-colored fish||Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing|
|Animal shortening||Butter, suet, lard||Packaged cookies and crackers, refried beans, flour tortillas, ready-made piecrusts|
|Carmine (carmine cochineal or carminic acid)||Red coloring made from a ground-up insect||Bottled juices, colored pasta, some candies, frozen pops|
|Casein (caseinate)||A milk protein||Dairy products and some soy cheeses.|
|Gelatin||Protein from bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of animals||Marshmallows, yogurt, frosted cereals, gelatin-containing desserts|
|Glucose (dextrose)||Animal tissues and fluids (some glucose can come from fruits)||Baked goods, soft drinks, candies, frosting|
|Glycerides (mono-, di-, and triglycerides)||Glycerol from animal fats or plants||Processed foods|
|Isinglass||Gelatin from the air bladder of sturgeon and other freshwater fish||Alcoholic beverages, some jellied desserts|
|Lactic acid||An acid formed by bacteria acting on the milk sugar lactose||Cheese, yogurt, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, candy, frozen desserts, fruit preserves|
|Lactose (saccharum lactin, D-lactose)||Milk sugar||As a culture medium for souring milk and in processed foods|
|Lactylic stearate||Salt of stearic acid (see stearic acid)||As a conditioner in bread dough|
|Lard||Fat from the abdomens of pigs||Baked goods, refried beans|
|Lecithin||Phospholipids from animal tissues, plants, and egg yolks||Breakfast cereal, candy, chocolate, baked goods, margarine, vegetable oil sprays|
|Lutein||Deep yellow coloring from marigolds or egg yolks||Commercial food coloring|
|Oleic acid (oleinic acid)||Animal tallow||Synthetic butter, cheese, vegetable fats and oils, candy, ice cream, beverages, condiments|
|Pepsin||Enzyme from pigs’ stomachs||Cheese|
|Stearic acid (octadecanoic acid)||Tallow, other animal fats and oils||Vanilla flavoring, baked goods, beverages, candy|
|Suet||Hard white fat around kidneys and loins of animals||Margarine, mincemeat, pastries|
|Tallow||Solid fat of sheep and cattle separated from the membranous tissues||Margarine|
|Vitamin A (A1, retinol)||Vitamin obtained from vegetables, egg yolks, or fish liver oil||Vitamin supplements, fortification of foods|
|Vitamin B12||Vitamin produced by microorganisms and found in all animal products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels) is vegan||Supplements, fortified foods|
|Vitamin D3||Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from fish liver oils or lanolin||Supplements, fortified foods|
|Whey||Watery liquid that separates from the solids in cheese-making||Crackers, breads, cakes, processed foods|
Take a look at our list of foods that aren’t vegetarian- or vegan-friendly.
Bagels and bread products
Many bread products contain an amino acid known as L-cysteine, which is used as a softening agent. L-cysteine is derived from either human hair or poultry feathers, and it can be found in many popular brand-name products. Businesses that have acknowledged they’ve used L-cysteine include Lender’s, Einstein Bros., McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
Beer and wine
Isinglass, a gelatin-like substance collected from the bladders of freshwater fish like the sturgeon, is used in the clarification process of many beers and wines. Other agents used for the process of fining include egg white albumen, gelatin and casein. To check if a beer or wine is vegan, visit Barnivore.com.
Numerous foods contain gelatin, 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, including Altoids, gummy candies and Starburst chews, among others.
Also, many red candies contain a dye made from the extracts of dried bodies of the Coccus cacti bugs. The ingredient is often listed as carmine, cochineal or carminic acid. PETA maintains a list of animal-free candy.
Most Caesar salad dressings contain anchovy paste, but there are vegetarian brands available, so be sure to read the label before you pour.
It’s fairly common knowledge that Jell-O contains gelatin, but did you know you can make vegan Jell-O by using agar-agar, a gelatinous substance made from algae? Here’s our recipe.
Although it has non-dairy in its name, many such creamers contain casein, a protein derived from milk.
Many products with labels that boast their heart-healthy ingredients contain omega-3fatty acids derived from fish. For example, Tropicana’s Hearth Healthy orange juice’s label lists tilapia, sardine and anchovy as ingredients.
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.
Some flavored potato chips, especially those flavored with powdered cheese, can contain casein, whey or animal-derived enzymes. PETA maintains a list of vegan-friendly snacks.
Sugar isn’t 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 don’t use bone-char filters.
Many canned refried beans are made with hydrogenated lard, so check labels to ensure you’re buying vegetarian beans.
Although it’s rare, some foods are flavored with Castoreum, a beaver anal secretion. As gross at that sounds, the FDA classifies it as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” and Castoreum is typically listed as “natural flavoring.” The additive is most often used in baked goods as a vanilla substitute, but it’s also been used in alcoholic beverages, puddings, ice cream, candy and chewing gum.
This popular sauce is made with anchovies, but vegetarian-friendly brands are available.
Here are 8 foods that could contain ‘hidden’ animal products:
- Bagels – The Huffington Post reports thatseveral bagel and breads contain the ingredient known as L-cysteine. This amino acid is reportedly commonly derived from human hair or poultry feathers. Wonderbread and Lenders are just a few offenders.
- Red Juices, candies, and popsicles – A red colorant known as carmine, cochineal or carminic acid actually comes from a ground-up beetle. Dannon uses (or has used) crushed beetles (carmine) to color its yogurts.
- Marshmallows – Gelatin is not only found in marshmallows, but also in desserts and cereals. It is a protein derived from animal bones, tendons, cartilage, and skin.
- Beer – Many beer-makers, including Guinness, use something called isinglass, which is a gelatin from fish bladders. (Beer makers also use gelatin in their brews).
- Berry-flavored foods – Castoreumis considered a “natural flavor,” so many food makers don’t go beyond labeling it as such in the ingredient’s list. However, this flavor is derived from the anal glands of beavers. Yes, really.
- Orange juice with Omega-3 – Be cautious of any foods that have added Omega-3 fats. In the case of Tropicana’s Heart Health with Omega-3 orange juice, the added fats are from fish oil.
- Worcestershire sauce – Most people are aware of the animal-derived ingredient(s) in Worcestershire sauce. Just in case you aren’t, however, this sauce contains anchovies.
- Pickles – Some pickles, olives, and fruit preserves contain lactic acid. Lactic acidis a dairy product, specifically an acid formed by bacteria on lactose.
In this day and age, everyone want to be informed about foods, their ingredients, and the origins of it all. It’s a tall order when food producers are less than forthcoming about their methods and formulas, but one we must adhere to if we want to be truly conscientious consumers.