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What hidden non-vegan ingredients lurk in your food?

Ever pick up a product and check the ingredients only to see a long list of incomprehensible gobbledygook? How will you ever know if it’s vegan or not?

Hidden non vegan ingredients in food

You can always spot a vegan in a supermarket, they’re the one who is going from product to product, reading every label, checking the usual long list of ingredients for potential animal derived inclusions. If you want to become a professional label checker then it’s important to know what you are looking for as not all the ingredients will be familiar. Here is a list of ingredients that are a definite ‘no no’ when working out if a product is vegan or not.

List of Hidden Non Vegan Ingredients

  • Albumen/Albumin – typically from eggs
  • Aspic – alternative to gelatine but made from meat, fish, stock and gelatine
  • Beeswax (E901) – made from the honeycomb of a beehive
  • Carmine/Cochineal – a food colouring made by crushing a beetle
  • Casein – from milk
  • Cod liver oil – check those vitamins & supplements
  • Collagen – used in cosmetics, but taken from the skin, bones and connective tissues of many animals
  • Elastin – similar to collagen, derived from cows
  • Gelatine/Gelatin – found in products from baked goods to sweets, a product made by boiling animal parts
  • Honey – made by bees. Find out why it isn’t vegan here
  • Isinglass – or fish bladder, used in the filtering/fining process for wine and beer
  • Keratin – made using the skin, bones and tissues of many animals
  • Lactose – from milk
  • Lanolin (E913) – found in many cosmetics, from the oil glands of sheep and extracted from wool
  • Lard/Tallow – animal fat, found in cooking and even money
  • Pepsin – from the stomachs of pigs, a clotting agent used in vitamins
  • Propolis – bees use it in the making of their hives
  • Royal Jelly – used as a remedy, bees secrete this from their throat glands
  • Shellac – used in waxing fruit & veg, taken from beetle secretion
  • Vitamin D3 – made with lanolin (see above) or fish oil, found in cosmetics. ‘Lichen’ is the vegan alternative
  • Whey – found in so many products from crisps to baked goods but comes from dairy

Please note that there are many more ingredients that could be non-vegan, always check and double check or simply look for the Vegan logo.

Feeling skint? Why not check out our guide to Eating Vegan Food When You Are Broke



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