Hidden animal ingredients can be found in the most unlikely places.
The emergence of the “vegan” label over the last couple of years saved many of us hours of searching through ingredients to find out if we can eat a product are not.
However, animal ingredients do crop up in a number of surprising places, and it’s worth double checking whether or not what you’re using or consuming is actually animal-friendly – especially when it comes to the products listed below.
This is by no means and exhaustive list and other products such as toothpaste and perfume can often turn out to be non-vegan (or even vegetarian) too. But the good news is there are vegan alternatives in all instances. The rapid rise in the number of vegans has meant that firms have been quick to leap onto the vegan bandwagon sensing a profit in the cruelty-free market.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s some of the products that may not be vegan…
Plastic bags. Yes, these environmentally-unfriendly irritants that litter our beaches and beauty spots may also contain stearic acid, which more often than not comes from beef tallow. It’s known as a slip agent and is aptly named in this instance as it means the bags are less likely to stick together. The outcome for the cows, sadly is more of a sticky end. Just one of an abundance of reasons to ditch the plastic. It’s found in other plastic items too.
Fireworks. Talking of steric acid, it also stops metal powders from oxidising and is therefore used to coat fireworks. Of course, the use of fireworks in general can be seen as less than animal-friendly.
Condoms. It’s true that vegans are sexier and better in bed than non-vegans, but they need to play safe in the bedroom too – and this includes checking which brand of condom you’re using. Most latex condoms use casein in their production, as this is a milk derivative it is, of course, non-vegan, However, there are plenty of alternatives available, including Glyde condoms.
Chips. Chip shop chips to be more precise. Sadly, even in 2016, a great number of chip shops still use beef fat to fry their products in, so asking is always a good idea. Some shops actually promote the fact they fry in animal fat as they believe it’s more traditional. If you are buying from a chip shop that uses vegetable oil, it is also worth noting if their chips are fried with the fish, sausages etc, or separately.
Worcestershire sauce. A quick scan of the ingredients on the label of this popular condiment reveals that it contains anchovies. For those who don’t know (and there are many), the anchovy is a fish, so if you see it listed as an ingredient then that product is worth avoiding. Incidentally, one urban myth is that DW40 contains fish oil – it does not.
Paint. Even some “eco” or “natural” paints contain animal ingredients, so it’s worth doing a bit of research before buying. Oxgall is a wetting agent in some watercolours and the name says it all sadly. Animal bones have been known to be used in the production of ivory black plaints too. Some sepia inks derive from squid sacs too. Very nice!
Tattoos. Many tattooists use vegan inks these days, but some black inks contain bone char. Shellac and glycerine also can come from animal products, so again, it’s worth asking. What would be worse than getting a vegan tattoo that wasn’t actually vegan?
Beer and wine. Many new vegans don’t realise that their favourite tipple may contain isinglass – or fish bladders to give them their less appealing name – more often than not used as a fining agent. There are plenty of lists online listing which wines and beers are vegan and which are not.
Pills. Capsules often contain gelatine in their outer coatings. Gelatine is an animal by-product that is often found in sweets too. There are usually alternatives available.
LCD screens. The liquid crystals found in many LCD TV, phone and computer screens can originate from cholesterol taken from animals. How do you know if yours does or not? I guess only an email to the company will reveal this. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know this until I started researching this blog. Animal ingredients really are a minefield (a graveyard too).