Vegetarian + Vegan shy bull. cc photo by flickr user biggreymare

Published on June 30th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Eating Vegan: Hidden Animal Ingredients

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Eating Vegan: Hidden Animal Ingredients

We touched on hidden animal ingredients briefly when talking about the gelatin problem, but there are a number of other animal products in food that you might not suspect just based on the name. Here’s a roundup of some common hidden animal ingredients. Feel free to add any you know of in the comments!

Gelatin – made from boiled skin, cartilage, and bones
Sugar – conventional sugar is often processed with bone char to whiten it
Isinglass – used in fining wine, this is made from fish bladders
Casein – a milk protein found in some non-dairy cheeses
Albumin – egg whites
Cochineal – found in some red fruit juices, made from insect blood (also known as carmine, natural red #4, or crimson lake)
Lactic Acid – unless they specify that this is plant-derived or vegan, it could come from blood or muscle tissue
Whey – another milk derivative

These are just some of the more common animal ingredients that I’ve noticed during label-reading. If you’re looking for a really comprehensive list, Krishna.com has you covered. Over at Sustainablog, Justin has an excellent roundup of some more hidden animal products beyond what you’d find in food.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by biggreymare

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://justinvankleeck.blogspot.com Justin Van Kleeck

    Hey Becky, thank you for the link! And I had no idea about sugar…man, I am glad I do not use it or products that include it. Do you know how widespread bone char use is in the sugar industry? That is, is that the preferred or most common method? I am just curious. And thank you also for mentioning lactic acid and casein. I have often found that a good way to be warned about animal ingredients is to look at the allergens listings, and you can also look for a Parve indication (for Kosher dietary laws), which usually indicates no dairy.

    • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

      As far as I understand, it’s pretty widespread. Whole Foods sells vegan sugar, and Florida’s Crystals are vegan, I believe.

      That’s a great tip about looking for allergy info or the Pareve indication!

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