Vegetarian + Vegan Issues

Published on May 14th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe


Eating Vegan: The “Shared Equipment” Question

eating veganendangered species chocolate

I got a really great comment/question on my post about vegan chocolate about shared equipment and wanted to share it with you guys and get your take!

Vegankitty64 asked:

the endangered species candy wrapper says its processed on equipment that also produces candy with milk in is it still vegan?? just wondering im a vegitarian im thinking about switching to being a vegan

I know this is a touchy subject for some vegans, so I’m going to share my answer, but I would also like to hear from you guys! Do you buy food processed in a facility that also processes animal products? Here’s my reply:

That’s a good question, and one personal to many vegans. I’m OK with chocolate produced in the same factory as non-vegan chocolate, as long as the bar I’m buying doesn’t contain animal ingredients in the recipe.

I guess it depends on your reasons for going vegan and how strict you want to be. Rather than punish Endangered Species Chocolate for being unable to afford a separate, vegan facility, I’d prefer to reward them for creating so many vegan chocolate bars, but other vegans are not OK with that. For me, it’s about voting with my wallet and supporting companies that produce vegan foods, but if your goal is to completely cut out any trace of animal products, you’d want to avoid chocolate with that kind of labeling.

I hope this helps! I almost feel like it raises more questions than it answers!

It feels like this is one of the areas where veganism has the potential to be flexible, and I’d love to hear your take on it and why you feel that way. Share away in the comments!

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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 .

8 Responses to Eating Vegan: The “Shared Equipment” Question

  1. Lisa B. says:

    I’m with you on this one 100%. I’m not worried about milk cooties. The equipment is cleaned between batches. They only have to mention the “shared equipment” on the label for people who follow a kosher diet or people who are profoundly allergic to dairy, because there might be a trace dairy molecule or two in the vegan bars.

    • Georgette says:

      Its tough to be vegan and avoid ALL animal products if you consider the cross contamination. We do refuse to eat at meat serving restaurants. And try to avoid manufacturers that also manufacture animal products, but this is almost impossible. We do enjoy the new Vegan Becel margerine for example. It a personal choice. I hate the labels that say “may contain traces of milk or egg”. I am guessing they are stating this because it is manufactured on the same equipment as a non vegan product.

      • You’re the second person to bring up the “shared equipment” versus “may contain,” and I’m really intrigued about what the difference is. I don’t worry too much about either, but it seems like companies wouldn’t distinguish unless they had to, right? I’m going to try to find out!

  2. I feel the same way. If I were to eliminate all foods that are made in companies that make other non-vegan foods, my family would probably disown me, ha! One day I hope to make mostly raw and fresh foods so this wouldn’t be as big of an issue, but for now I feel the same way as Becky.

  3. Alexis says:

    Agree! The equipment is cleaned between different product production, so I feel it’s still vegan. I do avoid foods where labels say ‘may contain…’ though, because I’m not as confident about those ones.

  4. Azrayel says:

    My partner and I are both vegan. We wish we could avoid all animal products but in cases like this, I think it is more important to encourage vegan options than it is to get upset about the accidental inclusion of traces of animal products. The most important factor for me is supply and demand. As long as animal products are not part of the production process or ingredients, we’re happy to buy (other ethical considerations aside).

  5. Adam Green says:

    “Xocai Healhty Chocolate” is “vegan, vegetarian, and diabetic friendly!” “Dark chocolaty” is full of “heart healthy antioxidants” and can also help you “lose a few pounds!”
    ~Adam Paul Green

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