Sunday 2 November 2014

5 Hidden Nasties in Our Food that are NOT suitable for vegetarians

There are some things in foods that are strictly not suitable for vegetarians never mind vegans. Trouble is they can be hard to find.

1- Cochineal (also known as Carminic Acid, Carmines Natural Red 4 and E120). This is a sneaky little colorant that finds its way into everything from cakes to stews, confectionary and even cosmetics. It’s made by boiling and then pulverizing the bodies of tiny insects to get a reddish/pinkish and orange coloring. Watch out for anything that says it uses ‘natural colorings and flavorings’ because it may contain this nasty substance.

2-Gelatine (also spelt gelatin) comes from the bones of slaughtered animals, usually cows and pigs. It can be replaced by a number of ingredients in products like sweets (candies in America) and marshmallows, but it’s cheap and nasty which is why companies use it.

Killed for candies

3-Isinglass – This comes from the swim bladder of a fish and it’s used as a filtering agent in drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  The final drink does not contain isinglass as it’s for filtering only, but the fact the fish have to be dead first to get their bladders makes anything filtered with isinglass not suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Guinness uses isinglass.


4-Glycerin/Glycerol (Glycerine in the UK) – This can come from animal fat, but you can also get vegetarian glycerin. Unless a product specifically states it is vegetable in origin, it’s wise to assume it’s of the animal variety.  If in any doubt, ask the manufacturer as companies do not always put the source of the glycerin on the label.

Products that may contain animal glycerin - soap, cosmetics, toothpaste, and some foods like candies (sweets as they call them in the UK).

5-Whey - This is one of those tricky ingredients you’ll find, sitting somewhere in the middle of the list, usually in chocolate products.  Whey most often comes from the cheese making process where animal rennet is used, so is not suitable for vegetarians never mind vegans. It’s also used in some crisps. 

Unless it specifies that it comes from cow’s milk, whey is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans because to get it involves killing a calf.

Killed for whey

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