There are a multitude of reasons that people abstain from animal products in their diet. For religious reasons, health reasons, environmental reasons, or to protect animals. But whatever your cause, you should take the time to get informed about all the foods that may contain hidden animal products.
Lists like this have been written again and again, but with good reason. Without them, vegans and vegetarians who are new to the lifestyle, or those who simply trust the food industry to be transparent, may unknowingly eat meat or animal-derived ingredients.
Here are 8 foods that could contain ‘hidden’ animal products:
- 1. Bagels – The Huffington Post reports that several bagel and breads contain the ingredient known as L-cysteine. This amino acid is reportedly commonly derived from human hair or poultry feathers. Wonderbread and Lenders are just a few offenders.
- 2. Red Juices, candies, and popsicles – A red colorant known as carmine, cochineal or carminic acid actually comes from a ground-up beetle. Dannon uses (or has used) crushed beetles (carmine) to color its yogurts.
- 3. Marshmallows – Gelatin is not only found in marshmallows, but also in desserts and cereals. It is a protein derived from animal bones, tendons, cartilage, and skin.
- 4. Beer – Many beer-makers, including Guinness, use something called isinglass, which is a gelatin from fish bladders. (Beer makers also use gelatin in their brews).
- 5. Berry-flavored foods – Castoreum is considered a “natural flavor,” so many food makers don’t go beyond labeling it as such in the ingredient’s list. However, this flavor is derived from the anal glands of beavers. Yes, really.
- 6. Orange juice with Omega-3 – Be cautious of any foods that have added Omega-3 fats. In the case of Tropicana’s Heart Health with Omega-3 orange juice, the added fats are from fish oil.
- 7. Worcestershire sauce – Most people are aware of the animal-derived ingredient(s) in Worcestershire sauce. Just in case you aren’t, however, this sauce contains anchovies.
- 8. Pickles – Some pickles, olives, and fruit preserves contain lactic acid. Lactic acid is a dairy product, specifically an acid formed by bacteria on lactose.
In this day and age, everyone want to be informed about foods, their ingredients, and the origins of it all. It’s a tall order when food producers are less than forthcoming about their methods and formulas, but one we must adhere to if we want to be truly conscientious consumers.