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How To Identify A Vegan Product!

  • Tanvi Sonawane
  • 2733

It’s easy to know which products are vegan or cruelty-free when they have a “vegan” trademark or the cruelty free logo on them. The struggle is real when you come across products with a vegetarian label on them and then it’s up to you to check the ingredients’ list to figure out whether it’s vegan-friendly or not.

We are aware of some of them because they’re common knowledge or are listed under the accidentally vegan section on the web. But for the rest of them, we’d have to do our own research and being cautious while purchasing them!

Here are a few animal-derived ingredients that are often used in products that we consume on a daily basis. We’ve put an exhaustive list together to make your life simple.

In Food

Often, animal residues are utilised in processed foods after it acquires a fancy chemical name which is actually just a cover up used to make it sound more acceptable.

1. Albumen - Another word for egg whites, it is usually present in baked goods like cakes and pastries.

2. Cultured dextrose - Generally, dextrose is derived from plants but this kind is obtained from dairy. Hence, it is not vegan. This is most commonly found in salad, spreads, and dips.

3. Casein - It is one of the primary protein type in milk. Other than the obvious prominent dairy products like sour cream and cream cheese, this can also be found in protein powders, nutrition bars, and a few non-dairy cheeses as it helps create the desired texture.

4. Carmine - The red dye which is used for food coloring and other artificial coloring purposes is obtained by crushing and boiling beetles.

5. Gelatin -  Ever wonder where the leftovers of the meat industries gobones, horns, etc. Well, gelatin is obtained by boiling particular leftovers of the animals. To make productive use of them, they’re used in marshmallows, Jell-O, Gummy bears, candies, and the likes.

6. Honey - It is directly derived from honeybees which is their secretion and thus not vegan.

7. Lactose - This is the sugar obtained from the milk of mammals. It’s most commonly found in dairy foods, tablets, certain dry cereals, sherbets, and creamed vegetables.

8. Lard - Commonly found in refried beans, lard is fat derived from the abdomens of pigs.

9. Lecithin - It can either be plant-based or animal-based, commonly found in baked goods, breakfast cereal, candy, and vegetable oil sprays. Unless it is specifically marked that lecithin is from plant sources, we should avoid using that product.

10. Margarine - Even though it is made from soybean and other oils, some brands do contain dairy in them in the form of whey or lactose.

11. Whey - It is one of the two proteins of milk; a serum from milk and is used in foods and cheese-making process. Basically it is a by-product during the curd formation. Other than milk, cheese, and yogurt, it is also found in protein powders and nutrition bars.

12. Isinglass - An ingredient derived from fish which is commonly found in alcoholic beverages, jellies, and glues.

13. Musk oil - Musk deer are killed in order to obtain the gland which gives the required aroma containing musk.

14. Palm oil - It is technically vegan but several ethical vegans do not use it as the production of palm oil is a major cause of deforestation and destruction of the habitat of several species including orangutans.

In Clothing

Usually derived from skin, fur, and feathers of animals. Other than the ubiquitous items like wool and silk, there are a few more materials to look out for.

1. Alpaca - Wool derived from a domesticated mammal species. Owners treat these animals ruthlessly as they demand a lot of care and attention.

2. Angora - Obtained from rabbits wherein, wool is clipped and shaved; mostly done in a hurry. It leaves them with deep scars and wounds which are mostly ignored. Sweaters and accessories, especially hats, make use of this kind of wool. Because of it’s high quality, it is used for knitted items.

3. Cashmere - Fabric made from wool of goats wherein wool from 2-3 goats is enough to make one unit. It is utilised in making sweaters, dresses, shawls, scarves, gloves, and expensive blankets. Those goats are deemed unusable later on and sold to butchers.

4. Suede - Primarily made from cows and pigs. The animals are required to be slaughtered while they are fully conscious. Used in apparel, handbags, and shoes due to its velvet-like structure.

5. Silk - Live silkworms are dropped in boiling water in order to obtain silk.

In Beauty and Household Products

1. Beeswax - This is secreted by bees to build their hives. To extract this, workers cut off the queen bee’s wings and artificially inseminate her. It is found in several cosmetic products such as lip balm, lip gloss, blush, eyeliner, etc.

2. Civet - The civet musk which acts as a stabilizing agent for perfumes is obtained from the anal glands of the civet cats of Africa.

3. Guanine - Derived from fish scales. Used in several shampoos, nail polish, and eyeshadows as it provides a shimmering lustre. All of that at the expense of the lives of numerous fish.

4. Lanolin - Known for its moisturizing effect, it is derived from the fat extracted from sheep’s wool after it has been shorn with a sharp instrument. Found in cosmetics such as skin creams, ointments, sunscreen lotions, toiletries, and certain medicines.

5. Keratin - Protein derived from animal’s horns, feathers, claws, and hooves. Found in shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, and hair smoothing creams.

6. Plastic bags - Another reason to avoid plastic bag for all the environment-conscious people out there is that majority of plastic bags are made from sli agents which is derived from animal fat.

7. Soaps - The very thing you think will clean your body contains the remnants of animals like gelatin and casein. However, there are many brands that make vegan soaps. All you need to do is check the ingredients' list to find out whether the particular product you're using is vegan or not.

8. Pearls - Most oysters don’t survive the process of culturing which forces the extractors to surgically open the oysters and retrieve the pearl.

Miscellaneous Items

1. Fireworks - They are not so stunning after all. Fireworks contain stearic acid which is obtained from fatty tissues of animals.

2. Paint - Paints aren’t as beautiful as the art created by it. They are made of a lot of animal ingredients like gelatin, bone charcoal, and casein.

3. Condoms - Different kinds of condoms contain ingredients like gelatin and casein derived from fats of animals. Then there are also some made out of lamb and sheep intestines.

4. Nail Polish - Apart from it being tested on animals, they also contain animal ingredients like fish scales, stearic acid, and oleic acid (which is derived from animal oils). On the other hand, you can check the ingredients' list provided by many brands to ensure you're not using the non-vegan product.

5. Tampons - They do not have a naturally white colour. It is added when bleached with chlorine after being tested on animals.

6. Tires - If you look closely, leather is not the only thing about vehicles that is not vegan. Most of the tires manufactured contain stearic acid derived from animal fats.

7. Crayons - One of the ingredients that gives crayons the kind of smell they have is due to tallow (rendered beef fat).

8. Silver foil -  While many of us can be misled into believing that these are vegan, well they are not even vegetarian; let alone vegan. Silver foil is made from silver, but could have been processed with the intestines of bulls.

It is not possible to achieve perfection, but we can try our best. Animal ingredients or their by-products keep lurking in so many products we consume in our daily lives, which is why it is always better to check for the ingredients and rely on plant-based and plant-derived sources. There are plenty of alternatives available.

AUTHOR

Tanvi Sonawane

I love writing, travelling and pilates. I believe in that we all are part of this world for a reason, and I'm still in search of my calling.

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