Animal Ingredients and E-numbers

A lot of animal additives that are used in foods and cosmetics go by a different name so you may not know they are not vegan. Look out for these ingredients:

  • Beeswax/E-901: A wax made by bees. Some vegans don’t see beeswax as not-vegan because it didn’t come from the bee itself, while others avoid it because it exploits bees. Can be found in some foods as a glazing agent (jelly beans, candy coated sweets, etc.); found in other products such as candles, lip balm, and lotion.
  • Carmine/cochineal/E-120/Natural Red 4: Made from crushed cochineal beetles. Used in red food colouring. Often found in food and sweets that are red and pink.
  • Casein: A milk protein that is mostly found in dairy products. It was once widely used in many soy cheese alternatives. That is rare now but always check the label as it has been in the ingredients of some foods labelled “dairy-free” before.
  • Collagen: Made from skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. Often used as lip fillers, as you may already know.
  • Gelatin/E-441: Made by boiling the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals. Found in a lot of gummy sweets, including Haribo and marshmallows. I have found Beef Gelatine in strong mints, and Fish Gelatine in those silver ball cake decorations.
  • Honey: Similar to beeswax, it doesn’t exactly come from bees but is made by bees so can be seen as exploitation. It is found in some cereals, granola bars, and various other sticky/sweet foods.
  • Keratin: The protein that is the main constituent of hair, feathers, wool, horns, claws, hoofs, etc. Found in a lot of hair products.
  • L-cysteine/E-910/E-920/E-921: An amino acid synthesised from hair, feathers, horns, etc. Used as a proving agent and preservative in some factory made breads.
  • Lactose: A sugar found in milk. Not to be confused with Lactic acid, which is vegan friendly.
  • Lanolin/E-913: A waxy, greasy substance found on sheep’s wool. Can be found in moisturisers and cosmetics, and some multivitamins and fortified food.
  • Lard: Animal fat. Can be found in baked goods.
  • Shellac/E-904: A resin secreted by the lac beetle. Found on the coating of sweets (Jelly beans and tic tacs come to mind).
  • Tallow: Animal fat. Can be found in soap, crayons, candles, and a small amount is present in the new UK bank notes.
  • Whey: A milk by-product. Found in some cereals, protein bars and powders, and crackers.
  • Vitamin D3: can be made with Lanolin. If the product doesn’t specify that it is vegan, it probably isn’t.

If I have missed any out, please let me know in the comment section.

I will soon be doing a series of lists of vegan alternatives to certain foods like different types of meat and cheese. Let me know what you would like to see on those lists.

Farewell, until we meet again.


Sources and further reading

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