hidden animal products

Where Animal Products Hide

The following are important considerations when you are a vegetarian or hosting a vegetarian is to understand where some animal products hide.

  • Gelatin is derived from boiling the bones and hides of animals processed for meat and are found in:
    • There is a brand called Bakol which is suitable for vegetarians.
    • Around Easter time it becomes easy to find kosher or vegan marshmallows that are suitable for vegetarians. Stores like Trader Joe’s are even carrying them around Thanksgiving so vegetarians can enjoy traditional sweet potatoes with marshmallows.
    • Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts. Gelatin is used to help the salt stick to the peanuts.
    • Altoids, gummy candies and Starburst chews.
  • Most Caesar salad dressings contain anchovy paste, so check the label to assure it’s vegetarian or make your own at home.
  • While most would assume non-dairy means no milk, a lot of non-dairy creamers contain casein which is a protein derived from milk. Califia Farms and So Delicious brands are Vegan friendly. Same goes for non-dairy cheese. Check the labels to assure there is no casein.
  • Omega 3 products often contain fish, so check labels when buying foods that are advertised as having Omega 3. For instance, Tropicana’s Heart Healthy orange juice lists tilapia, sardine and anchovies among its ingredients.
  • Many types of refried beans are made with lard, so check labels to be sure you are buying vegetarian beans.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Some brands contain anchovies. Annie’s and Edward & Sons are vegan.
  • Some cheeses are made with animal rennet. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods distinguish between animal rennet and vegetable rennet on their labels. You can easily make ricotta and soft mozzarella cheeses at home using vegetable rennet and they are delicious.
  • Strawberry or other ‘red’ yogurts – You may assume the color comes from berries, but often times, the color comes from insects called cochineals which are ground up to make the red color. Dannon and Yoplait yogurt use cochineals. Go for an organic brand such as Stoneyfield that uses real fruit. Also beware that Starbucks Strawberry and Crème Frappuccino, Strawberry nerds, Oceanspray Ruby Red Grapefruit juice and Mango Snapple get their coloring from cochineals.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream – Be sure to select ice cream that uses real vanilla, not a vanilla substitute; otherwise, you might be consuming castoreum, which is a substance secreted by beavers that smells like vanilla and used in ice cream. Breyers does not use castoreum and is safe for dairy consuming vegetarians.
  • BBQ Flavored Potato Chips such as Baked Lay’s, contain chicken. Ironically regular BBQ flavored Lay’s do not contain chicken.
  • Non-organic bananas are sprayed with a preservative that contains shrimp and crab shells which infiltrate the fruit. Buy organic bananas if you are not a pescatarian or have a shellfish sensitivity.
  • Vegetable soups – If you are eating out, you may assume that vegetable soups are made with vegetable stock, but often times, they are made with chicken stock. Some store brands also use animal or beef stock for vegetable soup. Ask your server and read labels or make soup at home to be sure you are getting a truly vegetarian soup.