Sometimes the most innocent of foods can be exposed to contain animal by-products. Here’s a list
As the demand for this millennial favourite ever increases, farmers are starting to use less than natural methods of pollination to keep up. Bees are farmed for mass pollination using a method called migratory beekeeping. In these cases, they are transported in vast numbers on trucks, which disrupts the rhythm of their colony, exposes them to bee-borne diseases and pesticides, and they are confined in poorly ventilated boxes during the hottest parts of the summer, leaving them dehydrated and exhausted.
Avocados aren’t the only crop that relies on migratory beekeeping; almonds, kiwis, cherries, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and a host of other fruits and vegetables are also farmed using this method.
There are meat alternatives out there that are vegan, but not the majority of products from this popular company. Quorn products are made using mycoprotein which is perfect for vegetarians, but as a lot of these products contain egg and milk products, they’re not strictly vegan.
Aside from the fact that a lot of sweets use a honey glaze on their products, many – particularly jelly sweets – contain gelatine which is made from the skin, bone and tissue of cows and pigs.
Some confectioners also use a natural red dye called carmine in their products made from cochineal beetles, and shellac which is from the lac beetle.
Wine and beer
Unfortunately, a lot of real ales, cider and wine brands aren’t vegan-friendly because of the use of isinglass in the clarifying process. Isinglass comes from fish bladders and helps to remove impurities. Also, port and sherry tend to contain gelatine, and egg whites and milk protein are used in some wines.
The bread you buy may be labelled ‘suitable for vegans’, but we’re betting it also has a list of E-numbers on there. Some emulsifiers and preservatives are derived from animals, including L-cysteine (made from poultry feathers) which is used in bread and can be identified by the numbers E910, E920 and E921.
What you will find, though, is that the majority of bread loaves in the supermarket contain E472e (mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), E481 (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate) and E471 (mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids).
These can be either vegan or non-vegan, so it’s worth checking with the supplier whether or not their supply is definitely vegan and find out how often they check this.
When it comes to super-fresh bakery loaves, there’s also no guarantee it hasn’t come into contact with non-vegan ingredients like whey, egg and milk, and some are even made with whey which is a milk by-product.
A lot of companies use bone char to bleach and filter cane sugar. It’s literally made from charring animal bones. Still, a lot of companies do use vegan alternatives these days like granular carbon, but you’re not going to find the information on the back of the packet because there’s no actual bone in the sugar by the end of the process.