You’ve probably previously figured out that OJ with omega-3s could mean fish oil and that most marshmallows are made with gelatin. But those aren’t the only unknown sources of animal goods out there. We combed the racks — and the produce aisle — and found some doozies. Get equipped to be grossed out.
It’s not just the name that’s tough to swallow, the quirky sauce that combines pizzazz to Bloody Mary’s and marinades, but otherwise, just hang out on the door of your fridge, is made of vinegar, molasses, sugar, onions, spices, and anchovies (eek!). Fermented fish is what gives Lee & Perrins that umami taste.
Lucky Charms aren’t so magically delightful. Even if you top your beloved kid cruncher with almond milk, you could be preparing a side of animal bone with your breakfast. That’s because some favorite select (cough, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Lucky Charms) include gelatin, a necessary agent extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissue of cows and pigs.
What’s a vegan to do? Of course, there are loads of vegan cereals on the market (Rice Krispies, Cap’n Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Kashi GoLean Crunch, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins) — just be assured gelatin isn’t listed in the components.
Vegan nerds should reach on Nerds. The crunchy candy includes Natural Red #4, a deep red food colorant made from smashed up cochineal bugs that give the candy its “natural” crimson color. Skip the Cinnamon Mentos, too, and understand the “natural” crimson color can steal into salad dressings, popsicles, and chewing gum.
What’s a vegan to do? Not all red-colored candy carries it, but review the ingredient listing for aliases (“carmine,” “carminic acid,” “cochineal,” or “cochineal extract”) just in case.
Turns out sugar ain’t so delightful. The pure white stuff is usually faded by cleaning it through “bone char,” or charred cattle bones, which strips color and impurities out of the granules. And don’t be fooled by brown sugar, which is often just filtered white sugar with molasses combined.
What’s a vegan to do? Unluckily, bone char isn’t recorded on ingredients, but USDA organic sugar can’t be refined through bone char. Other safe bets: Pure cane sugar, raw turbinado sugar, date, and coconut sugar.
That beer you’re chugging could be prepared with fish bladders. Granted, Guinness sold in the US is working vegan rising at the end of 2016, but the centuries-old stout isn’t the only beer traditionally defined with isinglass, a gelatin-like item produced with the bladders of freshwater fish: Harp, Smithwick’s, and Newcastle Brown Ale do it too.
What’s a vegan to do? Beer outdoors fish bladders is more normal than not, even with imports. German and Belgium brews follow “purity laws” that don’t allow animal products.
Bananas are a vegan vision — they can be mixed into ice cream and baked into muffins — there’s only one obstacle: Your banana may not be vegan anymore. Scientists have found that chitosan, a spray-on pesticide made from shrimp and crab cases, keeps the potassium-packed fruit from growing too fast and changing mushy.
What’s a vegan to do? To skip the exoskeleton, opt for organic bananas.
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