Ingredients in Detail

Ingredients in Detail



  • Additives
  • Albumen Derived from eggs, probably battery.
  • Alcohol Many alcoholic drinks are fined (ie clarified) using animal ingredients, see beer and wine. Spirits are suitable for vegetarians except for some Russian and Eastern European Vodkas which may have used bone charcoal in their production. Watch out for cochineal in Campari.
  • Alpaca Animal derived clothing material.
  • Anchovies Small fish, found on pizzas and in some brands of worcester sauce.
  • Angora Animal derived clothing material.
  • Animal Fat Carcass fat not milk fat.
  • Aspic Savoury jelly derived from meat or fish.
  • Beer All cask conditioned “real” ales will have been fined with isinglass, and some keg, bottled and canned bitters, milds and stouts also. Lagers are generally chill filtered, but some brands may use isinglass on occasion.
  • Biscuits Quite likely to contain animal fats.
  • Bone Used in bone china and cutlery handles.
  • Bread Most large producers use vegetable based emulsifiers (E471, E472 etc), but local bakers may not. Some bakers may grease the tins with animal fat.
  • Breakfast cereals Often fortified with vitamin D3.
  • Brushes Animal hair is commonly used for paint and shaving brushes.
  • Butter Pure butter is suitable for vegetarians.

  • Capsules Usually made from gelatine, vegetarian alternatives are coming onto the market.
  • Cashmere Animal derived clothing material.
  • Catering/Cookery Training may require the handling of meat. See: The Cordon Vert Cookery School
  • Caviar Fish eggs. The fish must be killed to obtain the eggs.
  • Cheese Likely to have been produced using animal rennet.
  • Chewing gum Often contain glycerine. Wrigleys use a vegetable glycerine.
  • Chips May have been fried in animal fat.
  • Chitin Produced from crab & shrimp shells.
  • Chocolate Watch out for whey and emulsifiers.
  • Clothing Many materials derived from animals, others causing environmental problems.
  • Cochineal E120, made from crushed insects.
  • Crisps Often use whey as a flavour carrier, ready salted are the only clearly vegetarian flavour, though some beef crisps are flavoured with yeast extract and are therefore suitable.

  • Down Usually from slaughtered ducks or geese, though some live plucking does occur, used in bedding.

  • E Numbers European food additives numbering system, not all vegetarian.
  • Edible Fats Can mean animal fats.
  • Eggs Some vegetarians may wish to avoid battery eggs and/or barn eggs. The Vegetarian Society does not award its seedling symbolto any products containing eggs other than free range.
  • Emulsifiers May not be vegetarian.

  • Fast Food Watch out for Bean/Vegetable burgers being cooked with fish/chicken/meat products.
  • Fatty Acids May be of animal or vegetable origin.
  • Feathers Clothing material
  • Felt Made from wool or fur.
  • Fur Clothing material

  • Gelatin/Gelatine A gelling agent derived from animal ligaments, skins, tendons, bones etc. Alternatives such as Agar Agar, Carrageenand Gelozoneexist.
  • Glycerine/Glycerol May be produced from animal fats, synthesised from propylene or from fermentation of sugars.
  • Gravy Vegetarian gravy mixes are available. Be careful in restaurants.

  • Honey Avoided by most vegans.

  • Ice Cream Look out for non dairy fats, E numbers, eggs.
  • Isinglass A fining agent derived from the swim bladders of certain tropical fish, especially the Chinese sturgeon. See Alcohol.

  • Jelly Usually contains gelatinethough Alternativesare available.

  • Lactose Produced from milk, sometimes as a by product of the cheese making process.
  • Lanolin Produced from sheep’s wool. Used to make vitamin D3.
  • Leather Around 10% of the value of an animal at slaughter is in its skin.
  • Lecithin Nearly always produced fromsoyabeans, though can be produced from eggs.

  • Margarines May contain animal fats, fish oils, vitamin D3, E numbers, whey, gelatine.
  • Mohair Animal derived clothing material.

  • Olive Oil No problems! Just worth knowing about. See also Fats and Cholesterol.

  • Pasta May contain egg.
  • Pastry May contain animal fat.
  • Pepsin Enzyme from a pig’sstomach, used like rennet.
  • Pet Foods Dogsare omnivorous and can be fed on an exclusively vegetarian diet. Canned and dried dog foods are available.
  • Photography All Photographic film uses gelatine.
  • Postage Stamps The backing glue is free from animal products.

  • Rennet An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes.
  • Restaurants Watch out for non-vegetarian cheese, battery eggs, stock. See the Leisure & Lifestyle Directoryand the Food & Drink Guildfor local restaurants.
  • Roe Fish eggs, see caviar.

  • Shellac Secreted under tree bark by insects. To be treated in a similar way to Honey.
  • Shoes Quality synthetic shoes are becoming more widely available.
  • Silk Harvesting silk used in invariably causes the death of the silk worm.
  • Soap Many soaps are not vegetarian since they use animal fats and/or glycerine. Vegetable oil based soaps are quite widely available.
  • Soft Drinks Some canned Orange drinks use gelatine as a carrier for added Beta Caratine. (This would not appear on the ingredients panel).
  • Soup Watch out for the stock.
  • Spirits (alcoholic that is!) possible problems with fining and filtering.
  • Stearic Acid May be vegetarian or not.
  • Stock May contain animal fat.
  • Suet Usually made from animal fat, vegetable versions are available.
  • Sweets Look out for gelatine in boiled sweets and mints, and cochineal in boiled sweets and Smarties. (some vegetarian sweets are listed by chocolate manufacturers.)

  • Toothpaste Many brands contain glycerine.

  • Vegan The Vegan Society produces The Animal Free Shopper which lists branded products suitable for vegans (available from The Vegetarian Society).
  • Vitamins Vitamin D2 is produced by sunlight acting on bacteria, however D3 is derived from lanolin from sheeps’ wool therefore only D3 which is guaranteed sourced from wool sheared from live sheep is considered acceptable.
  • Seedling Symbol You can be sure that any products carrying the Vegetarian Society’s V symbol have been thoroughly checked to ensure they are suitable for vegetarians.

  • Washing powder Soap based powders may contain animal fats.
  • Whey Whey and whey powder are usually by-products of the cheese making processwhich mainly uses animal rennet.
  • Wine May have been fined using isinglass, dried blood, egg albumen, gelatine, chitin. Vegetarian alternatives include bentonite, kieselguhr, kaolin and silica gel. Non vintage port is fined with gelatine.
  • Wool may not be so sheep friendly.
  • Worcester Sauce Most brands contain anchovies.

  • Yoghurts Some low fat yoghurts contain gelatine.

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