Hidden Nasties: Ingredients to Avoid | Viva!

Hidden Nasties: Ingredients to Avoid


Don't worry - although vegan shopping sometimes means a bit of label-spotting (especially in the first month or two!) it's not as daunting as it seems. This list will help you, as will the L-Plate Vegan product lists. Manufacturers' own information/labelling and supermarkets vegan lists and labelling are also useful - and of course, increasingly more products are being labelled as vegan.

Here's a useful link to vegan E numbers and such

Albumen: egg white, used in food as a binder (sadly, some vegetarian sausages and burgers contain this, eg Cauldron brand)
Anchovy: small fish, often used in Worcester sauce (but there are vegan versions, eg Life brand)
Angora: a type of wool made from goat or rabbit hair - horrific production methods are the norm, sadly
Aspic: meat or fish-derived jelly
Beeswax (E901): secreted by bees, used in polishes and cosmetics
Beta carotene: is vegan but may be bound to gelatine and may not be listed in the ingredients
Bristle: animal hair used for brushes
Carmine: red pigment obtained from cochineal
Casein: milk-derived protein
Cashmere: wool from the cashmere goat. Like all wool, it is a cruel product that is usually linked to the slaughterhouse, directly or indirectly - this link explains why
Caviar: see roe
Chitin: derived from the shells of insects or crustacea, used in shampoos and moisturisers
Chamois: soft leather, made from the skin of antelope, sheep,goat or deer
Cochineal (E120): red dye made from the dried bodies of insects
Collagen: constituent of connective tissue, used in cosmetics
Vitamin D: usually means Vitamin D3 - see below
Vitamin D3: vitamin derived from lanolin or fish oil. Added to vitamin and food supplements. Never vegan unless it states so (eg there is a new vegan D3 available but most vegan manufacturers use D2)
Down: feathers from fowl, used in quilts and pillows (duck, geese and chicken feathers are either a slaughterhouse byproduct
– or else are plucked cruelly from live birds)
Elastin: protein found in the muscles of meat, used in cosmetics
Felt: cloth made from wool and fur
Fur: part of an animal's skin. Fur production is a violent, brutal business and animals suffer immensely
Glycerin(e) or glycerol (E422): colourless liquid which can be obtained from animal fats
Hide: animal skin (leather) used in clothing, footwear and upholstery
Honey: some of the bees are inevitably injured or killed when the combs are removed. And it is their food, not ours
Isinglass: pure form of gelatine, obtained from freshwater fish. Often used in wine production, to clear sediment
Keratin: protein found in hair, horns, hoofs and feathers, used in shampoos and conditioners
L-cysteine hydrochloride (E920): obtained from animal hair or chicken feathers, used in shampoos and as an improving agent in white flour. Can be produced synthetically so check with the manufacturer
Lactic acid (E270): acid produced by fermenting milk sugar. Can also be obtained from non-dairy source – eg Patak’s curry pastes use a vegan version. Check with the company
Lactose: milk sugar, often found in crisps
Lanolin(e): fat extracted from sheeps’ wool, used in cosmetics
Lard: fat surrounding stomach and kidneys in sheep
Leather: tanned hide (animal skin), used in clothing, accessories and upholstery
Lecithin (E322): fatty substance found in nerve tissues, egg yolk and blood. Can also be obtained from vegetable sources
Lutein (E161(b)): dye obtained from egg yolk. May also be obtained from marigolds
Mohair: cloth made from hair of angora goat. See wool
Oleic acid: fatty acid found in animal and vegetable fats
Oestrogen: female sex hormone, used in cosmetics and bodybuilding supplements
Parchment: skin of sheep or goat, used as a writing material
Pepsin: enzyme found in stomach gastric juices, used in cheesemaking
Progesterone: sex hormone used in hormone creams
Propolis: bee glue, used in toiletries and cosmetics
Rennet: extract of calf stomach, used in cheese-making
Roe: eggs obtained from slaughtered female fish
Royal jelly: food upon which bee larvae are fed, used as a food supplement
Sable: fur from small mammal, the sable marten, used in artists’ and make-up brushes etc
Shellac (E904): insect secretion, used in hair spray, lip sealer and polishes
Silk: fibre produced by larvae of certain bombycine moths, who are killed
Sodium 5’-inosinate: prepared from fish waste, used as a flavour enhancer
Squalene/squalane: found in the liver of sharks, used in toiletries and cosmetics
Stearin(e): general term for glycerids formed by combining stearic acid and glycerin. Used in some candles, medicines and
Suede: kid, pig or calf skin, made into clothes and footwear. See leather
Suet: fat prepared from the kidneys of cattle and sheep (vegetarian suet is acceptable)
Tallow: hard animal fat, often obtained from around the kidneys of cattle, used in soap and candle-making
Taramasalata: cod roe pâté (eggs from killed cod)
Testosterone: male hormone, used in body-building supplements
Urea: waste nitrogen formed in the liver, used in toiletries and cosmetics
Velvet: fabric usually made from cotton or synthetics. Some (the more expensive type) is made from silk so read labels and ask manufacturers.
Whey: milk derivative. Used in margarines, biscuits, crisps and cleaning products
Wool: fleece of sheep. See this link

For a more detailed list, see Viva!'s Hidden Nasties factsheet www.vivahealth.org.uk/factsheets/hiddennasties.html