Hidden Animal Ingredients in Foods

There are many hidden animal products in foods. Many animal ingredients are present in very small amounts. Some animal products, such as casein and whey — both derived from dairy products — are acceptable for vegetarians to eat but are not acceptable to vegans. Others, such as rennet (which comes from the stomach lining of calves and other baby animals), is unacceptable to all vegetarians.

Animal Ingredients in Foods
Ingredient What It Is Where You Find It
Albumin The protein component of egg whites Processed foods
Anchovies Small, silver-colored fish Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing
Animal shortening Butter, suet, lard Packaged cookies and crackers, refried beans, flour tortillas, ready-made piecrusts
Carmine (carmine cochineal or carminic acid) Red coloring made from a ground-up insect Bottled juices, colored pasta, some candies, frozen pops
Casein (caseinate) A milk protein Dairy products and some soy cheeses.
Gelatin Protein from bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of animals Marshmallows, yogurt, frosted cereals, gelatin-containing desserts
Glucose (dextrose) Animal tissues and fluids (some glucose can come from fruits) Baked goods, soft drinks, candies, frosting
Glycerides (mono-, di-, and triglycerides) Glycerol from animal fats or plants Processed foods
Isinglass Gelatin from the air bladder of sturgeon and other freshwater fish Alcoholic beverages, some jellied desserts
Lactic acid An acid formed by bacteria acting on the milk sugar lactose Cheese, yogurt, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, candy, frozen desserts, fruit preserves
Lactose (saccharum lactin, D-lactose) Milk sugar As a culture medium for souring milk and in processed foods
Lactylic stearate Salt of stearic acid (see stearic acid) As a conditioner in bread dough
Lard Fat from the abdomens of pigs Baked goods, refried beans
Lecithin Phospholipids from animal tissues, plants, and egg yolks Breakfast cereal, candy, chocolate, baked goods, margarine, vegetable oil sprays
Lutein Deep yellow coloring from marigolds or egg yolks Commercial food coloring
Oleic acid (oleinic acid) Animal tallow Synthetic butter, cheese, vegetable fats and oils, candy, ice cream, beverages, condiments
Pepsin Enzyme from pigs’ stomachs Cheese
Stearic acid (octadecanoic acid) Tallow, other animal fats and oils Vanilla flavoring, baked goods, beverages, candy
Suet Hard white fat around kidneys and loins of animals Margarine, mincemeat, pastries
Tallow Solid fat of sheep and cattle separated from the membranous tissues Margarine
Vitamin A (A1, retinol) Vitamin obtained from vegetables, egg yolks, or fish liver oil Vitamin supplements, fortification of foods
Vitamin B12 Vitamin produced by microorganisms and found in all animal products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels) is vegan Supplements, fortified foods
Vitamin D3 Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from fish liver oils or lanolin Supplements, fortified foods
Whey Watery liquid that separates from the solids in cheese-making Crackers, breads, cakes, processed foods
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