Hidden Animal Ingredients in Foods: What foods have hidden animal products in them?

Before you head down to your local grocery store thinking that’s your completely ‘animal free’, you may want to take a look at our list below. You’ll be surprised at the amount of animal products that are hidden in every day foods!

Here are some foods which contain hidden animal products for – take note when you’re reading those labels!

Ingredient What It Is Its Use
Albumin The protein component of egg whites. Albumin is also found in animal blood, milk, plants, and seeds. To thicken or add texture to processed foods.
Anchovies Small, silvery fish of herring family. Worcestershire sauce, Caesar salad dressing, pizza topping, Greek salads.
Animal shortening Butter, suet, lard (see lard below). Packaged cookies and crackers, refried beans, flour tortillas, ready-made pie crusts.
Carmine (carmine, cochineal, or carminic acid) Red coloring made from a ground-up insect. Bottled juices, colored pasta, some candies, frozen pops, “natural” cosmetics.
Calcium stearate Mineral typically derived from cows or hogs Garlic salt, vanilla, meat tenderizers, salad-dressing mixes.
Capric acid (decanoic acid) Animal fats added to ice cream, candy, baked goods, chewing gum, liquor and often not specified on ingredients lists.
Casein (caseinate) A milk protein. It coagulates with the addition of rennin (see rennin below) and is the foundation of cheese. An additive in dairy products such as cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Also used in adhesives, paints, and plastics.
Clarifying agent Derived from any number of animal sources. Used to filter wine, vinegar, beer, fruit juice, soft drinks.
Gelatin Protein from bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of animals, Much of the commercial gelatin is a by-product of pig skin. Marshmallows, yogurt, frosted cereals, gelatin-containing desserts, molded salads..
Glucose (dextrose) Fruits or animal tissues and fluids. Baked goods, soft drinks, candies, frosting.
Glycerides (mono-, di-, and triglycerides Glycerol from animal fats or plants. Processed foods, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, inks, glues, automobile antifreeze. Used as emulsifier.
Isinglass Gelatin from air bladder of sturgeon and other freshwater fish. Clarify alcoholic beverages and in some jellied desserts. Rarely used now.
Lactic acid Acid formed by bacteria acting on the milk sugar lactose. Imparts a tart flavor. Cheese, yogurt, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, candy, frozen desserts, chewing gum, fruit preserves, dyeing and textile printing.
Lactose (saccharum lactin, D-lactose Milk sugar. Culture medium for souring milk and in processed foods such as baby formulas, candies and other  sweets, medicinal diuretics, and laxatives.
Lactylic stearate Salt of stearic acid (see stearic acid below). Dough conditioner.
Lanolin Waxy fat from sheep’s wool. Chewing gum, ointments, cosmetics, waterproof coatings.
Lard Rendered and clarified pork fat. Often fat from abdomens of pigs or the fat around the animal’s kidneys. Baked goods.
Lecithin Phospholipids form animal tissues, plants, lentils, and egg yolks used to preserve, emulsify, and moisturize food. Cereal, candy, chocolate, baked goods, margarine, vegetable oil sprays, cosmetics, and ink.
Lutein Deep yellow coloring from marigolds or egg yolks. Commercial food coloring.
Myristic acid (tetradecanoic acid) Animal fats. Chocolate, ice cream, candy, jelled desserts, baked goods.
Natural flavorings Unspecified, could be from meat or other animal products Processed and packaged foods.
Oleic acid (oleinic acid) Animal tallow (see tallow below) Synthetic butter, cheese, vegetable fats and oils, spice flavoring for baked goods, candy, ice cream, beverages, condiments, soaps, cosmetics.
Palmatic acid Animal or vegetable fats. Baked goods, butter and cheese flavoring.
Pancreatin (pancreatic extract) Cows or hogs Digestive aids.
Pepsin Enzyme from pigs’ stomachs With rennet to make cheese.
Propolis Resinous cement collected by bees Food supplement and ingredient in “natural” toothpaste.
Rennin (Rennet) A coagulating enzyme obtained from a young animal’s stomach, usually a calf’s stomach Rennin is used to curdle milk in foods such as cheese and junket–a soft pudding like dessert.
Royal jelly Substance produced by glands of bees. “Natural foods” and nutrient supplements.
Sodium stearoyl lactylate May be derived from cows, hogs, animal milk, or vegetable-mineral sources. Used in cake, pudding, or pancake mixes, baked goods, margarine.
Stearic acid (octadecenoic acid) Tallow, other animal fats and oils Vanilla flavoring, chewing gum, baked goods, beverages, candy, soaps, ointments, candles, cosmetics, suppositories and pill coatings.
Suet Hard white fat around kidneys and loins of animals Margarine, mincemeat, pastries, bird feed, tallow.
Tallow Solid fat of sheep and cattle separated from the membranous tissues Waxed paper, margarine, soaps, crayons, candles, rubber, cosmetics.
Vitamin A (A1, retinol) Vitamin obtained from vegetables, egg yolks, or fish liver oil. Vitamin supplements, fortification of foods, “natural” cosmetics.
Vitamin B12 Vitamin produced by microorganisms and found in all animal products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels) is vegan Supplements or fortified foods.
Vitamin D (D1, D2, D3) D1 is produced by humans upon exposure to sunlight; D2 (ergocalciferol) is made from plants or yeast, D3 (cholecalciferol comes from fish liver oils or lanolin Supplements or fortified foods.
Whey Watery liquid that separates from the solids (curds) of milks in cheese-making. Crackers, breads, cakes, processed foods in cheese-making.

Source: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian by SuzanneHavala, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A., Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst, The VeganSourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak, M.S.Ed.

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