People often think they only need to stop eating and wearing animals to go vegan.
But many surprising foods and items contain byproducts you’d never imagine.
We listed 13 of the most shocking ones below.
Guinness contains Isinglass, a chemical found in fish bladders. Isinglass gathers stray yeast cells during the fermenting process and solidifies them into them a mass, which floats to the bottom of the barrel for removal.
Some scents, especially those that smell like vanilla, list castoreum as an ingredient. Castoreum comes from beavers’ castor sacs — a gland located between the animal’s pelvis and the base of its tail.
Also used as a flavour, “Fernelli’s Handbook of Flavour Ingredients” lists the byproduct as an ingredient in frozen dairy, gelatins, puddings, and nonalcoholic beverages.
3. Plastic bags
Many plastics, like commercial shopping bags, contain chemicals often referred to as “slip agents” derived from the stearic acid in animal fat. They essentially prevent the polymers from sticking to metals during manufacturing and clinging to each other afterward. Some bike tires also contain these elements.
Downy, the detergent endorsed by the snuggly child, contains d
ihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride — or a derivative of rendered cattle, sheep, and horse fat mixed with ammonium. This process creates a quaternary ammonium compound, or a quat, which basically coats your clothes in lipids, making them feel soft.
The refining processes for both white and brown sugar often use bone char, a granular material from animal ashes. It gives sugar its white colour.
Traditionally, condom production has included the addition of casein, a protein found in animal milk, which acts as a lubricant. Some brands, like GLYDE, however, have gone vegan.
7. Nail polish
Shimmery cosmetics, like nail polish or lipstick, contain guanine (sometimes listed as “pearl essence”), one of the four base components of RNA and DNA. Companies obtain it from fish (notably, herring) scales.
As part of the rendering industry, which disposes of otherwise unused animal waste, the creation of crayons often includes animal fat, according to a 2004 Congressional report.
Paraffin is the main ingredient in the most popular crayons, but not many would expect mammalian byproducts in children’s art supplies.
9. Cake mixes
Cake mixes sometimes contain beef fat, according to Ann Byrn’s book, The Cake Mix Doctor. Many call for oil or shortening while others just add dehydrated versions of these to minimize the additional ingredients required. Hostess, a confectionery company which recently went under new management, also puts beef fat in their famous cupcakes.
10. Red candy
Red cochineal beetles, when dried and crushed, produce a powder called carmine, used as an all-encompassing dye in red foods like candy, ice cream, and yogurt. Though it previously slipped under the radar as “artificial colouring ,” the FDA has required manufacturers to explicitly list carmine on food labels since early 2011.
Edible shellac, also known as confectioner’s glaze, coats most hard, shiny candy, with the notable exception of M&Ms. It’s made from the excretions of female lac bugs (Kerria lacca).
11. Some orange juice
Many companies now supplement orange juice with Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish. Such ingredients are broadly defined as “neutraceuticals,” or food-derived additives that are meant to increase consumer health.
L-cysteine, a chemical in bread products, is made from mostly bird feathers, with some human and hog hair mixed in. While companies can make synthetic L-cys (for short), it’s an expensive process. Most of the industrially used chemical is extracted from animals and used in products like bagels and Lunchables, according to Mother Jones.