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    Default Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    I never knew until becoming a vegetarian roughly 9 years ago that a handful of people seem to passionately and irrationally despise vegetarians and vegans for their dietary choices, and it seems I'm still learning something new about it. Case in point: Hidden animal products, a lot of them behind the label of "natural flavors" or "natural dyes" or something like that.

    I've known from the beginning that I'd need to do my research on this sort of thing, and that reading the labels wouldn't cut it. There's always room for improvement though... I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Those "natural flavors" and "natural colors" on the food labels aren't phrased that way to hide animal parts from vegetarians. The food companies do it to hide disgusting animal parts from everybody. Not even the most enthusiastic meat eater thinks "beaver anal gland extract" or "crushed beetle juice" sounds appealing.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    I don’t know how common a legal obligation that is but don’t the process foods you buy have lists of the ingredients used in them? Then provided you know which colorants and other additives have an animal origin (maybe keep a list with you when you go grocery shopping?) you can avoid products that don’t meet your criteria.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeySage View Post
    I never knew until becoming a vegetarian roughly 9 years ago that a handful of people seem to passionately and irrationally despise vegetarians and vegans for their dietary choices, and it seems I'm still learning something new about it. Case in point: Hidden animal products, a lot of them behind the label of "natural flavors" or "natural dyes" or something like that.

    I've known from the beginning that I'd need to do my research on this sort of thing, and that reading the labels wouldn't cut it. There's always room for improvement though... I'm an ovo-lacto vegetarian.
    There's a point where the only way is to know animal products with names that belie that origin--since they're chemically altered, their origin is no longer marked by their name--and start knowing what's in processed food such that you can make a reasonable guess about where additives would be used.

    There are multiple internet guides of vegetarians that provide lists of common ones. Here's an American one that marks things vegan, vegetarian, and non-veg. Here's an Australian one that includes their codes #s.

    There's two tricky parts:

    One, some ingredients like glycerin (and glycerin derivatives) and lecithin can come from vegetable or animal sources.

    Two, at some point you just have to make a judgement call, because animal byproducts are used to construct artificial flavors and texturizers through alteration of the base molecule, and tracking down what the derivative was built from could become endless and fruitless.

    If you're ovo-lacto a bunch of common additives are just isolates from egg white, egg yolks, and the various stages between milk and cheese. Your big enemy will be gelatin and gelatin derivatives plus the texturizer oleaic acid (an emulsifier, and thus in spreadable colloids).

    Cochineal/carmine is smashed bug excretions, but not nearly as many products use it as they used to. Castoreum is derived from beaver anal glands...but basically nobody uses it for conventional processed food because it's expensive compared to fully synthetic flavors. Things that do use castoreum tend to sell that old-timey authenticity. Ditto isinglass as a beer clarifier: it's mighty rare unless you are around Belgian monks or homebrewing ultra-hipsters that grow their own hops.
    Last edited by Yanagi; 2019-09-23 at 01:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Not even the most enthusiastic meat eater thinks "beaver anal gland extract" or "crushed beetle juice" sounds appealing.
    Weird thing is, I've known red food colouring (aka cochineal) is made from beetles since I was about 9...never really bothered me.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Weird thing is, I've known red food colouring (aka cochineal) is made from beetles since I was about 9...never really bothered me.
    Also very few foods are actually going to contain anything that has ever seen a bug. Most food-additives are going to be synthetically made because that's several times cheaper.

    Basically "you are eating bugs" are what annoying vegans tell other people to be all smug and such.


    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeySage View Post
    a handful of people seem to passionately and irrationally despise vegetarians and vegans for their dietary choices,
    It's not irrational. We got reasons. Vegans can be very very very, VERY annoying about their dietary choices.

    I believe the answer to the question is : "stop eating any and all kinds of processed food".
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2019-09-23 at 03:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    If something is suitable for vegetarians, often the packaging will say so because that gets them more sales. So... stick to unprocessed veggies, nuts, and processed food that says "suitable for vegetarians" on it?

    Also protip: learn to make your own potato chips. They're awesome for snacking and you'll know they don't have any animal byproducts in them if you make them yourself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    I don’t know how common a legal obligation that is but don’t the process foods you buy have lists of the ingredients used in them? Then provided you know which colorants and other additives have an animal origin (maybe keep a list with you when you go grocery shopping?) you can avoid products that don’t meet your criteria.
    It's a legal requirement in the United States to display what's in food. That includes potential allergens and animal byproducts.

    Also if anything is labeled with these

    • Casein – from milk (a protein)
    • Lactose – from milk (a sugar)
    • Whey – from milk. Whey powder is in many products, look out for it in crisps, bread and baked products etc.
    • Collagen – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish – used in cosmetics
    • Elastin – found in the neck ligaments and aorta of bovine, similar to collagen
    • Keratin – from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chickens, pigs, and fish
    • Gelatine/gelatin – obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones and is usually from cows or pigs. Used in jelly, chewy sweets, cakes, and in vitamins; as coating/capsules
    • Aspic – industry alternative to gelatine; made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stocks and gelatine
    • Lard/tallow – animal fat
    • Shellac – obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect Tachardia lacca
    • Honey – food for bees, made by bees
    • Propolis – used by bees in the construction of their hives
    • Royal Jelly – secretion of the throat gland of the honeybee
    • Vitamin D3 – from fish-liver oil; in creams, lotions and other cosmetics
    • Albumen/albumin – from egg (typically)
    • Isinglass – a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish, and is used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer
    • Cod liver oil – in lubricating creams and lotions, vitamins and supplements
    • Pepsin – from the stomachs of pigs, a clotting agent used in vitamins

    They're not Vegan.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Just avoid preprocessed food in general and cook everything from scratch. The closest you'll come to hidden animal products in such cases are the unlabeled animal labour involved. Don't know about where you're from, but I expect it to be a cheaper alternative in the long run as well.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Also very few foods are actually going to contain anything that has ever seen a bug.
    Well, not as a deliberate food additive anyway. Pretty much all factory-line produced food have an 'acceptable contaminant' level.

    Details of these limits that manufacturers have to meet are normally available from a country's food standards agency - the FDA lists these in their Food Defect Action Levels publication.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Is helpful
    I can empathise with your situation, I am a man with food allergies that really get in the way of my shopping. Razade's list aside, my studious attention to packaging has taught me that a lot of brands will print "Vegan" or "suitable for vegetarians" on them, often with a symbol. I've also learned that most major brands of Smokey Bacon crisps are vegetarian, but most Cheese and Onion ones are not.

    The world is dumb.

    As for those people who dislike vegetarians and vegans, I can understand why. All you need to do is encounter a few like the one I knew in University (who remains the only person I ever asked to leave an RP group) who reacted to the sight of anyone eating something non-vegan as if they were eating human waste (seriously, with dramatic gagging they insisted as involuntary and looks of buggeyed horror) and I can imagine you go right off them. There are some very obnoxious and loud representatives is what I am saying. I'm used to getting similar reactions from some people because of my faith, just try and ignore it.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil DM Mark3 View Post
    As for those people who dislike vegetarians and vegans, I can understand why. All you need to do is encounter a few like the one I knew in University (who remains the only person I ever asked to leave an RP group) who reacted to the sight of anyone eating something non-vegan as if they were eating human waste (seriously, with dramatic gagging they insisted as involuntary and looks of buggeyed horror) and I can imagine you go right off them. There are some very obnoxious and loud representatives is what I am saying. I'm used to getting similar reactions from some people because of my faith, just try and ignore it.
    ...Wow.

    How strong was the urge to hit this person in the face with a ham sandwich?
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Not really. You would need to learn a bunch of stuff, and/or make all your own food. Red food coloring is often crushed up bugs.
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-09-24 at 09:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil DM Mark3 View Post
    I've also learned that most major brands of Smokey Bacon crisps are vegetarian, but most Cheese and Onion ones are not.

    The world is dumb.
    Shelf-stable 'bacon-flavored bits' meant for putting on salads and the likes ("Bacos" being the brand most of us in the USA remember the 80s-90s ad campaigns for) are usually vegan. Yes, the world is dumbintensely strange.

    As for those people who dislike vegetarians and vegans, I can understand why. All you need to do is encounter a few like the one I knew in University (who remains the only person I ever asked to leave an RP group) who reacted to the sight of anyone eating something non-vegan as if they were eating human waste (seriously, with dramatic gagging they insisted as involuntary and looks of buggeyed horror) and I can imagine you go right off them. There are some very obnoxious and loud representatives is what I am saying.
    Wait, someone going to University (and thus being ~18-22, experiencing freedom from their folks for the first time, as well as exposure to all sorts of new ideas) might be annoying in their lifestyle opinions (and tendency to share said opinions vocally and insistently)? Who would have thought?

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    ...Wow.

    How strong was the urge to hit this person in the face with a ham sandwich?
    Strong. But then again I was a prat. These days I just smile, nod and keep on walking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    Wait, someone going to University (and thus being ~18-22, experiencing freedom from their folks for the first time, as well as exposure to all sorts of new ideas) might be annoying in their lifestyle opinions (and tendency to share said opinions vocally and insistently)? Who would have thought?
    I know, right? I was a prat too. Problem is, you meet two or three loud prats you can miss the sea of quiet, normal people.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil DM Mark3 View Post
    As for those people who dislike vegetarians and vegans, I can understand why. All you need to do is encounter a few like the one I knew in University (who remains the only person I ever asked to leave an RP group) who reacted to the sight of anyone eating something non-vegan as if they were eating human waste
    Conversely, you can have vegetarians like a colleague I had at work, who had no problem with people eating meat so long as they understood where it came from. The one thing he couldn't stand was the sort of person who would refuse to eat rabbit meat because "Awww, so cute!" while being happy to tuck into a steak.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Conversely, you can have vegetarians like a colleague I had at work, who had no problem with people eating meat so long as they understood where it came from. The one thing he couldn't stand was the sort of person who would refuse to eat rabbit meat because "Awww, so cute!" while being happy to tuck into a steak.
    I'm not saying that most vegetarians aren't nice people. Quite the reverse. I am saying that there are a few who are loud, obnoxious prats who give the rest a bad name, which is true of a lot of groups.

    I think that it, naturally, tends to flare up at lunch is what makes some people really sensitive to the particular brand of prattishness.
    Last edited by Evil DM Mark3; 2019-09-23 at 10:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Those "natural flavors" and "natural colors" on the food labels aren't phrased that way to hide animal parts from vegetarians. The food companies do it to hide disgusting animal parts from everybody. Not even the most enthusiastic meat eater thinks "beaver anal gland extract" or "crushed beetle juice" sounds appealing.
    I am a vegetarian, and I don't have a problem with "crushed beetle juice". (I am not that strict. I also wear leather.) Occasionally, I even eat bee vomit, which doesn't sound much more appetizing.

    The only way to safely avoid hidden animal products is to only buy unprocessed foods.

    Just recently I read that animal bone is used to get sugar extra white. (Not sure if it was cane or beet sugar that got that treatment. One of those).

    So, the only way to be sure is to only buy completely unprocessed food in its original form. Whole grains. Whole lentils, beans, etc. It is perfectly possible to live on such a diet, you might, however, find it rather boring.

    But be under no illusions, if your grains come from normal agriculture, (that is, anything that isn't reenactment, experimental archeology or Amish) they come with a price of flat hares and hamsters, and perhaps even the occasional mangled baby deer. Organic agriculture uses big machines, too.
    That is not to say that meat-eaters are morally superior (as some annoying meat-eaters would claim), since cattle is nowadays fed with grain and soy, which increases the number of flattened cute animals tenfold in comparison to just eating the grain and soy directly. And of course, even the most enthusiastic meat eaters still eat grains. Unless perhaps they're Inuit living their traditional way of life, in which case the ethics of meat consumption are different anyway.

    And of course, all forms of agriculture tend to kill bugs that want to eat the plants. There wouldn't be much of a harvest otherwise. (One of the reasons I don't feel too bad about eating crushed beetles.)

    Personally, I just am too lazy to make absolutely sure I don't eat any meat products. I admire people who can do it, but I just don't have the energy.


    There's annoying vegans and vegetarians, but I suspect many meat eaters secretly feel bad about their choices and resent people who have the strength to make different ones. (The same phenomenon can be observed in people who wish they could lose weight hating those who order only a small salad and who actually go to the gym twice a week, and people who drink alcohol taking offense at teetotallers who are just minding their own business. I have not personally encountered people who were nasty about me not drinking alcohol, but lots of people who wanted to get me to drink alcohol. Some even admitted they were embarrassed about being drunk with a sober person there. They were perfectly nice people and didn't behave very embarrassingly, but I can easily imagine how less nice people would feel the same things and express those feelings in a much nastier way.)
    Last edited by Themrys; 2019-09-23 at 02:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    As for avoiding animal additives under generic chemical labels...basically look for those that at advertising to you about it (aka they tell you with words and symbols), probably pay the markup based more on healthy marketing research than actual higher costs, and hope that those in charge of such claims have some sort of actual standards and a way to enforce them. (in many places they don't, want St John'd wort extract-maybe half of what is labeled as such actually contains if according to DNA testing a couple years back).

    Other than that cook from scratch with whole foods.
    And no matter what there will be bugs in your food. In your fresh thrice washed spinach included.
    {scrubbed}


    As for annoying vegetarians/vegans etc..I generally figure it comes down to two main points.
    A: many wave it around as a sort moral superiority issue. They place themselves on a high horse and beat their chest about it. . . Similar behavior can be found in many religious holier-than-thou types and political purity test types of all parties. They are all annoying. Especially to those who have made a different moral judgment and dislike being badgered about it. These people are the source of the "How do you find the vegan in a crowd / don't worry they will tell you" jokes. They contain a degree of truth about the less socialized types.
    B: it often feels like vegetarians impose their beliefs on omnivores. Group is eating out? The person most likely to limit options of where to go is the vegan and everybody else has to deal. Homecooked meal? The vegetarian gets a special plate. Now most vegetarians are quite well behaved about this and mitigate as they can. But enough do not to fuel bad memories for many people which are set off even by the well behaved ones. And many of the annoying set can get very pushy in general about it...which is when things combine with the above moral high horse behavior. And in any case their choices become a source of social friction. And sources or said friction tend to be disliked...especially when it is a choice...and especially when people think they are being effected by that choice they didn't make.

    Other than that...make friends with legumes...nuts are water hogs...get a soy-milk maker if you like those products as home made is a big step up (after you figure out if you like okara or what to do with it...myself it is the only soy product I like)

    personal note which may colour the above:
    I generally hold if you are not willing to kill and butcher an animal you shouldn't eat it. So I have gone out of my way to get such opportunities. I think if you are gonna eat meat you should be willing to get your hands bloody and turn a liking being into food and be comfortable with that - a long term side effect of going to a vegetarian grammar school.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2019-09-23 at 06:16 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    I will note that, at least in the USA, there is a limit to how detailed food ingredient labeling has to be. Companies are allowed to be vague and say things like "natural flavors" or "spices" without going into detail. I'm not a strict enough vegetarian that I worry about it for that reason, but I am allergic to peppers, and paprika is made from dried peppers (and is commonly used both as a spice and as a "natural" colorant), so I have a lot of problems with buying food in general due to this rule and I'd love to see it changed.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Basically "you are eating bugs" are what annoying vegans tell other people to be all smug and such.
    It's also one of those weird moments where somebody confuses something they find gross in concept with something everyone finds gross in practice.

    Setting aside the fact that people eat bugs (and have for millennia; aside: it seems like vegetarians should ENCOURAGE eating bugs if they're of the "meat is bad for you/the environment" variety given there's basically an unlimited source of them out there), most people don't really care where their food comes from so long as it tastes good and doesn't kill them. Yeah, Jell-o might be primarily made of animal bone powder, and most people know that...but they keep eating it, because in the grand scheme that doesn't actually matter at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Conversely, you can have vegetarians like a colleague I had at work, who had no problem with people eating meat so long as they understood where it came from. The one thing he couldn't stand was the sort of person who would refuse to eat rabbit meat because "Awww, so cute!" while being happy to tuck into a steak.
    And I'm unclear what the issue with this is, either. Most people don't eat pet animals like cats and dogs. Rabbits are often pets; ergo you find it strange to eat a rabbit rather than a cow, which is not generally a pet.

    Many people who live in a city have never encountered and may possibly not even think about wild rabbits as a thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post


    There's annoying vegans and vegetarians, but I suspect many meat eaters secretly feel bad about their choices and resent people who have the strength to make different ones. (The same phenomenon can be observed in people who wish they could lose weight hating those who order only a small salad and who actually go to the gym twice a week, and people who drink alcohol taking offense at teetotallers who are just minding their own business. I have not personally encountered people who were nasty about me not drinking alcohol, but lots of people who wanted to get me to drink alcohol. Some even admitted they were embarrassed about being drunk with a sober person there. They were perfectly nice people and didn't behave very embarrassingly, but I can easily imagine how less nice people would feel the same things and express those feelings in a much nastier way.)
    You outline the reason people feel bad in your post, though don't seem to realize it. People don't like to be judged. If they think you're judging them, they will be uncomfortable.

    It's not that they secretly "know they're doing wrong", it's that they think they're hanging out with someone who secretly thinks they're doing wrong, which makes it difficult to connect with that person because now there's the doubt in your mind that they actually want to be your friend or what have you at all. It's that thought process that leads to the perceived-to-be judgy person de facto ostracized from groups, which tends to reinforce their thought pattern that they are right and the others are wrong.

    That's a frustrating logic chain because it's the exact same one certain groups use to judge certain other minority groups. "Oh they wouldn't be defensive about it if they didn't know it was wrong", "You wouldn't be so mad if you didn't think I was right deep down..."

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    There's annoying vegans and vegetarians, but I suspect many meat eaters secretly feel bad about their choices and resent people who have the strength to make different ones.
    Huh. And here I was assuming that the stereotype that vegetarians and vegans are all secretly judging everyone else was a trope from bad jokes. That's well its depressing frankly.

    Ehe, one more reason to perfect vat-steak.
    Last edited by Evil DM Mark3; 2019-09-24 at 04:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    As an omnivore. I hope we can get lab grown meat faster. Healthier, safer and controlled alternatives to cut down on factory farming is something I'm all for.

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    There's annoying vegans and vegetarians, but I suspect many meat eaters secretly feel bad about their choices and resent people who have the strength to make different ones.
    Um, wow. I'd always gotten the vibe that vegetarians and vegans are judging me for my strength of character, but just outright saying it? Damn, dude.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    As an omnivore. I hope we can get lab grown meat faster. Healthier, safer and controlled alternatives to cut down on factory farming is something I'm all for.
    Since most descriptions of the vat-meat process indicate it's made without the intentional direct suffering of animals, does that mean it's technically vegetarian for those who don't meat for that reason?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Since most descriptions of the vat-meat process indicate it's made without the intentional direct suffering of animals, does that mean it's technically vegetarian for those who don't meat for that reason?
    I don't know I don't know many people who eat meat for the intentional and direct suffering of animals either though, so would it be vegetarian for them too?

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Since most descriptions of the vat-meat process indicate it's made without the intentional direct suffering of animals, does that mean it's technically vegetarian for those who don't meat for that reason?
    Oh you'd be surprised as to what some people insist. After all is it made by taking animal DNA, for some people I've spoken with and some other people with big websites and lobbying budgets, that's enough.
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    I don't know I don't know many people who eat meat for the intentional and direct suffering of animals either though, so would it be vegetarian for them too?
    As an allergy sufferer, I confess that my sole reasoning for consuming any amount of plant matter is bitter and spiteful revenge. I chew slowly. I eat animals 'cause they taste good. I drink alcohol because I hate myself.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    My wife does not eat pork, or beef. She does eat chicken and fish. It is often easier to say that she is vegetarian. Still she VERY OFTEN gets bacon in nigh everything. I swear bacon is in everything that you order. Pay attention that next time you order something.

    Water? Bacon is in it.

    Bacon? They somehow add bacon to it!
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-09-24 at 09:15 AM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Is there any way to avoid hidden animal products?

    Quote Originally Posted by darkrose50 View Post
    My wife does not eat pork, or beef. She does eat chicken and fish. It is often easier to say that she is vegetarian. Still she VERY OFTEN gets bacon in nigh everything. I swear bacon is in everything that you order. Pay attention that next time you order something.

    Water? Bacon is in it.

    Bacon? They somehow add bacon to it!
    What a fantastic age we live in.

    There was a time I found it fairly ridiculous, too, until I tried a bacon-topped, maple-frosted donut, and forever cursed my feeble mortal arteries. Then I found out how bad vegetable oil is and started saving bacon grease to cook potatoes and zucchini crisps instead. Anecdotal, sure, but in the years since I began this my health has genuinely improved.

    I'm not knocking vegetarians, but i feel sorry that they choose to exclude such yumminess.

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