Animal, Insect, Vegetable, or Mineral?
American Vegan Society -- 56 Dinshah Drive -- P. O. Box H -- Malaga, NJ 08328 -- (609) 694-2887
Food Ingredients and Additives
Food additives are substances used in the processing of food, to retain or "enhance" certain characteristics, such as flavor, color, texture, or shelf-life. They are often employed to make something appear to be what it is not, such as fresh, flavorful, colorful. Additives can make otherwise unpalatable foods attractive for sale. Thus, in many cases at least, they represent a ploy to trick the consumer into accepting an inferior item in place of a naturally wholesome one.
In the U.S.A. most foods sold in interstate commerce (thus subject to federal regulations) have to list their ingredients on the label, but the wording is often permitted to be vague, such as "natural flavorings" or "certified color" (the ultimate source of which may be a carrot, a bug, or a coal mine).
While AVS doesn't recommend most food additives, there are various degrees of harmfulness or relative "safety" in terms of human health. For the most part, the listings in this article do not address this issue, but are concerned with the basic source (such as animal, vegetable, or mineral) of each item.
Many of the terms used for common ingredients (let alone "additives") in packaged foods tell little of their ultimate origin. We have thus included in the list many common food items (notably those of animal origin) which are of particular concern.
Cosmetics, and Other Non-Food Items
The nonvegans often assume veganism is only total vegetarianism, confined to the field of diet alone. However, almost from the very beginning in the 1940's, the vegan movement spotlighted not only the ethical shortcomings of milk and eggs, but animal source clothing, etc.
This may seem a formidable list but it only goes to show to what great extent we have grown to rely on animal-based substances and the wholesale exploitation of every poor creature from whom man can extract a profit. However, for all these, there are humane alternatives. Even very fine artist-brushes are now being available of synthetic materials.
It is therefore proper that we include ingredients of soaps and household cleansers, cosmetics and grooming aids, references to common clothing materials, and at least some animal materials of jewelry and adornment in widespread use.
This list is published for educational purposes only, regarding the source of each respective item. We must emphasize that merely listing a specific item does not necessarily imply approval (or disapproval, for that matter) of its use.
For emphasis and convenience in reference, sources are usually indicated by the following codes:
A = Animal origin (flesh, muscle, glands, hooves, hair, etc.)
I = Insect origin (bees, bugs, etc.)
L = Lacto: dairy/milk origin
O = Ovo: egg origin
M = Mineral, or: Manufactured (synthetic) origin
V = Vegan, plant origin
With the first four categories, none of the products would be acceptable for vegans, though certain items would be used by some vegetarians, depending on their degree of awareness and ethical progress. No effort has been made to differentiate among animal parts and substances (A) where the animal is killed before, during, or (a minute, a week, a year?) after the taking of the specific product. Exceptions are in milk (L) and egg (O) items, listed separately as a courtesy to those vegetarian readers who still wish to partake of them.
Insect products (I) are those taken from exploited and in many cases killed little ones, whether it is a part of their bodies, a secretion, or something else that they simply collect and we steal from them.
The last two categories are the only ones ethically acceptable for vegan use. M means a simple mineral, or "Manufactured" (synthesized). In the latter case, the basic materials are nonanimal, insofar as we are able to ascertain. Obviously, the more complex a manufacturing process is, the more chance that there might be some fractional ingredient, additive, lubricant, etc. of objectionable matter involved somewhere in the process, none of which will ever appear on the label of the finished product.
The V symbol is for strictly vegan plant products. Here we ignore the kinds of fertilizers used to grow the plants, the wax preservative polished onto them, the stearic acid in the tires of the truck bringing them to market, etc.
Go through this list; it makes fascinating reading. But do not let it dismay or overwhelm you; it can really empower you. Nor does it make shopping so terribly complicated: in time you will realize how much simpler life can be and should be, than how most of us live it anyway.
Before long, you will not have to carry such a list with you when you go shopping. You will know which brands or individual items of food are really food and which are concoctions of chemicals. It has been said, "If you don't really know what it is, don't buy it." Also: "If you can't spell it, (or if the spelling is more than 15 characters long) you're probably better off without that chemical, for the sake of your own health."
ACETIC ACID -- Acidulant (q.v. = also see) and preservative (q.v.). Used in pickles, sauces, preserves. Can be made by synthetic processes or derived from vinegar. M or V.
ACIDULANT -- Added to give tartness (acidity) to foods, to increase flavor intensity. In soft drinks, jellies, jams, preserves, pickles, etc. Includes acetic, ascorbic, citric, fumaric, lactic, malic, phosphoric, succinic, and tartaric acids. Mainly derived from industrial fermentation. M, V.
ADRENALIN -- From the adrenals of hogs, cattle and sheep (A). Used medicinally. Synthetics available.
ALBUMIN -- Used as a food binder. A protein in various animal and vegetable substances/cells. Commercially made from egg white (O).
ALGINATE -- Thickener (q.v.) derived from seaweed. Includes alginic acid, algin (sodium alginate). Replaces gelatin (q.v.). Used in cheeses, salad dressings, frozen desserts, cake mixes, puddings. M, V.
ALIPHATIC ALCOHOL -- Aliphatic means "of, or obtained from fat; fatty." See vitamin A.
ALLANTOIN -- A uric acid from cows, other mammals (A). Also in many plants (especially comfrey) (V). Used in cosmetics, especially creams and lotions; and in the treatment of wounds and skin ulcers.
AMBERGRIS -- Waxy substance from sperm whale intestines (A). Used in perfumes, and a flavoring in foods and beverages. Synthetic or vegetable fixatives available.
AMINO ACIDS -- "Building blocks" of proteins. In cosmetics, vitamins, supplements, shampoos, food flavorings, etc. A or V, depending on source.
AMNIOTIC FLUID -- Fluid surrounding the fetus within the placenta. (A) Used in cosmetics.
AMYLASE -- An enzyme that helps turn starch into sugar. Prepared from the pancreas of hogs (A). Used in cosmetics and medicines.
ANCHOVY -- A small fish of the herring family. Often an ingredient of Worcestershire sauce and pizza toppings, as a flavor enhancer. (A)
ANGORA -- Fibre obtained from rabbits or goats (A). Use: clothing.
ANIMAL OILS AND FATS -- In foods, cosmetics (considered allergenic), etc. (A) Plant derivatives are generally superior; vegan alternatives include olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, soya oil, wheat germ oil, coconut oil, almond oil, etc.
ANTICAKING AGENT -- (or desiccant). Used to dry out foods to prevent lumping. Used in some powdered foods, e.g. (such as) salt, some sugars, milk powder, onion and garlic salts. This group includes calcium phosphate, magnesium carbonate, calcium or magnesium silicate, silica gel, talc, starch. M, V. However, calcium stearate may be animal (A).
ANTI-FOAMING AGENT -- Used to prevent foaming, such as during the boiling of soups and jellies, and the fermentation of wines. Also used in cooking oils. Dimethyl polysiloxane is a typical example. M.
ANTIOXIDANT -- Such as ascorbic acid, lecithin, butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA), butylated hydroxy toluene (BHT), gallic acid derivatives, tocopherols. Usually M or V. Used to prevent rancidity or browning in foods, thereby increasing shelf life. Added to fruit/fruit products (mainly as ascorbic acid), oils, fats, potato chips, biscuits, breakfast cereals, soup mixes, wine and beer.
ARACHIDONIC ACID -- A liquid unsaturated fatty acid occurring in the liver, brain, glands and fat of animals. Generally isolated from the liver (A). In skin creams and lotions to soothe eczema and rashes.
ASCORBIC ACID -- Acidulant, antioxidant, and improving agent. Vitamin C. Extracted from plants or synthesized from glucose. V or M.
ASPARTIC ACID -- DL and L Forms. Amino succinate Acid. Can be from animal or plant (such as molasses) source. In creams and ointments. Sometimes synthesized for commercial use. A, M, or V.
ASPIC -- Savory jelly derived from meat and fish (A). Used as a glazing agent.
ASTRAKHAN -- Skin of still-born or very young lambs from a breed originating in Astrakhan, Russia. Used for clothing (A).
AZO. DYES -- Artificial colorings synthesized from petroleum. M.
BAKING POWDER -- A leavening agent (q.v.).
BEE PRODUCTS (I) -- Made by bees for the use of bees. Bees are selectively bred; culls are killed. A cheap sugar is substituted for their stolen honey, and if insufficient amount is given they starve over the winter. Smoke is often used to intoxicate the bees, making them more docile for handling. See bee pollen, beeswax, honey, propolis, royal jelly (all I).
BEE POLLEN -- Collected from the legs of bees. According to Amberwood, "their legs are often torn off by pollen- collecting trap doors." In food supplements, shampoos. Too concentrated for human use, and causes allergic reactions in some people. (I)
BEESWAX -- Secreted by bees to produce combs (I). Used in lipsticks and many other cosmetics, in making candles, crayons, furniture and floor polishes. Alternatives include paraffin (petroleum wax), various vegetable oils, fats, waxes (carnauba, candelilla wax, etc.) from plant sources (V); synthetic beeswax (M).
BENZOIC ACID -- A Preservative used in tea and coffee extracts, pickles, juices, soft drinks, etc. M.
BIPHENYL (DIPHENYL) -- Preservative used to control mold growth on citrus fruit. Applied to wrappers or to the inside of shipping containers. M.
BLEACHING AGENT -- Used to process flour and produce a uniform color. Includes nitrogen oxides, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, ammonium persulphate. Used in bread manufacture. M.
BONE ASH -- (bone earth) -- Ash of burned bones, used as a fertilizer, in making ceramics, and in cleaning or polishing compounds. A.
BONE MEAL -- Animal bones (A). In some fertilizers, vitamins and supplements as a source of calcium; and toothpastes. Alternatives: plant mulch, vegetable compost, dolomite, clay, vegetarian vitamins.
BONITO FLAKES -- A fish derivative -- "bonito" is a type of mackerel -- used in some macrobiotic foods. A.
BULKING AGENTS -- Such as polydextrose. (M). Used to increase volume, as in slimming products.
BRAWN -- Boiled meat, ears and tongue of pig. A.
BRISTLE -- Stiff animal hair (usually from pigs), used in brushes (A). Replaced by nylon, other synthetics (M).
BUTYLATED HYDROXY ANISOLE (BHA) -- Antioxidant. M.
BUTYLATED HYDROXY TOLUENE (BHT) -- Antioxidant. M.
CALCIUM CHLORIDE -- In preserved fruit/vegies for crisping/firming. M, but avoid for health's sake.
CALCIUM PHOSPHATE -- Anticaking agent; adds calcium in bread. Usually from crushed rocks. M.
CAPRYLIC ACID -- Can come from cow and goat milk (L). Also from palm and coconut oil, other plant oils (V). In perfumes, soaps.
CARAMEL -- Food coloring. Formerly plain burnt sugar; now may also contain dairy cream, skim milk (L). Also see sugar, and charcoal.
CARMINE/CARMINIC ACID -- Red pigment obtained from the crushed female cochineal insect (I). Reportedly 70,000 beetles may be killed to produce a single pound of this dye. In cosmetics, shampoos, red apple sauce and other foods. May cause allergic reactions. Alternatives include beet juice or alkanet root; no known toxicity in either.
CAROB GUM -- Stabilizer. Gum from the locust bean. Used in ice cream, salad dressing, pie fillings, bakery products, soft cheeses, infant foods. Carob itself is a more healthful chocolate substitute. V.
CASEIN -- The main protein of cow milk. Casein and caseinates are used in many manufactured foods, such as "non-dairy" creamers -- so-called because they are not primarily dairy-based. It does not mean they are free of all dairy-derived ingredients. L.
CASHMERE -- Fine wool from the domestic or wild goats of Kashmir or Tibet. Sweaters or other clothing made from this wool. A.
CASTOREUM (castor) -- An aroma fixative obtained from the anal sex gland of the beaver (A). Used in perfumes and incense. Alternatives: synthetics, plant sources. Not to be confused with CASTOR OIL, which is from the castor bean (V) and is in many cosmetics.
CATGUT -- Tough cord or thread made from the intestines of sheep, cattle or horses (A). Used for stringing musical instruments and tennis rackets, surgical stitching. Substitutes include nylon and other modern synthetic fibers (M).
CAVIAR -- Roe of the sturgeon and other fish (A: the mother fish are cut open to obtain it).
CELLULOSE -- Used as an emulsifier and thickener, in ice cream, pie fillings, and in slimming foods. Obtained from plants. V.
CETYL ALCOHOL, cetyl lactate, cetyl myristate, cetyl palmitate, ceteth-1, -2, etc. -- Wax found in spermaceti (see) from sperm whales or dolphins (A). Used in lipsticks, mascaras, nail polish removers, hand lotions, cream rouges, many other cosmetics, shampoos, hair lacquers and other hair products, deodorants, antiperspirants. (Federal regulations currently prohibit the use in the U.S.A. of ingredients derived from marine mammals.) Alternatives: vegetable cetyl alcohol, such as coconut (V), or synthetic spermaceti (M).
CHALK (Creta preparata) -- Used in bread as a source of calcium. M.
CHAMOIS -- Soft leather from the skin of the chamois antelope, sheep, goats, deer, etc. (A). Used mainly for cleaning/polishing cloth.
CHARCOAL -- Clarifying agent, used in making soft and alcoholic drinks, and refining sugar (q.v.); also used in some water-filters. Derived from animal or plant materials. A or V.
CHELATING AGENTS -- See sequestering agents.
CHITIN - Organic base of the hard parts of insects and crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, etc.). Used in skin care products, thickener and moisturizer in shampoos. I or A.
CHOLESTERIN, Cholesterol. A steroid alcohol, in all animal fats and oils, nerve tissue, egg yolk, and blood (A). Can also be derived from lanolin (q.v.) A. In cosmetics, eye creams, shampoos, etc. Alternatives: synthetics; also concentrated from trace amounts in certain plants.
CHOLE-CALCIFEROL -- See vitamin D3.
CITRIC ACID -- An Acidulant. M or V.
CIVET -- Substance scraped from glands in the anal pouch of a civet cat, kept in a cage for this purpose (A). Used as a fixative in perfumes.
CLARIFYING AGENT -- Used to remove turbidity from wine, beer, vinegar, fruit juices and soft drinks. Wide variety used, such as tannin (V), gelatin (A), cellulose (V), albumin (usually O, from factory farm eggs), pectinases (V), isinglass (A), and fungal proteases (V).
COCHINEAL -- Dye-stuff consisting of the dried bodies of scale insects. Used for making carmine, a red coloring for food and drink. I.
COD LIVER OIL -- Oil extracted from the liver of cod and related fish. Used as a food supplement or medicine. A.
COLLAGEN -- A fibrous protein, usually derived from animal tissue (A). Used in cosmetics, though no beneficial effect proven for the skin's own collagen. Alternatives (V): soy protein, almond oil, etc.
COLORING -- In many foods such as soft drinks, confectionery, jellies, baked goods, cake mixes, packed fruits, cheese, butter, margarine. Colorings are synthetic -- coal tar or petroleum dyes -- (M) or natural. Most natural colors are plant derivatives (V): chlorophylls, carotenoids, turmeric, annatto. Some are non-vegan, such as cochineal (I).
CORAL -- Hard calcareous substance consisting of the continuous skeleton secreted by certain polyps for their support and habitation. Used for ornaments. A.
CORTISONE (cortico steroid) -- Hormone from cattle liver (A), widely used in medicine. Synthetic alternatives widely available.
CYSTEINE L-Form, CYSTINE -- Two amino acids which can come from animals (A). Used in hair products and creams, bakery products, and some medicaments. Alternatives (V): plant protein sources.
DEXTROSE (glucose) -- Sweetener, manufactured from starch. V.
DOWN -- Insulating feathers, usually from geese or ducks (A). Used in pillows, quilts, parkas, sleeping bags. Poor for cold, wet weather as it packs down. There are many superior alternatives in synthetic fibers; milkweed seed-pod fibers.
DUODENUM SUBSTANCES -- Material from the digestive tracts of cattle and swine (A). In some vitamins and medicines. Alternatives: vegetarian vitamins, synthetics.
EGG ALBUMIN (albumen) -- In eggs, milk, muscles, blood, and various vegetable tissues and fluids. For cosmetics, albumin generally is from egg whites (O); it may cause allergic reactions. Used in cakes, cookies, candies, other foods. Egg whites are sometimes employed in "clearing" wines.
EGG PROTEIN (O) -- In shampoos, skin care products, etc. Alternatives (V) are plant proteins.
EIDER DOWN -- Small, soft feathers from the breast of the eider duck (A). Used for filling quilts. Alternatives: as for "down" (q.v.).
ELASTIN -- Protein uniting muscle fibers in meat (A). Used as a moisturizer in cosmetics.
EMULSIFIERS -- Permit oil to be dispersed in water. They produce a smooth and even texture, and allow the desired body and consistency to be obtained in many food products. These include margarine, nut butters, shortenings, salad creams, baked goods, sweets, and desserts. Emulsifiers can be obtained from a variety of sources: vegetable gums such as alginate, carrageenan, locust bean (carob) gum, pectines, algal celluloses (all V). Also lecithin from soya beans (V) or egg white (O); fatty acid derivatives from fats (usually A). There are also synthetic emulsifiers (M).
ENZYMES -- Biological molecules which break down foods, help to modify or synthesize them. These include rennet (A) and pepsin (A) used to make cheese. Increasingly likely to be genetically engineered.
ESTROGEN -- Female sex hormone, from cow ovaries or pregnant mares' urine (A). Uses: cosmetics, body building supplements, hormone creams, hormone therapy. Plant- derived synthetic (M/V) available.
EXCIPIENTS -- Additive powders used as carriers of other additives, e.g., magnesium silicate (M).
FATTY ACIDS -- Organic compounds: saturated, polyunsaturated, and unsaturated. Processed from animal fats (A) or vegetable oils (V). Used in soaps, cosmetics, detergents, shampoos, foods. Vegan sources are vegetable derived acids, soya lecithin, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc.
FEATHERS (plumage) -- Epidermal appendages of a bird (A). Uses: fashion accessory/decoration, feather dusters, in pillows. Sometimes ground up and put in shampoos, etc.
FELT -- Cloth made of wool, or of wool and fur or hair (A). Used in hats and other clothing, some furniture, weatherstripping, and in the works of pianos. Modern substitutes are synthetic (M).
FIRMING AGENTS -- Used to impart firmness or improved texture to processed foods. Calcium and magnesium salts (M) are used in canned tomatoes, potatoes, apples and peas.
FISH LIVER OIL (cod-liver oil, fish livers) -- (A). Used in lubricating creams and lotions, vitamins and supplements. In milk fortified with vitamin D3 (see vitamin D). Alternatives: vegetable oils, yeast extract, ergosterol, sunshine.
FISH SCALES -- (A) Used to make certain makeup preparations shimmer. Alternatives: mica (M), rayon (M/V).
FLAVORINGS -- The largest group of food additives; hundreds are available, generally M or V, though a rare exception (A) possible. Many flavors used are natural (spices, essential oils, clove extract, ginger extract, vanilla extract -- though the medium may be alcohol in extracts). Others are synthetic, imitation flavors. In a variety of foods, soft drinks, candies, baked goods, etc.
FLAVOR ENHANCERS -- Used to emphasize or add to a food's flavor. Generally, the less the better, for health reasons. Salt, spices, sugar and vinegar are traditional enhancers. Another common one today is monosodium glutamate -- MSG (M/V) produced by hydrolysis of vegetable materials (cereals, sugar beet or soya beans).
FREEZANT -- Can be applied directly to foods to chill and then freeze them. An example is nitrogen (M), which comprises nearly 4/5 of the atmosphere.
FUR -- The hair and skin (pelt) of an animal usually trapped or farmed for the purpose (A). Nowadays more a status symbol than a necessity; humane alternatives include various natural and synthetic materials. Contrary to popular belief, even petrochemical fake-furs (M) use far less fossil fuel to produce, and need no energy-greedy refrigerated storage in the summer.
GELATIN (gelatine) -- Thickener obtained by boiling animal skins, ligaments, tendons, etc. Used in confectionery, marshmallows, photo film emulsion, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products, jelled desserts, vitamin/medicine capsules. Also used in "clearing" some wines. A. Vegan alternatives include algae and seaweed: agar-agar, carrageen (Irish moss), kelp, algin, fruit pectin, locust bean gum.
GELLING AGENT -- Ingredient added to thicken foods or form a gel. Examples: gelatin (A); agar-agar or alginic acid (V).
GLAZING AGENT -- Creates a surface shine or protective coating. Used on dried fruits, sweets and desserts. Examples are beeswax (I), carnauba wax (V), shellac (I), mineral hydrocarbons (M), and refined crystalline wax (M).
GLUTAMIC ACID -- An amino acid in plant or animal tissue. Used as food seasoning and as a cosmetic antioxidant. V or A, depending on the source.
GLYCERIDES -- (monoglycerides, diglycerides). Usually from tallow -- animal fat (A). In margarines, cake mixes, confectioneries, cosmetics, etc. See glycerin below. Alternatives are from vegetable oils, or are synthetics.
GLYCERIN -- (glycerol, polyglycerol) -- This is used as a humectant, texture improver, and as a solvent for other food additives. Derivatives are used as emulsifiers. Also used in automatic transmission fluid -- ATF and brake fluid. Glycerin is also used as a humectant in cigarettes. It can be manufactured from petroleum (M), by fermentation of sugars (V), or as a by-product in the making of soaps, (usually made from tallow -A).
GUANINE -- (pearl essence) -- Constituent of RNA and DNA (q.v.), found in both animal and plant tissues. Commercially obtained from fish scales (A). Used in nail polish and other cosmetics, shampoos, etc. Plant-source alternatives and synthetics are known.
GUAR GUM -- Used as an emulsifier in salad dressings, soups, ice cream. It is extruded from the seeds of a legume. V.
HIDE -- Animal skin (tanned or raw); see leather. Hide glue (A) is sometimes used in furniture making; alternatives in common use are synthetic adhesives (M).
HONEY -- Sweet material converted from flower nectar that has been gathered by bees and processed in the "honey crop" (first stomach chamber). It is then regurgitated for storing and eating by other bees (I). It can cause allergic reactions; and it has induced lethal botulism in infants. Basically, it is a concentrated sugar. Used in foods, cosmetics. Alternatives: See "sweeteners."
HORSEHAIR, other animal hair -- (A). In some upholstery, blankets, mattresses, brushes, etc. Synthetic and plant fibers are common alternatives.
HUMECTANTS -- Used to absorb or retain moisture. They include glycerin (often A), propylene glycol (M), and sorbitol (M) (all q.v.). Used in confectionery, dried fruit, etc.
HYDROLYZED PROTEINS -- Added to soups, processed cheese, packaged foods, flavoring extracts, and soya sauce, to enhance flavor and increase the nutritional value. Also in some shampoos, hair care preparations. The additive itself is A, L, or V, depending on the source of the protein.
IMPROVING AGENTS -- Used to improve dough-making characteristics of bread. They include ascorbic acid, calcium phosphate, ammonium or potassium bromate. M.
INCIDENTAL ADDITIVES -- Those whose
presence in food is unintentional. They include migrant additives from materials used in packaging (e.g. printing ink, waxes, PVC), residues of materials used transiently in processing (such as solvents used during extraction) and residues of agricultural chemicals (antibiotics, pesticides). These materials are not regarded as additives and so are not listed on the label. Mainly M.
INSULIN -- From the pancreas of hogs, sheep, or oxen (A). A managing treatment for diabetes (with its own side effects), not a "cure." Synthetic now available, though not necessarily fully unobjectionable. As with many major maladies, some genetic predisposition may play a part in diabetes; but the precipitating cause is commonly found in the typical western diet heavy with animal fats and proteins (in meat and dairy products), and refined foods. Under competent nutritional guidance and medical monitoring, radical dietary adjustments can greatly reduce the dosage in most cases, often to the vanishing point.
ISINGLASS -- A gelatin obtained from the air bladders of some fresh-water fish, especially the sturgeon (A). Used in clarifying alcoholic drinks, and in some jelled desserts.
KAPOK (Java cotton, or "silk-cotton") -- A soft fiber from around the seeds of certain tropical trees. First imported into Europe in 1851, it has a long history of successful use as the stuffing of pillows, mattresses, upholstery, and life- preservers. V.
KERATIN -- A protein found in hair, horns, hooves and feathers. Used in shampoos and conditioners, and in fertilizer. A. There are vegetable (V) substitutes.
LACTIC ACID -- Acidulant used extensively in pickles and preserves, processed foodstuffs, desserts, beer, confectionery, soft drinks, dairy products. Occurs naturally in sour milk and various plant-source foods. Ordinary or racemic lactic acid can be prepared from sour milk (L), or by fermentation of plant materials such as corn starch, potatoes, molasses (V), or synthesis (M).
LACTOSE (milk sugar) -- A by-product of the cheese industry. It is used as a sweetener, a filler in tablets, and in prepared dairy items. L.
LANOLIN (and various "lanol" or "lanate" derivatives) -- Fat extracted from sheep's wool (see under "wool") (A). Uses: cleaning products, an emollient and emulsifier used in cosmetics, especially lipsticks, skin or hair-care products. Greasy and waterproofing, lanolin frequently causes allergic skin rashes. Vegetable oil products (V) are claimed to be better moisturizers, allowing the skin to "breathe."
LARD -- Fat surrounding the stomach and kidneys of the pig, sheep and cattle (A). Used in cosmetics, baked goods, shaving creams. Vegetable fats and oils (V) are acceptable alternatives.
L'CYSTEINE HYDROCHLORIDE -- Manufactured from animal hair or chicken feathers (A), or synthetically from coal tar (M). Uses include in shampoo, and as "improving agent" for white flour.
LEATHER -- Tanned hide, mostly from cattle but also sheep, pigs, goats, etc. (A). Used in clothing and footwear, clothing accessories, upholstery. A wealth of alternatives, including various natural and synthetic fibers, rubber, and plastic products.
LEAVENING AGENTS -- Used to make unfermented dough light and porous. They consist of a source of carbon dioxide gas and an acid or acid-producing substance (to release the gas). They include calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar. M or V.
LECITHIN -- Antioxidant and emulsifier. Mainly obtained commercially from soybean, peanut and corn (V). Also obtained from eggs (O). Used extensively in the food industry and especially in margarine and chocolate; also in various cosmetics.
LINOLEIC ACID -- An essential fatty acid (q.v.). In cosmetics, vitamins. A or V, depending on source.
LIPASE -- Enzyme from stomachs, etc., of various slaughtered young farm animals (A). May be in some vitamins. Vegetable enzymes are available.
LIPOIDS/LIPIDS -- Fat and fat-like substances found in animals (A) and plants (V).
LUNA SPONGE (sea sponge) -- A plant like sea animal (A). (See also: sponge.)
LUTEIN -- Substance of deep yellow color found in egg yolk (O). Obtained commercially from marigold (V). Used as a food coloring.
MALTOL -- A flavor enhancer used to give a "freshly baked" odor to bread and cakes. Also used in drinks, jams and confectionery. M.
MILK PROTEIN -- Hydrolyzed milk protein. From cow milk (L). In cosmetics, shampoos, skin preparations. Plant proteins (such as soy, V) can be used instead.
MINERAL OIL, or Petrolatum -- Used for the preservation of dried fruit, as a coating on cheese, and in bakeries for greasing tins and trays. From petroleum. Mineral oil may interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins during digestion. M.
MINK OIL -- From minks (A). It is used in various cosmetics. Vegetable oils (V) make good substitutes.
MODIFIED STARCH -- Chemically treated starch. A stabilizer. M/V.
MOHAIR -- Cloth or yarn made of hair of the Angora goat. Used in clothing, some upholstery. A.
MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE or MSG -- A flavor enhancer (q.v.), used extensively in Chinese-style cooking. Not recommended, for health reasons. V.
MUSK -- Substance secreted in a sac, by the male musk deer (A). Used mainly in perfumes. Plant and synthetic substitutes available.
"NATURAL SOURCE." -- Vegan buyer beware! This can mean animal, vegetable, or mineral source. In the health food industry, and in cosmetics, it often means an animal source, as with various extracts from animal tissues, protein, fat, oil, etc. (A) Read ingredients carefully (or contact manufacturer) to determine the actual source.
NUCLEIC ACID -- From the nucleus of any living cell. Used in shampoos, cosmetics, supplements, etc. Source can be animal (A) or plant (V) kingdom.
NUTRIENTS -- Added to some foods to boost the nutritive value of a processed food (often to restore some of the nutrients lost during processing). Iron, calcium and B vitamins are added to white flour. Vitamins A and D are added to margarine. Some additives have a nutrient function: ascorbic acid, used as an Acidulant, is also a vitamin. Most vitamins are synthesized nowadays (M); but D2 is (V), D3 is (A). Vitamin B12 (q.v.): synthetic as such is (V); "natural" B12 is (A).
OCTYL DODECANOL -- Mixture of solid waxy alcohols, mainly from stearyl alcohol (q.v.).
OLEIC ACID -- Fatty acid occurring in animal and vegetable fats. Used in soaps, cosmetics, ointments. A or V, depending on source.
OLEOIC OIL -- Liquid obtained from pressed tallow (A). Used in some margarines.
OLEOSTEARIN -- Solid obtained from pressed tallow (A). Uses: soap and candle-making.
PALMITIC ACID, palmitate -- Fatty acid from fats, oils, mixed with stearic acid (q.v.). Used in shaving soaps, creams, shampoos. Can be from animal (A) or vegetable fats/oils (V). (See fatty acids.)
PARCHMENT -- Skin of the sheep or goat, dressed and prepared for writing, etc. (A).
PANTHENOL, dexpanthenol, vitamin B complex factor, provitamin B5 -- Found in foods, shampoos, supplements. Can be animal, synthetic, or plant source. A, M, or V.
PEARL -- The pain-dulling nacre formed in layers around a foreign particle within the shell of the oyster or other bivalve mollusk (A).
PEARL, CULTURED -- "Cultured" pearl (A) means that the foreign material has been artificially inserted into the oyster, to irritate it and cause it to make a pearl around it. "Mother-of-pearl" is a pearly inner layer of the shell of the mollusk (A); used in jewelry/decoration. The term is also used for a plastic imitation, such as in toilet seats.
PECTIN -- Used as a setting agent or emulsifier; extracted from apple pulp and orange pith. V. Used in jams, confectionery, ice cream.
PEPSIN -- A clotting agent from pig stomachs, used with rennet (A) in cheese manufacture. A.
PHYTIC ACID -- (V) A sequestering agent, found naturally in bread and cereal grain; it binds calcium and iron, making them relatively unavailable during digestion. Its binding effect is reduced during the leavening process. The body can adapt to phytic acid in the diet by producing an enzyme which destroys it.
PLACENTA, afterbirth -- Organ by which the fetus is attached to the umbilical cord (A). Taken from the uterus of a slaughtered animal. Widely used in shampoos, cosmetics and skin creams, etc., sometimes in the forlorn hope that it "smooths wrinkles." Vegetable oils, and kelp are said to be alternatives.
POLYPEPTIDES -- From slaughterhouse wastes (A). (See RNA/ DNA.) Alternatives: proteins and enzymes from plant sources.
PRESERVATIVES -- Used to prevent or delay the food spoilage caused by micro-organisms. Smoking, pickling, and salting are examples of traditional preservation processes. Sulphur dioxide (M) is one of the most widely used, added to beer, wine, fruit juices, jams, canned and dried vegetables. Others are benzoic acid (M), propionates (M), benzoates (M), and sorbates (M). Spoilage can also be delayed by physical methods, such as freezing, drying, or pasteurization. There is no substitute fully equal to actual freshness.
PROGESTERONE -- A steroid sex hormone (A). Used in hormone creams, and medical therapy. Can have adverse systemic effects. Synthetics are available.
PROPELLANTS -- Gases used to expel foods from aerosols. Not listed on food labels. Generally M.
PROPIONIC ACID, PROPIONATES (calcium --, potassium --, sodium propionate) -- Preservatives in bread, cheese, frozen pizza. Occurs naturally in various plant products and in animal substances; produced commercially from various fuels (M). Linked to migraine headaches. Skin rashes noted in bakery workers handling the material in pure form.
PROPOLIS -- Bee glue (I). A resinous substance collected from various plants by bees and used by them to stop up crevices and fix combs to the hive. Used in toiletries and cosmetics, supplements.
PROPYLENE GLYCOL -- Humectant. M.
PROTEASES -- Enzymes that aid protein breakdown. Used in manufacture of soya sauce, tamari and miso; also in clarifying fruit juices. Most proteases are extracted from plants or micro-organisms (V or L). One protease, rennet (A), used in cheese manufacture, is extracted from the stomach of young calves.
QUATERNIUM 27. From tallow (q.v.). A. Added to various toiletries.
RELEASING AGENTS -- Used to prevent food sticking to packaging, mounds, tins and machinery. One is magnesium stearate (probably A).
RENNET -- A protease (q.v.) used in making hard and cream cheeses. A slaughterhouse product, obtained from calves' stomachs. For economic reasons, rennet (A) is usually mixed with other enzymes such as pepsin (A) from pigs. Plant rennets, from micro-organisms, are available and used with dairy milk to make some "vegetarian" cheeses, (L) due to the milk that is the main ingredient.
RNA/DNA, ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, polypeptides -- In all animal or plant cells; commercially taken from slaughterhouse wastes (A). In many cosmetics, shampoos. Vegan alternative (if any necessary) could be from plant cells.
ROE -- Eggs from abdomen of slain female fish (O/A). See caviar.
ROYAL JELLY -- Secretion of the throat glands of honeybee workers; the food on which bee larvae are fed, causing them to develop into queen bees (I). Used as a food supplement. No proven value in cosmetic preparations; alternatives here include aloe vera, comfrey, other plant derivatives.
SABLE -- Fur from the sable marten, a small carnivorous mammal (A). Uses: clothing, artists' brushes, cosmetic brushes. Synthetic fibers (M) are good substitutes, widely available.
SEQUESTERING AGENTS -- Used to counteract the effects of metal ions by binding them and thus making them inactive. Metal ions can adversely affect color, clarity, flavor, and stability. Citric acid, phytic acid, tartaric acid and orthophosphate are examples of these additives. They are used in margarine, salad dressings, soft drinks, tinned fruit and vegetables. M, V.
SHELLAC -- Insect secretion (I). Used in hair spray, lip sealer, polishes, as a glazing agent, and in painting.
SILK -- Cloth made from the fibre produced by the larvae ("silk worms") of certain moths (I). Harvesting involves the destruction of the insect, either by roasting or boiling alive. Used in clothing and some cosmetics. Insect silk is easily replaced by fine rayon (M/V=from plant cellulose), nylon (M=petrochemical), or other synthetics.
SODIUM CARBOXY-METHYL CELLULOSE -- A cellulose derivative used as a filler in slimming foods. V, M.
SODIUM CHLORIDE -- Or table salt. Used as a flavor enhancer and a preservative. M.
SODIUM 5'-INOSINATE -- Occurs naturally in muscle. Prepared from fish waste (A). Used as a flavor enhancer.
SOLVENT -- Used to dissolve and help carry other additives, such as dichloromethane (M), ethylacetate (M), glycerol salts (A).
SORBIC ACID -- A preservative used in margarines, cheese, sauces, fruit juices and confectionery. M.
SORBITOL -- Used as a humectant and a sweetener. Used in foods for diabetics. M.
SPERM OIL -- Oil found in the head of various species of whales. Used in candle-making. A.
SPERMACETI WAX -- Fatty substance found mainly in the head of the sperm whale, other whales and dolphins. Uses: medicines, candle-making, cosmetics. A.
SPONGE -- Aquatic animal or colony of animals of a "low order," with a tough elastic skeleton of interlaced fibers (A). Used as a bath aid, and in cleaning. They have been largely replaced by cellulose or nylon substitutes (M). Vegetable "loofa" sponges are also available (V).
SQUALENE/SQUALANE -- Found in the liver of the shark (A). Used in toiletries and cosmetics, and as a lubricant. Vegetable oils are alternatives.
STABILIZERS -- Used to impart a smooth texture to certain foods and to prevent separation of oil/water emulsions. They can be obtained from a variety of sources, such as guar gum (V), carragheen (V), pectin (V), xanthan gum (V), agar (V), celluloses (V and M), gelatin (A). They are used in frozen or jelled desserts, whipped products, dairy items, soft drinks, cake mixes, jam.
STARCH -- Starch, modified starches: used as stabilizers. V and M.
STEARATES -- Fats used as emulsifiers. The parent compound (stearic acid) is often a by-product of making soap from animal fat, tallow (A). Stearates can be made from many vegetable oils or fats (M/V) such as the coconut; and some soaps are made from vegetable fats (V). But economic factors being as they are, any listing of stearic acid or stearates is strongly suspect. Stearic acid is also used in rubber tires (for cars, trucks, buses, airliners, tractors, bikes, tricycles, etc.)
STEROID, sterol -- Steroids include sterols, alcohols from animals or plants (such as cholesterol). Used in hormone preparations, lotions, hair conditioners, some body-building supplements, etc. Could be A, M, or V, depending on the source.
SUEDE -- Kid, pig, or calf skin, tanned; noted for its soft, velour-like appearance and texture (A). Used in footwear and clothing. Alternatives available, as for leather (q.v.).
SUET -- Prepared from the fat around the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep (A). Used in cooking or making tallow.
SUGAR -- Sweetener (q.v.) refined and concentrated from cane juice or processed from sugar beets. In the U.S.A., most cane sugar is clarified with a bone charcoal filter (A) and is avoided for this reason by many vegetarians and vegans; beet sugar is not processed thus. Molasses (V) is removed well before this final clarification process. In Australia, a newer ionization process is largely used; most U.S.A. refineries are old; newer ones are rare, due to gradual replacement of cane sugar by corn syrup (V/M), etc.
SULPHUR DIOXIDE -- A widely used group of preservatives. M. Avoided for health reasons, especially by asthmatics and others sensitive to sulphites, and those with impaired kidneys or liver. Used in dried fruit, making beer, wine, vinegar; etc.
SWEETENERS -- Include natural (often highly processed) plant products such as sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, barley-malt, date sugar, maple sugar*. Mainly concentrated "empty calories"; should be used sparingly if at all. Cannot recommend artificial sweeteners either (saccharin, aspartame, in "diet" foods and drinks). Sweeteners are in desserts, soft drinks, confectionery, canned fruit and vegetables. V & M. Honey (q.v.) is an insect product (I), not used by vegans. *In boiling maple sugar, a microscopic film of vegetable oil is commonly used to keep it from bubbling. Rarely, some small operator may instead use butter (L) or other animal fat (A). (See also sugar.)
SYNERGISTS -- Used to enhance the effect of another substance, e.g. tartaric acid (V), citric acid (V).
TALLOW -- Hard animal fat, especially obtained from about the kidneys of ruminant animals (A). Used in soap and candle-making, margarines, lubricants, rubber, crayons, waxed paper, cosmetics, toiletries. Alternatives include vegetable fats, petroleum paraffin.
TESTOSTERONE -- Male hormone (A). Used in body- build supplements.
TEXTURE AGENTS -- Include emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners (all q.v.). They are used widely in ice cream and frozen desserts, milk products, soft drinks, margarine, bread and pastry, confectionery.
THICKENERS -- Added to foods to give a smooth, uniform texture, or more viscosity. Similar to emulsifiers (q.v.) and stabilizers (q.v.).
UREA, uric acid -- Waste nitrogen formed in the liver and excreted by the kidneys (A). Also produced synthetically (M). Used in toiletries and cosmetics, and in making some types of plastics and adhesives.
VELLUM -- Fine parchment, made from the skins of calves, lambs or kids (A). Used for writing material.
VELVET -- A soft fabric formerly made of silk (I), now generally rayon or nylon, (M/V). Velveteen is a similar fabric made of cotton. All are used in clothing, fine drapery, upholstery.
VITAMIN A, retinol, acetate, palmitate (see palmitic acid) -- Can be from fish-liver oil, egg yolks, butter, carrot carotene, etc. Mostly synthesized now, for economic reasons. In cosmetics, vitamins, supplements, etc. A, O, L, M, or V.
VITAMIN B12 -- "Natural" B12 is made by micro-organisms and is stored in the body; thus present in meat, and to some extent other animal source foods; commonly processed from liver (A). "Synthetic" B12 as such is V, although sometimes put in a mix or capsule of animal origin.
VITAMIN D -- Readily made in the human upon fairly brief exposure to sunlight. D2 (ergocalciferol) is made by irradiating ergosterol, a provitamin from plants or yeast (V). D3 (chole-calciferol) is derived from fish oil (A), sometimes lanolin (wool fat) (A). Used as a vitamin in processed foods and food supplements.
WHEY -- A by-product of cheese making: residue from milk (L) after the removal of the casein and most of the fat. Uses: margarines, baked goods, cleaning products, etc. A substitute can be made from soy.
WOOL -- The fleece of domesticated sheep or other animals selectively bred for an abnormally heavy coat of hair. It is periodically painfully shorn leaving no protection for the animals, many of whom die of exposure to cold. Final shearing is often the first step in the slaughter process (A). Used in clothing, carpets, felt, etc. Alternatives include cotton, cotton flannel or quilted cotton; also linen, various synthetic fibers.