Animal Aid


As a vegetarian, it's simple to avoid eating lumps of meat or fish, but it's not always so easy to spot the hidden extras - the ingredients from dead animals which are added to foods. Lots more ingredients, while not made from dead animals, are pretty dodgy in other ways. Here are some common items to watch out for and avoid!


When 'animal fat' is listed as an ingredient it means 'fat from a dead animal' and not a dairy product, so avoid it. Cakes, biscuits and margarines often contain animal fats and are not suitable for veggies. Suet, lard and dripping are all animal fat - although you can buy vegetarian suet from most supermarkets these days.


Made from egg white (almost definitely battery eggs) and used as a food binder.


Unless cheese is labelled 'vegetarian' you can assume it contains animal rennet which is taken from dead calves' stomachs. All major supermarkets sell vegetarian cheese these days. Beware of processed or ready-prepared foods which contain cheese - unless they have the V symbol, they won't be vegetarian.


Additives not suitable for vegetarians include: E120 (cochineal, from insects), E542 (made from animal bones), E631 and (made from meat or fish) and E904 (shellac, from insects). There are many others that may or may not be made from animals, for example E471.


Many biscuits and cakes and other processed foods contain eggs. If they are not labelled 'free-range' or don't have the V symbol, then you can assume they are from battery hens.


Vegetarians do not eat gelatine or aspic as they are made from dead animals and fish. Veggie alternatives include pectine, agar agar (made from seaweed) and gelozone. You'll need to watch out for gelatine in sweets, jelly and yoghurts, etc.


Vegans don't eat lactose because it is made from milk. It is a type of sugar and is commonly used to help flavourings 'stick' to crisps, etc.


You'll see this listed on some cosmetics. It comes from sheep's wool and is usually a slaughterhouse by-product, so most veggies avoid it.

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