Animal ingredients to avoid

As well as obvious things, such as meat, milk, eggs and honey, there are a host of other food ingredients that come from animal products.

Here’s a list of the most common ones to avoid:

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IngredientWhat is it?Animal-free alternatives
WheyA milk by-product that is often used in processed foods, especially baked goods (biscuits, cakes, etc) and breakfast cereals.Choose a dairy-free version of the product you want to buy. See our 'Guide to Going Vegan' for lots of examples.
GelatineA jelly-like substance made from boiled animal bones, skin and ligaments.Agar, carrageenan or pectin
Vitamin D3A vitamin supplement often found in breakfast cereals that is usually made from fish oil or lanolin (from sheep).Look out for the plant-based version, vitamin D2
E120 (cochineal or carmine)Red food colouring made from insectsAvoid products with lots of E numbers, or use non-animal versions, such as E160d
E904 (shellac) & E901 (beeswax)Resins produced by insects that are used to glaze both food and non-food items.Avoid products with lots of E numbers or choose un-glazed/un-waxed versions.
E322 (lecithin)A fatty substance found in nerve tissue, egg yolk and blood. Used to emulsify fats and oils.Soya lecithin & sunflower lecithin
LactoseA sugar usually derived from cow's milk.Other forms of sugar can be used, depending on the situation, or choose a dairy-free version of the product you want to buy.
CaseinA milk protein that is the main component of cheese and is sometimes used as a food additive.Choose a dairy-free version of the product you want to buy.
Suet, dripping & lardSolid fat from the bodies of cows, pigs or sheep.Vegetable suet, dairy-free margarine, coconut oil and other vegetable oils
AlbuminProteins found in egg whites and blood, often used as binding agents.Choose a dairy-free version of the product you want to buy. See our 'Guide to Going Vegan' for lots of examples.
Worcestershire sauceA flavouring sometimes used in processed foods that contains anchovies (small fish).Vegan versions of Worcestershire sauce are produced by Biona, Geo Organics, Tiger Tiger and Granovita. Also try mushroom ketchup.
QuornA meat-substitute made from mycoprotein, which also usually contains egg and milk proteins.Quorn has a limited range of vegan products with clearly labelled packaging, or you can choose from a number of other vegan meat-substitutes. See our 'Guide to Going Vegan' for alternative brands.