Labels on food products can be misleading and this can mean trouble for those who follow strictly vegetarian or vegan diet. For example, it has been found that there are some food colours which are actually obtained from crushed beetles. Even certain varieties of cheese contain enzymes which have been obtained from calf. Often, companies name chemical ingredients used, and completely ignore the source. These animal derived products may not be labelled properly and can mislead vegetarians.
Now we all thought that is safe to have ice creams as it contains just milk and sugar. But as per studies, some brands of ice creams contain a fatty acid which is obtained from animals. It is known as capric acid. As for the white sugar, keep in mind that it can have bone char which is used for the purpose of refining the sugar.
Renowned brands like Cadbury’s are also found to have an enzyme called rennet which is obtained from the stomach of calf. This enzyme is used as a coagulating agent. The hot chocolate from McDonalds is also found to contain rennet. In the past, some chocolates in Malaysia from Cadbury’s were found to have pig’s DNA.
Some brands of chewing gum are found to contain gelatine. This gelatine is obtained by boiling different parts of pig and cow (tendons, bones, skin, ligaments etc). Certain chewing gum packs also mention presence of lanolin and stearic acid. This is also obtained from animal fat.
Some sauces also contain gelatine. This means that due to obvious reasons sauces also becomes a product of animal derived products.
Wine and Beer
Yes your favourite wine and beer also contain ingredients that are derived from animals. The filtration process of several wines and beers contain fish bladder or Isinglass. This ingredient is present in minute quantities and therefore usually not listed on the package.
Miso and other Japanese soups
If a cup of Miso soup is your favourite vegetarian soup, then hold on! Many Japanese soups are made from Dashi which contains water, kelp and fish flakes. Therefore they are definitely not vegetarian.
If you prefer your vegetable sandwich with cheese then be clear on one fact that different varieties of cheese contain animal products. For example Parmesan contains an animal product which is called as rennet. Calf rennet is present in other varieties of cheese like Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano etc. Some varieties of cheese contain pepsin enzyme which is extracted from the stomach of pigs.
Figs and bananas
Surprised with this entry? Well what actually happens is that many times a wasp can get stuck in the fruit and dies in it. When you eat the fig you will also eat the wasp. So in a way you can say that figs are not vegetarian. Pesticides are used on non organic bananas. These pesticides contain animal parts and therefore it is advisable to go in for the organic variety of banana. Some pesticides contain shrimp and crab shells.
Crisps and popcorns
Several well known varieties of crisps and popcorns contain different products that are derived from animals. For example Walker’s, McCoys, Pringles etc contain ingredients which are derived from animals. Tortillas contain lard and some rice crispies contain gelatine.
The pie crusts available in the stores do not contain butter. They contain lard which is obtained from animals. Lard which is not very costly helps in increasing the shelf life of these products.
There are many surprise entries in this list of foods that are not actually vegetarian. It is better to always read the labels but in some cases the amount of these ingredients that are derived from animals is so small that it is not even mentioned on the pack.