At first glance, certain food or cosmetic products seem to contain only compounds derived from plants. However, the list of ingredients reveals substances from animals that the consumer does not know about. Decryption.
The number of consumers wishing to consume less animal products is increasing sharply. Chicken breasts, chicken eggs and cow's milk are successively replaced by tofu, lentils and vegetable milks. Yet, some food and cosmetics tout the presence of plants in their composition. As a result, the consumer favors them thinking they are choosing an alternative to the exploitation of animals. The analysis of the list of ingredients in these products reveals the existence of compounds derived from animals.
Regardless of the diet adopted, you are far from imagining the presence of such elements in your everyday products. Pig skin, blood and bovine bone powder and bird secretions, these are ingredients not used for a witch's potion but for most of the products around you.
To obtain a soft and translucent material, confectionery producers use gelatin. Obtained by boiling a pig's skin, this solid substance, transparent or slightly yellow, has neither taste nor odor. In order to market their products in all countries, some manufacturers have decided to replace pork gelatin with fish gelatin since pork cannot be eaten in the Jewish and Muslim religions.
According to European regulations, gelatin is considered an ingredient and not an additive. Thus, on the labels conforming to the European standard, gelatin may be under its original name. Yet most companies use it as a gelling additive, so it can be found under the name E441, which is not really clear to the consumer.
To whiten and purify sugar, most brands use bone powder. The latter is obtained from crushed skeletons of cattle. For brown sugar, manufacturers use carmine, a powder produced from cochineal chips to obtain a red color. Carmine – the E120 dye – is also used in ice cream and yogurts with berries. In order not to consume a product derived from animal exploitation, vegans generally favor agave syrup, coconut sugar and unrefined sugar.
Isinglass, a sticky substance from fish bladders, is used to clarify certain beers and wines. Trademarks include the use of gelatin and albumin, a protein soluble in water. The most common, serum albumin, is extracted from animal blood.
The most vegetarian sites recommend some great brands of beers found at the supermarket such as Calsberg, Heineken, Leffe which do not contain animal components in their composition.
After analysis, the composition of some shampoos reveals surprises. Most of these hair products contain lanolin, sheep wool fat, and mink oil, skinned animal extracts as well as shark liver oil. Shampoos favoring hair regrowth, may contain emu oil, an Australian bird resembling the ostrich.
Industrial soaps are mainly made from sodium tatallowate, extracted from beef fat. Many products do not use olive oil and other vegetable oils as in the traditional recipe, but animal fats as well as palm oil.
If you want to wash with 100% vegetable products, economical and ecological, Aleppo soap and black soap are good alternatives. Promote products labeled organic in the shower or to wash your laundry.
6. The toothpaste
In a report in 2016, journalists revealed the presence of pork gelatin in several toothpastes sold in supermarkets. Some Johnson & Johnson toothpaste as well as P&G care products regularly use gelatin, even if it is only present in small quantities. Fortunately, organic toothpastes adopt a 100% vegetable composition.
Some scents used in perfumes such as vanilla contain castoreum, an oily and fragrant secretion from beaver glands. Previously, toilet musk originated from the secretion of a buckskin gland. It now has a synthetic origin. However, several flavors use ambergris, an intestinal secretion from bile secretions and food ingested by sperm whales.
8. The fabric softener
Unfortunately, the softness of your clothes has a price. In addition to the polluting compounds, softener, sold in supermarkets, is made from beef and mutton fat.
9. Medications in capsules
Gelatin intrudes even in the pharmacy box. The capsule that contains the drug is made from pork gelatin or fish. Fortunately, the drugs are also available in the form of a tablet, oral solution or cream.
Most condoms contain milk proteins including casein. This means of contraception is essential since it is the only one that can protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV. There are brands of Vegan Guaranteed Condoms such as Glyde, Billy Boy or RFSU that are available for sale on the Internet.
How to choose your products? Buying your food products and cosmetics labeled organic or vegan is important because they provide you with the guarantee of protecting the planet as well as all its inhabitants. For an additive of animal origin not to be included in the composition of products, vegan and vegetarian logos have been created to provide the means for the consumer to avoid animal exploitation. The important thing is to decrypt the labels. If you are not sure of a product, make it 100% natural.