I found out recently that the M&S veggie Percy Pigs aren't vegan and, I'm not gonna lie, it broke my heart a little. I'd always thought they were vegan and they taste so bloody good. Turns out they contain a sneaky E number, (E901, aka beeswax), disguising their non-veganness in the ingredients. I'm totally not up to speed on all the E's so definitely wouldn't have noticed this on my own (thank you Twitter), so I wanted to write a post with all the ingredients that can sneak into things under names that you wouldn't immediately recognise as being animal products.
We all have slip ups as vegans and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up about it. The thing is, once you make a mistake you know you won't make it again. I might never be able to have those delicious Percy's again but I'm okay with that because I'm not contributing to animal suffering by doing so. I feel like I've said this a million times on here but being vegan is about causing the least amount of harm possible, it's not about being perfect.
Gelatin - derived from animal products and never vegan. Commonly used in gummy sweeties.
Lactose - a type of sugar found in milk.
Rennet - this one caught me out back when I was vegetarian as Parmesan and Grana Padano cheeses are produced using rennet, which comes from the stomachs of animals.
Honey/Beeswax - made by bees, for bees.
Propolis - also known as bee glue. Contains beeswax and is made by bees.
Whey - is kind of the leftovers of milk once it's been curdled and strained (gross).
Casein - a protein that comes from milk.
Vitamin D3 - often derived from animal products. The only vegan source of D3 is vitashine so unless this is specified then avoid the product.
Lanolin - also known as wool wax or wool fat, a wax that is found on wool-bearing animals that is used to protect their wool.
Isinglass - comes from the dried swim bladders of fish, often used for filtering beer and wine.
Shellac - a resin produced by female lac bugs.
Cod Liver Oil - it's in the name, comes from the liver of a cod fish.
Cochineal - a scale insect that is crushed to used to create red dye.
Bone Char - a material that is produced by charring animal bones. Can be used in sugar production, although this is less common now, and also as a black pigment in paint and ink.
Pepsin - an enzyme produced in the stomachs of humans and animals.
Tallow - a form of animal fat.
Lard - pig fat.
Down - goose or duck feathers used for insulating purposes, commonly found in jackets, duvets, and pillows.
And a shit tonne of E's - the main ones to look out for that are never vegan are E120, E542, E901 and E904 but there are lots more that can be derived from animal products. Check out The Vegan Society for more info on these.
I hope you guys found this post useful! I will try to keep it updated as and when I discover other sneaky ingredients that are not okay for vegans. Let me know in the comments if you've come across any others that I have missed.