I recently found a handy (and free!) app called Animal Free. It lists ingredients that are vegan and ingredients that are derived from animal products. It also gives you information about why the ingredient is or isn’t vegan. I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for years now, but I definitely don’t have all the lesser known ingredients memorized. Honestly, it seems like it could make eating nearly impossible to have to check foods for all of these ingredients. There’s no way I could remember all of them!
Some I already know, like the semi-grotesque Carmine (Carminic Acid, Cochineal, Natural Red 4): “Red pigment from the crushed female cochineal insect. It takes a million corpses to make a kilogram of carminic acid, the more purified form of cochineal extract. Used in cosmetics, shampoos, red apple sauce, and other foods (including red lollipops and food coloring). May cause allergic reaction.” Don’t believe me? It’s true. It’s always puzzled me why even non-vegans would want to wear or eat crushed up beetles, but my guess is most people just don’t know that’s what they’re doing.
It can be difficult especially for a new vegan to try to decipher labels to figure out if something is vegan or not. This app is a good challenge for seasoned vegans to learn more ingredients and a great resource for people who are becoming vegan, thinking about it, or just want to be more informed about what’s in their food, beetles and all.