In Search of Vegan Food
Here a brief list of kitchen staples in which animal-derived ingredients can be included in or used in the processing of the final product. This list is not considered to be all-inclusive.
BBQ sauce - It can be easy to find vegan BBQ sauce, but be sure to check the label, as any of the following might be listed: anchovies, chicken fat, rendered beef fat, beef extract, beef stock, eggs and honey... to name a few.
beer - Some beers are fined before bottling using isinglass (from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatin, albumin derived from eggs or dried blood or casein/potassium caseinate (from milk products). Some beers also include other ingredients (e.g. flavorings, caramel, honey, lactose, colorings, preservatives). Beer can also use glyceryl monostearate, an anti-foaming agent that sometimes is an animal derivative, pepsin, a heading agent sometimes derived from pork, and sugar that may or may not be whitened using bone char. See the Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory for a list of vegan beers and wines.
bread - Along with eggs, milk, butter, buttermilk, whey, and honey, bread can contain the following which may or may not be derived from animals: mono and diglycerides, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, glycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, emulsifiers and DATEM (Di-Acetyl Tartrate Ester of Monoglyceride). However, there are vegan breads out there, many of which can be found at natural food stores.
brown sugar - Many brown sugar producers make brown sugar by adding cane molasses to completely refined sugar (cane sugar or beet sugar). Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char. Brown sugar that is advertised as non bone-char processed can usually be found at natural food stores. Sucanat is a good alternative, since it is unrefined cane sugar that has not had the molasses removed.
cereal - The usual suspects such as milk, whey, sugar (see the entry below about sugar) and gelatin can often be found in cereal. One ingredient that is not so obvious is Vitamin D, which cereals are sometimes fortified with. Vitamin D without a subscript refers to either Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), or Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 may be derived from lanolin, a substance that is secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep. Vitamin D2 is derived from fungal and plant sources.
flour tortillas - Flour tortillas can contain lard, whey, and glycerides from animal or vegetable sources. Check the ingredients, and if you don't find a vegan version at your grocery, try a natural foods store.
maple syrup - Maple syrup requires an agent to reduce the foam on the syrup. This is done by adding a small amount of fat to the liquid. Vegetable oil is a common defoaming agent, but lard, milk, cream, butter or a defoamer containing monoglycerides and diglycerides from either animal or vegetable sources can be used.
margarine - Margarine can contain whey and other dairy derivatives, Vitamin D3 from animal sources and mono and diglycerides from animal or vegetable sources. One popular vegan, non-hydrogenated, butter alternative is Earth Balance.
mayonnaise - Mayonnaise often contains eggs. One popular eggless mayonnaise isVegenaise, and is typically found at natural food stores.
powdered sugar - Also known as confectioners' or icing sugar, powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been pulverized into a very fine powder, sifted and mixed with cornstarch, flour or calcium phosphate to keep it dry and to prevent caking. The source of the sugar can be either cane sugar or beet sugar. Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char.
sugar - Commercially-produced white, granulated sugar comes from either cane sugar or from beet sugar. Cane sugar is either filtered through activated carbon or bone char but beet sugar is not. Sugar that hasn't been filtered through bone char can usually be found at natual food stores. Additional alternatives consist of Sucanat (non-refined cane sugar that has not had the molasses removed), turbinado sugar (made by steaming unrefined raw sugar), Stevia, maple sugar (about twice as sweet as standard granulated sugar), and date sugar (an unprocessed sugar made from dehydrated dates). Liquid sweeteners such as brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup (see the entry above about maple syrup), agave syrup, malt syrup and fruit juice concentrates can also be used.
wine - Animal-derived ingredients used in wine making can include isinglass (from sturgeon fish bladders), gelatin, egg whites (or albumin) and casein. Animal blood has been used to fine wine, but it is rarely used anymore. It was declared illegal for use in European wines. See the Barnivore Vegan Alcohol Directory for a list of vegan beers and wines.
Worcestershire sauce - Worcestershire sauce can contain anchovies and sugar, but vegan versions are available online and at many natural food stores.
Some other food items that can contain animal-derived ingredients are:
Veggie burgers and other meat alternatives can contain eggs, milk, whey, lactose, casein, and other dairy derivitives. Some soy/rice/almond cheese alternatives can contain casein and other dairy derivitives.
Here's a list of Animal Ingredients and Their Alternatives to help you out in determining what is vegan and what isn't.