Animal Products You Had No Idea You Were Using

Veganism is all the rage nowadays and many people make it their duty to consume plant-only foods and cruelty-free products, for a number of reasons, not limited to just feeling bad about hurting animals. If that’s you, you’re in for a world of pain when you learn that some of the items you’ve been using do, in fact, contain animal ingredients. Even if you don’t use these, you’re still going to be shocked by some of the stuff on this list. Keep reading to learn about the animal products that you had absolutely no idea you were using.

1. Beer and Wine

When you think about beer and wine, the first thing that pops into your head is fermented barley and grapes, not fish bladder collagen. It’s called isinglass, and it’s collected from the dried bladders of saltwater fish such as the sturgeon. This gelatin-like substance is used in the fining or clarification of various beers or wines as a way to accelerate the settling process- to put it simply, to shorten the time in which unwanted insolubles can be removed. So, make sure to read the labels if you don’t want to end up sipping some dried fish bladder.

2. Cigarettes

Maybe if more people knew there was beaver in their cigarettes, they’d be more willing to kick the habit. Well, not the whole beaver but only the castoreum that’s been harvested from the animal’s territory-marking castor sacs. This product is acquired by euthanizing the beavers, then sun-drying or smoking the sacs until they resemble dry figs. But why beaver sacs, you ask. Because of the taste, obviously. Turns out it gives the cigarettes a sweetness and extra smoky flavor that smokers love so much.

3. Anything Unnaturally Pink or Red

And by that we’re referring to red candy, jams, syrup and even gum. The natural dye, carmine that gives these products their bright, appealing color is, wait for it, made from red cochineal beetles that have been dried and crushed into a powder. You weren’t expecting that, were you? Well, you may have been ingesting powdered bugs for most of your life due to the wide usage of carmine in just about anything red, including dairy and beverages. Sounds gross, but is it gross enough to give up some of your favorite foods?

4. Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is basically a fermented concoction typically made with molasses, tamarind, sugar, garlic, onion, salt, cloves, soy, lemon essence, chili pepper extract, pickle juice and wait, are those…anchovies? That’s a surprise. This secret ingredient is what gives Worcestershire sauce its unique sweet, salty and savory flavor. Most people hate anchovies (like on a pizza) but little do they know it’s what makes their favorite marinade/condiment so special.

5. Crayons

That colorful box of crayons you bought for your kindergartener? It’s technically a box of waxy beef fat sticks known as stearic acid. This product is used as a coagulation chemical because it helps the crayons solidify and retain their consistency. It’s also what gives crayons the unique smell that some people are so fond of. The use of stearic acid in everyday items doesn’t stop there. It’s an ingredient in candles as well. Does that mean when we burn candles we’re actually burning fat?

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