At first glance, you’d imagineall these everyday foods SHOULD be vegetarian, but the truth is they may not be!
The rule is, if you care about your food being 100% vegetarian, always check the label before you buy.
Always buy organic, as non-organic bananas may have been sprayed with Chitosan, which is made from shrimp and crab shells. The spray helps preserve bananas from over-ripening.
2. Breakfast cereals
Some sugar-coated cereals contain beef gelatine, which is used to make the sugar stick to the cereal.
3. Cake mix
Look at the ingredients list to see if lard is listed – or your cake may contains pork or beef.
4 . Figs
Sometimes, after a wasp has pollinated the fruit, it may get stuck – and die – inside the fig. You won’t be able to see it, as an enzyme in the fruit converts the wasp into protein, but it could be there!
The famous beer is filtered though isinglass (made from fish bladder) though, after 256 years, Guinness has plans to stop using this method sometime in 2016.
6. Jelly and soft sweets
These types of sweets contains gelatine made through a process which involves boiling animal skin and bones. It’s also in sweets like foam shrimps and marshmallows.
7. Miso soup
More often than not, miso soup contains dashi, a cooking stock made using dried kelp and fish flakes.
8. Olive tapenade
Beware of anchovies sneaking into some recipes. Always check the label.
9. Parmesan cheese
Some hard cheeses, such as Parmesan, are made using animal rennet, which is an enzyme from the lining of a calve’s stomach.
Pesto is usually made with Parmesan cheese (see above). So, for a veggie-friendly product, always look for a Vegetarian symbol on the jar.
11. Red sweets
Lots of red sweets get their colour from cochineal, a colouring made from ground beetles. It also appears on labels as E120 or Carmine.
12. Refried beans
In traditional Mexican restaurants, most make their refried beans with lard. However, if you are buying a tin from your local supermarket read the label!
13. Soft drinks
Your favourite fizz may not be vegetarian. On the Coca Cola website, it states, ‘a few of our drinks contain small traces of fish gelatine, which is used as a stabiliser for the beta-carotene colour.’ These products are Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora Orange Squash No Added Sugar and Schweppes Orange Squash.
Some toothpaste contains suet made from animal fat, or glycerol, a sweetener derived from animals. Watch out for E422 Glycerol or Glycerine on the label. UltraDEX Low-Abrasion Toothpaste, £6.15, carries the Vegetarian Society Approved trademark.
While it’s mainly made from grapes, sometimes animal products are used in the refining of wine – which could be gelatine, isinglass, chitosan, casein and egg albumen.
16. Worcestershire sauce
It’s anchovies that give Worcestershire sauce it’s unique ‘unami’ savoury flavour.
Non-fat and low-fat yogurt often contain gelatine to give them a creamy, rich texture.