'Vegetarian' Foods That Aren't Actually Vegetarian

'Vegetarian' Foods That Aren't Actually Vegetarian

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Being a vegetarian must be hard. There's the constant fear that your cheese is somehow laden with animal bones, and the inability to eat most kinds of chewy sweets. Who knew something designed for children could be so full of dead animals?

In fact, there are so many foods that appear veggie but aren't that I'm starting to think that the food industry as a vendetta against vegetarians. So, without further ado, here are a bunch of foods that you'd never suspect had animal's bodies lurking within them. It's kind of like a murder mystery for hungry people.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Parmesan is crafted using an enzyme called rennet, which comes from the stomach of young lambs and calves.


Red Candy

Red candies often contain red pigments extracted from the female cochineal insect. Red bug dye is typically listed as cochineal, carminic acid or carmine in the ingredients, and is also found in things like wine, vinegar, juice and colored pasta.

Vanilla Ice Cream

The chemical compound that beavers use to mark their territory has a musky, vanilla scent. Can you guess where I'm going here? Yep, that's right: food scientists sometimes add the all-natural delicacy of beaver butt into their recipes.



Nuts are a classic veggie snack, but it turns out that many brands aren't always as vegetarian friendly as you'd think. Some brands of packaged peanuts include gelatin.


As if you needed another reason to go organic, it turns out that many non-organic bananas have been sprayed with a shellfish-based pesticide containing a compound that extends the shelf life of the fruit. Fishy.


Refried Beans

While many restaurants choose not to use lard in their refried beans, many still do include this traditional ingredient in what should really be a vegan food.

Beer and Wine

Isinglass, which is a membrane taken from the bladders of tropical fish, is used to filter the cloudy yeast extracts out of many brands of beer and wine.

Red wine glass and glass of beer

Orange Juice

Any orange juice that claims to be heart healthy has been infused with omega-3s, which are sourced from anchovies, tilapia, and sardines. Some of the vitamin D added to orange juice may also come from lanolin, a waxy substance taken from sheep's wool.


White Sugar

Sugar isn’t naturally white, and in order to reach that color, manufacturers process it using bone char. Even brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar is made this way.

So there you have it. Who knew so many seemingly innocent foods weren't actually vegetarian? However, it seems that by choosing organic as often as possible and always reading the labels, even the most confused of veggies will be able to get by. I'm sure the cows will thank you later.