Some notes on ingredients

lima tahin ingVegan Stuff in Belgium is a vegan blog that celebrates accessible vegan food that tastes good and vegan-friendly products and services. It is not a health-food blog. Products featured may contain sugar, gluten, soy, and E-numbers. While I understand that there are ethical issues surrounding palm oil, (just as there are environmental/animal/human-rights issues surrounding various other crops like soy, coconut, bananas, chocolate, and coffee, to name a few) it is vegan and products that contain it are not excluded. I fully respect individuals’ choices to exclude items like these from their diets be it for health or ethical reasons, but I assume my readers can read ingredient lists for themselves and make their own choices. If my inclusion of these items bothers you, this might not be the blog for you. Please refrain from making nasty comments.

On the subject of ingredient lists, I recommend that people ALWAYS check them themselves. While I have gained the super-vegan-label-reading powers over the years (and generally check and double check), it’s always possible I might miss something or that a company may change their recipe. If you find I’ve recommended something that is not actually vegan or not vegan anymore please do let me know so I can look into it and change the information on the blog!

On the topic of iffy e-numbers: Some e-numbers are always animal derived, some are always plant (or mineral) derived, and some could come from either plant or animal sources. I tend to err on the side of caution and avoid the latter category, unless the manufacturer has specified (or confirmed in correspondence with myself or a trusted source) that the ingredient in question is plant derived. There are also ingredients that technically could be animal derived but are almost always plant derived in modern day food manufacturing. I tend to be less cautious with those, but I know everyone’s milage may vary. There are a number of good apps and websites that contain information about e-numbers and whether they’re appropriate for vegans. A great one that I refer to quite often is http://www.goedgeweten.be/.

Aromas present a slightly more difficult situation; manufacturers are not obligated to list what goes into these or what kind of aromas they use in their products. That said, if they contain certain animal products that are known allergens, these have to be listed as an allergen on the packaging. That doesn’t cover all possible aromas but the two or three that might not be covered by this are – from what I understand – not that commonly used. Because of this, in the case of undefined aromas, unless I have reason to believe they’re animal derived (like a meat/honey flavored product), I assume that they’re vegan friendly. Your mileage may vary as far as this is concerned, and everyone needs to draw that line where it works best for them. If you’re concerned about aromas, again, check that ingredient list and decide per product if you trust it.

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