Master List of Animal Sourced Ingredients

About This List

"PETA's list of animal ingredients and their alternatives helps consumers avoid animal ingredients in food, cosmetics, and other products. Please note, however, that it is not all-inclusive. There are thousands of technical and patented names for ingredient variations. Furthermore, many ingredients known by one name can be of animal, vegetable, or synthetic origin. If you have a question regarding an ingredient in a product, call the manufacturer. Good sources of additional informa-tion are the Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, the Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, or an unabridged dictionary. All of these are available at most libraries.

Adding to the confusion over whether or not an ingredient is of animal origin is the fact that many companies have removed the word "animal" from their ingredient labels to avoid putting off consumers. For example, rather than use the term "hydrolyzed animal protein," companies may use another term such as "hydrolyzed collagen." Simple for them, but frustrating for the caring consumer.

Animal ingredients are used not because they are better than vegetable-derived or synthetic ingredients but rather because they are generally cheaper. Today's slaughterhouses must dispose of the byproducts of the slaughter of billions of animals every year and have found an easy and profitable solution in selling them to food and cosmetics manufacturers.

Animal ingredients come from every industry that uses animals: meat, fur, wool, dairy, egg, and fishing, as well as industries such as horse racing and rodeo, which send unwanted animals to slaughter. Contact PETA for our factsheets to learn more about the animals who suffer at the hands of these industries and what you can do to help.

Rendering plants process the bodies of millions of tons of dead animals every year, transforming decaying flesh and bones into profitable animal ingredients. The pri-mary source of rendered animals is slaughterhouses, which provide the "inedible" parts of all animals killed for food. The bodies of companion animals who are euth-anized in animal shelters wind up at rendering plants, too. One small plant in Quebec renders 10 tons of dogs and cats a week, a sobering reminder of the horrible dog and cat overpopulation problem with which shelters must cope.

Some animal ingredients do not wind up in the final product but are used in the manufacturing process. For example, in the production of some refined sugars, bone char is used to whiten the sugar; in some wines and beers, isinglass (from the swim bladders of fish) is used as a "clearing" agent.

Kosher symbols and markings also add to the confusion and are not reliable indicators on which vegans or vegetarians should base their purchasing decisions. This issue is complex, but the “K” or “Kosher” symbols basically mean that the food manufacturing process was overseen by a rabbi, who ensures that it meets Hebrew dietary laws. Kosher foods may not contain both dairy products and meat, but they may contain one or the other. “P” or “Parve” means the product contains no meat or dairy products but may contain fish or eggs. “D,” as in “Kosher D,” means that the product either contains dairy or was made with dairy machinery. For example, a chocolate and peanut candy may be marked “Kosher D” even if it doesn't contain dairy because the non-dairy chocolate was manufactured on machinery that also made milk chocolate. For questions regarding other symbols, please consult Jewish organizations or publications.

Thousands of products on store shelves have labels that are hard to decipher. It's nearly impossible to be perfectly vegan, but it's getting easier to avoid products with animal ingredients. Our list will give you a good working knowledge of the most common animal-derived ingredients and their alternatives, allowing you to make decisions that will save animals' lives."