Vegan Beware!

phpt6PnmvAfter six-plus months of eating vegan, Jane and I have developed a sense of what foods we might not be able to eat. Since going vegan, we've read countless food labels and many informative articles on non-vegan ingredients hidden in otherwise vegan foods. So we're fairly comfortable knowing what foods we're going to have to scrutinize before throwing them into our shopping cart. Or at least we were until this trip.

Jane and I were at Whole Foods over the weekend, stocking up on some of the vegan products we can't get at our local grocery stores. We stopped off at the olive bar to select some of our favorites and came upon this sign: Oil Cured Black Olives. Ingredients: Black olives, olive oil, salt, lactic acid. Caution: Olives and olive mixes may contain pits or pit fragments. Contains: Milk.

Milk? In my olives? Huh? I'm not talking about olives swimming in some kind of creamy marinade either. These were plain black olives with some spices sprinkled over their wrinkly hides. We looked at each other completely aghast. How many other things did we assume were OK to buy simply because they didn't look like they could possibly have any non-vegan ingredients.

How frustrating! I guess it's back to the Vegetarian Resource Group to check on our hidden ingredients.

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  1. I think it probably depends where you draw the line– if your olives were processed in a factory where they handle milk products, they’re legally required to mark it whether or not the product actually contains milk, just in case someone’s super-sensitive– peanuts, soy, and a few other products are like that, too. I’d talk to the store about it.

  2. Hi Tanya,
    I will talk to the store manager about the olives next time I’m there. However, generally they tend to mark things as “may contain” or “processed in…” as opposed to “contains.” The fact that the label is worded this way certainly implies that this is not an item processed in a factory which handles milk products.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll follow up next time I’m there.
    — Lane

  3. That Vegetarian Resource Group site really needs to be updated… I don’t think it’s been touched since the late 90’s. The MacDonald’s fries thing is just one outdated detail. They CLAIM to have stopped using lard in their “flavoring” ever since they were attacked by the Hindi a long time ago (remember that?)

    Great blog!!!

  4. Thanks Cocteau Boy,
    Yes, the VRG site could use a revamp. But there’s still plenty of info there that is valuable. A lot of the nutritional info is still valid since the 90s.
    Yes, I do remember the beef tallow thing with the french fries, and how people complained that the fries weren’t as good after the change over. I’ve been doing some research on fast food options. McDonald’s doesn’t seem to be too interested in catering to vegans. — We’re not the target demographic!

  5. I hate it when things like that happen when there is no reason at all to put milk in it. I mean, milk in OLIVES!? Come on!
    At least it said so instead of just reading “lactic acid” & you have to just chuck it all together in the chance that the lactic acid comes from milk.

  6. Hi Samantha,
    Agreed. It’s amazing to find out what ingredients are in some things that you’d never expect.

  7. The lactic acid in this product is sourced from milk.

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