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Non-Dairy? Misleading Labels

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Casein appears in a number of places one would never expect to find it. As well as making its way into many foods that are far from vegan, it can also be used as an ingredient in mock meats, egg substitutes and even some brands of coconut milk powder. Casein even shows up in small amounts in some baby formulas (including some marked ‘hypo-allergenic’).

Casein is also one of six substances that may be used to clarify wine. (Egg white, gelatin and isinglass are others that are not vegan.) If you call the vintner, ask them if casein or any other animal products are used in the “fining process.” There are many wines available now that do not use any animal ingredients in their production.

Casein is also found in many cosmetics, hair preparations, beauty masks, and some pharmaceuticals. It can also find its way into adhesives/glues, paints, plastics, paper coatings, concrete and textile fabrics.

Some people point to the widespread use of casein as a reason that no one can be 100 percent vegan, leading them to the conclusion that there’s no point in scrutinizing ingredient labels too closely. Of course it’s true that animal products are used in so many ways that it is simply impossible to avoid all animal use. However, this does not mean that we should not do our absolute best to avoid these products when it is reasonable for us to do so, especially in light of the fact that casein is simply milk in another form. And milk production, as we all know, requires the abuse and killing of nonhuman animals in order to be profitable.

Image: Filomena Scalise /

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Read more: Animal Rights, Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Food, Pets, Vegan

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.


+ add your own
10:02AM PDT on May 15, 2014

Trying to turn Vegan now, I am finding it very had to let go of cheese and now I know why. Meat on the other hand isn't that big of a deal.

4:20PM PST on Dec 30, 2011

very informative.

2:50PM PST on Feb 2, 2011


8:35AM PST on Dec 24, 2010

Proper labels, please!

5:25AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

Informative article.

5:10PM PST on Dec 12, 2010

Thanks for the info!

4:41PM PST on Nov 28, 2010

thanks for the great information.

10:28AM PST on Nov 28, 2010


2:10AM PST on Nov 28, 2010

Thank you for the article. I knew about Casein but I'll have to look more closely to some products now.

1:04PM PST on Nov 27, 2010

Read, thank you Angel.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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