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.