This article is from the Vegetarianism FAQ, by email@example.com (Michael Traub) with numerous contributions by others.
See the separate posting in rec.food.veg, for a much larger list of
substances derived from animals. The subject is "LIST OF
SUBSTANCES DERIVED FROM ANIMALS".
It is very difficult to avoid animals products in this 'modern day
and age'. Here is a list of some common things that surprisingly
contain animal derivatives and others that are safe.
CASEIN: This is a product made when milk is heated with an acid,
like lactic acid. This stuff mostly occurs in
"no-lactose" soy cheeses like Soyco, Soy Kaas, AlmondRella,
Zero-FatRella, HempRella, and TofuRella Slices. The
labels say "lactose-free" (lactose is another milk
derivative), but that doesn't mean they are therefore
vegan, as we used to incorrectly assume. Soymage soy
cheese is 100% vegan, but it's kind of gross. Vegan-Rella
is also totally vegan. Casein is also used in plastics,
adhesives, and paint manufacturing.
CASEINATE: Casein mixed with a metal, like calcium caseinate or
CHEWING GUM: Some chewing gums contain glycerine. Wrigleys gum
contains a vegetarian source of glycerine.
ENVELOPES: Apparently most envelopes have a synthetic glue on
them, not an animal or fish based glue.
MARGARINES: Can contain fish and other marine oils. Many
margarines contain whey.
MOHAIR: From goats. They can be sheared or skinned.
NOUGAT: Usually contains gelatine.
ORGANIC: Dried blood, bone/hoof meal and fish meal can all be
used a fertilizers etc. Try finding out about Veganic
Gardening as an alternative, by using seaweed
fertilizers which are widely available.
PASTA: May contain egg, especially if fresh. Some pasta in
Italy contains squids's ink; this can easily be
recognized because the pasta is black.
PASTES: Glues. May be animal or fish derived.
PASTRY: Animal fats used in most shop-baked pies etc. Check
PHOSTATES: Derived from glycerol and fatty acids. May be from
animal bones too.
PHOTOS: Developing paper contains gelatine.
POSTAGE STAMPS: These do not contain an animal or fish glue.
PROGESTERONE: A hormone. May have been taken from the urine of a
pregnant mare, and could be used in hormone
RENNET: An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf.
Used in the cheese making process. Look for rennin or
the words "made without animal rennet".
RUBBER: Processed with animal products.
SHORTENING: Can be made from animal fats. Used in the food
industry especially pastries and biscuits.
SOAP: Most soaps are not vegetarian because of the tallow
(animal fats) used in their production.
STEARATE: This usually comes in the form of _calcium stearate_,
and it is found in hard candies like Gobstoppers and
Sweetarts as well as other places. It comes from
stearic acid, which usually is derived from tallow, or
animal fat. Stearate is also used in vinyls (like car
seats) and plastics.
SWEETS: Watch out for gelatine, eg.: wine gums. Nearly all
mints eg.: Polo, Trebor, Extra Strong etc contain
gelatine. See also Nougat.
VIOLINS: Traditionally violins are stuck together with an animal
based glue. The bows are usually made from horse hair.
WHEY: Liquid part of Milk