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folkharpist
Jan 10th, 2009, 01:05 AM
Hello!

I am new to this website, and to this forum. I have found the information helpful and supportive so far, thank you!

I had been vegetarian for a year and just made the complete switch to veganism recently. I am very happy with my decision, I feel wonderful on so many levels.

I have a pressing question directed at other vegans however, regarding my recent grocery shopping trip. I went to Trader Joe's and was delighted to see many of the items marked 'vegan'. Vegan cookies, vegan chocolate, vegan bread... hooray, I thought, this won't be so hard after all. But immediately after checking the ingredients, the first thing I see is 'made on shared equipment that uses eggs and milk'. Almost every single product said that. Some of them even CONTAINED milk derivatives, which shocked me. It's not those I'm confused about, though.

My question is, are those products even considered vegan? Do vegans buy cookies marked vegan, but that are also made on a surface where cross-contamination is possible? I noticed that certain packages said that the companies paid special attention to separation procedures, to ensure no cross-contamination. Do vegans buy those products and not the others? Both? Neither?

I would appreciate any advice. I want to fully commit myself, but I'm not sure what to purchase, or if I'll be able to purchase anything at all!

Thank you very much,
Kelsea

Sarabi
Jan 10th, 2009, 01:43 AM
Yes, I see that on most products as well, and I doubt there are many vegans who manage to avoid all of such products. But if I avoided all of those, then I'd have nothing to eat. Normally I eat in the dining hall where someone bought and prepared all the food for me. The only thing still in the package is bread. So I had no idea all the products said that until I went to a campus shop and a few other experiences.

It does make me sad to see how mechanical everything is, especially after coming back from a monastery where everything was so alive. I'm thinking of suggesting that the university plant an organic vegetable garden, but there's not much space on campus for that. We're working on it! Local foods, rather than corporate foods, are certainly preferred by a large portion of vegans.

And welcome to the site! I'm fairly new myself, but pretty active.

Quantum Mechanic
Jan 10th, 2009, 02:08 AM
I wouldn't worry about it, myself. They all have a cleaning process between those, but they put that warning in for severely allergic people for whom even a thorough cleaning wouldn't be sufficient. While I probably have a mild dairy allergy myself, I still generally buy such products.

As for "contains milk derivatives", what do you mean by that? Do you mean that it actually contains milk, like whey or casein or something?

folkharpist
Jan 10th, 2009, 02:54 AM
Yes, casein was a frequent one and I believe something actually said milk. It made no sense.

So it sounds like there is not a cognitive vegan classification system or anything? Like, 'Class As only buy purely non cross-contamiated while those slacker Class Bs choose to ignore the possibility...' I'm half-joking, and while I'm participating in veganism for myself and my personal beliefs, I just wanted an opinion of what's generally acceptable in the vegan community.

Thank you for your feedback so far!

Ruby Rose
Jan 10th, 2009, 08:34 AM
Welcome to the board. There's a couple of other threads about cross-contamination you might find using the search facility above - I think one of the most interesting and helpful is one started by Korn called something like "Are you a self-defeating, micro-gram obsessed vegan?".

In a nutshell, there are no vegan police and there is no vegan rule book. It is entirely up to you what you feel comfortable with. For me, the rule of thumb is Donald Watson's definition (adopted by the Vegan Society) which says that we "avoid all animal products as far as is reasonable and practical".

For this reason, all the threads on here that are called things like "is doing xx vegan?" or "is xxxing a vegan behaviour" aren't threads looking for the official and correct answer - they are threads trying to guage the consensus of opinion so that individuals can decide for themselves whether they agree that this is "reasonable and practical". We all differ.

For me, I understand and accept that if I choose to buy foods made on a production line, there is a risk of cross-contamination. I still buy those foods. If the ingredients list says that it actually contains an animal ingredient (milk, casein, whey, honey...), then I choose not to buy those products. That makes me just as "good" a vegan as someone who chooses never to buy factory-made foods in case of the risk of cross-contamination - all it means is that their level of what is "reasonable and practical" is different from mine. I'm not a slacker or a class B, but neither are they higher-integrity or class A (even though - I warn you - some of them think they are!).

Good to have you with us,
Ruby xx

Est
Jan 10th, 2009, 09:07 AM
For me, I understand and accept that if I choose to buy foods made on a production line, there is a risk of cross-contamination. I still buy those foods. If the ingredients list says that it actually contains an animal ingredient (milk, casein, whey, honey...), then I choose not to buy those products.


Me too.

Welcome to the board folkharpist :)

vercimus
Jan 10th, 2009, 09:18 AM
I don't see how anything with milk ingredients could be considered vegan. Things like casein and whey are pretty easy to avoid.


And welcome to the forum!

Roxy
Jan 10th, 2009, 09:29 AM
In a nutshell, there are no vegan police and there is no vegan rule book. It is entirely up to you what you feel comfortable with. For me, the rule of thumb is Donald Watson's definition (adopted by the Vegan Society) which says that we "avoid all animal products as far as is reasonable and practical".

For me, I understand and accept that if I choose to buy foods made on a production line, there is a risk of cross-contamination. I still buy those foods. If the ingredients list says that it actually contains an animal ingredient (milk, casein, whey, honey...), then I choose not to buy those products.


Great post! I agree :) Welcome to the forum folkharpist.

harpy
Jan 10th, 2009, 05:08 PM
I normally do the same as Ruby Rose, but there is a particular problem at the moment (in the UK and I expect elsewhere too) that manufacturers have started listing possible cross-contaminants as if they were ingredients (e.g. "contains milk" when the milk just might get in via cross-contamination). I imagine this problem will be cleared up, because not only vegans but people with food sensitivities want to differentiate between ingredients that are deliberately introduced in quantity and traces of contaminants.

Whether to buy these borderline products is an individual choice. Personally I would use home-made stuff or clearly-labelled vegan stuff as a preference but I wouldn't spend too much time worrying if I bought something with a cross-contamination risk. I do think it's worth letting manufacturers etc know how we feel about the labelling issue though.

ellaminnowpea
Jan 10th, 2009, 05:57 PM
Welcome to VF!!

In the US, theres very minimal regulation of this type of labelling... like companies can put a symbol that looks like an organic symbol (but really isn't) or the rabbit/vegan symbol (but not be vegan). It's strange... and annoying... but I guess we still cant trust the labelling in this country. I've found that a lot of things are falsely labelled too, as you've said. So I still read labels on everything I buy.

DiaShel
Jan 11th, 2009, 06:47 PM
Welcome to the forum Kelsea!

I don't have much to add to your question. I also don't worry about cross-contamination because of how small (in parts per million) the contaminate is with these labels. There are so few 100% vegan companies that you would be seriously limiting your choices.

I see live in San Diego. I applied for a job out there so I may be moving there soon! I visited a couple weeks ago, not too vegan friendly compared to other large west coast cities :( If I get the job I'll definitely hound you for info :confused::D

wendy
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:08 PM
I personally do not worry about cross-contamination. What would be the point? Is that more vegan?
I believe that showing other people that being vegan is easy, is more beneficial to the vegan cause then investgating every little detail of every single food you eat. I also find it very positive that food manufacturers are now becoming more aware of vegan needs and producing vegan alternatives.
That is a huge step in the right direction.

Mahk
Jan 11th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Kelsea, welcome.

I agree with Ruby Rose's points but I suspect you may have seen a vegetarian product with casein in it, not vegan. I shop at Trader Joes often and find their packaging pretty accurate. Please specify what product it was you saw labeled as "vegan" yet it contained milk products. Thanks.

burl
Jan 12th, 2009, 08:32 PM
As a general rule for myself I try to not by products that have been heavily processed. I basically avoid packaging at all costs. This allows me to have foods that I know are as vegan as possible (nothing is perfect). I eat a lot of bulk grain-based items such as oats, millet, granola, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables. Packaged foods in general tend to have a lot of ingredients that I can't pronounce and are often full of sugar, saturated fats and whatnot. I would strongly suggest buying things that are vegan that aren't overly processed.

missbettie
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:09 PM
Be careful at Trader Joes. For the most part they are good but all of the sudden they started labeling a lot of their stuff with the Vegan logo which i was thrilled about at the time, but it turns out i did find a loaf of bread that was called Honey Nut bread or something similiar that was labeled Vegan. I told the cashier but they didn't even really acknowledge me...needless to say i was pisssed.

but vegan cookies are okay! and really nummy, they compare to uncle eddy's. just be careful but not worry to the point where you stress yourself out. Just be Vegan and enjoy the ride!!

Mahk
Jan 13th, 2009, 04:49 AM
Be careful at Trader Joes. For the most part they are good but all of the sudden they started labeling a lot of their stuff with the Vegan logo which i was thrilled about at the time, but it turns out i did find a loaf of bread that was called Honey Nut bread or something similiar that was labeled Vegan.
At the corporate level (http://www.traderjoes.com/Attachments/Vegan.pdf) they seem to know that we don't eat honey. Was this vegan logo you saw imprinted on the plastic bag itself or an after thought sticker? Maybe the individual stores put the stickers on and they goofed up? :confused: Some new guy might not know we don't eat honey or doesn't even realize bees are animals. Many think of insects as if they were a separate realm.

missbettie
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:51 PM
it was on the packaging and on the little hand written signs they put up. I was thrilled to find it because honestly i don't like the ezeikial bread, and this bread looked half way normal, but then i noticed the honey...

but ur right mahk, they are normally really good and always respond quick to emails, i don't know whats up with the bread though...

ellaminnowpea
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:07 PM
Trader Joes is...weird. They sell meat, fish, and dairy right next to the veg*n stuff. And they try to boast their healthy/ ecological stuff but still sell animal products (?). I wish they just separated the veg*n stuff and made it more clear what is what. But they do have some good vegan vitamins!

Laura-Louise
Jan 14th, 2009, 03:27 PM
You could end up tying yourself in knots with the whole cross contamination issue, but like everyone else has said it's just down to personal preference. The last thing you want to do as a new vegan is make it so hard for yourself that you end up giving up - you may also be in danger of making it look extra hard to non-vegans and therefore putting any potential vegans off. For example, I heard somewhere that casein is even used in the manufacture of motor engines but I couldn't do without transport to and from work.

folkharpist
Jan 14th, 2009, 05:48 PM
Thank you all so much! This community is extremely helpful and responsive. It's making me love being Vegan even more! And that is a very good thing.

I appreciate being able to hear the opinions of other Vegans, because I don't personally know any. I will take the general advice from you lovely message boarders and make the decisions for myself, choosing whatever I'm comfortable with. I like what was said, about taking it as far as is reasonable. For instance, if there are two similar packaged products, one with the possible cross-contam. warning, and one without, I'd choose the one without and be happier. But if the other is the only thing available, I won't beat myself up if I buy it. I, too, wish to show others how great Veganism is, and I agree, taking it to extremes may affirm their worst fears, haha.

My goal is to inspire at least one person to just try eating vegan for a while. Hopefully they will love it and will never go back! I think after having animal products out of one's system (and seeing how good it feels) and becoming educated about the cruelty that goes into these products, no one could ever really want to go back.

Thank you again, very much. You have all helped me tremendously. :smile:

Nyx
Jan 14th, 2009, 06:10 PM
Kelsea, I don't worry about it and push myself THAT far. If I did, I would miss out on not only eating but supporting a lot of wonderful vegan foods. I personally think it's too extremist to reject foods made in the same facilities (unless of course you are allergic to certain things). I also still consider these foods "vegan" because technically nothing is vegan (fruits and veggies need pollination from bees, cross contamination is inevitable, etc).