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Halloween Candy & the Vegetarian "Gray Areas"

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Halloween Candy & the Vegetarian "Gray Areas"

To some people, a "vegetarian" means no animal products/bi-products of any kind (however, most would consider this diet to be "vegan"). To most people, however, a vegetarian just means you do not eat animal meat (eggs, dairy OK). Assuming you go with the common vernacular understanding of the term vegetarian...where do animal bi-products fit in? While dairy and eggs do not require an animal to die to be eaten, most animal bi-products do.....

Halloween is a great time of year to discuss this since a lot of candy is made with animal bi-products like gelatin and marshmallows. Personally, I consider myself to be a "strict vegetarian," but I will eat gelatin. I don't consciously set out to include it in my diet, and it is something I want to reduce.

According to this partial list provided by, here are just a few of the Halloween-related, hidden animal ingredients we may not realize we are consuming:

- Albumen: used in cakes and cookies. Comes from eggs, milk, muscles, and blood.

- Carmine: used to dye foods red (such as lollipops). Comes from crushed female beetles.

- Gelatin: used in candy, marshmallows, cake, ice cream, and yogurt. Comes from boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones.

- Monoglycerides: used in margarine, cake mix, and candy. Comes from animal fat.

- Shellac/Resinous Glaze: used as candy glaze. Comes from insect secretions.

- Whey: used in cakes, cookies, candy, bread. Comes from milk serum.

To see HappyCow's complete list of animal bi-products, go to:

Some of these common candy ingredients sound pretty disgusting! This Halloween be an informed eater and consider if these bi-products are appropriate by your standard of vegetarianism.



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