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Are Oreos Vegan? Here’s the Complicated Answer

It depends on who you ask.

<p>Justin Sullivan/Getty Images</p>

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oreos are one of the most popular snacks in the country, beloved by kids and adults alike. It doesn’t end at cookies: Oreo cakes, ice cream, pudding, and other confections are widely popular.

Given their creamy frosting center, it may be odd to think of Oreos as a potentially vegan snack. That’s why so many new vegans are thrilled to learn that they may be able to continue eating their favorite cookies! But are Oreos actually vegan? Here’s what you need to know:

Are Oreos Vegan?

Many vegans refer to Oreos as “accidentally vegan,” meaning they don’t contain animal products — but they weren’t created to be a specifically vegan treat.

Oreos do not contain milk, eggs, or any other animal-derived products, so they are technically vegan in that sense. Plant-based cookies and cream lovers rejoice!

There are two caveats, though:

  • Since Oreos are produced in factories that use animal products, there’s always the chance of cross-contamination (something to consider if you have a severe allergy or dietary restrictions that strictly prohibit dairy, eggs, or animal products).

  • Some vegans define veganism as more than just the absence of animal products in food and may consider general animal welfare in lifestyle choices. That’s why you may see cosmetics or hygiene products labeled “vegan.” This not only means they don’t contain any animal derivatives, it means they are not tested on animals and no animals were harmed in the making or extraction of the product or ingredients. Some vegans see animal welfare as the most central tenant of veganism. Therefore, they consider ingredients that may harm animals during their production as not vegan.

Here's the official statement from the company: "Many OREO products are suitable for Vegans, but may include cross-contaminants of milk, so please check allergen advice. You can find a complete list of our Vegan certified products on The Vegan Society Website."

Oreo Ingredients: Vegan vs. Not Vegan?

Let’s break it down, ingredient by ingredient:

  • Unbleached enriched flour: This is the standard flour used in processed foods. “Enriched” means it contains added vitamins and minerals like folic acid and B vitamins. This is a plant-derived product and is vegan.

  • Palm oil: While it is technically derived from plants, many people do not consider palm oil vegan because the harvesting process can be detrimental to the environment. Some vegans may abstain from Oreos because of this.

  • Sugar: Similarly, white sugar uses the charred bones of animals in the processing from raw sugar cane to table sugar. The bones of livestock are charred to produce carbon, which is used to filter the sugar and remove the color and impurities. While there is no trace of bone or the charred carbon it produces in sugar, some vegans may avoid Oreos because animals have to die to produce this ingredient.

  • Soybean oil and/or canola oil: Both these oils are made from plants and are vegan.

Oreos also contain small amounts of flavorings and preservatives, including cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, leaveners, salt, soy lecithin, and artificial flavors, all of which are not animal-derived and considered vegan.

What Oreo Flavors Are Vegan?

Most varieties of Oreos are vegan, including the Classic, Double Stuf, Mega Stuf, Golden, and Thins varieties.

More vegan flavors are Peanut Butter Creme, Java Chip, Chocolate Creme, Birthday Cake, Mint Creme, Dark Chocolate Creme, Lemon Golden Oreos, Black and White Cookie, Caramel Coconut, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Marshmallow, Gingerbread, Pumpkin Spice, Halloween Orange Boo, Red White and Blue, Space Dunk, Tiramisu Thins, Mint Thins, Lemon Thins — and likely many more as seasonal flavors are released.

However, always check the ingredients if you're abroad, as different manufacturers use different formulas. For example, some peanut butter flavored Oreos are not vegan in the UK.

What Oreo Flavors Are Not Vegan?

  • The fudge-coated varieties are not vegan, as the fudge coating contains milk.

  • Toffee Crunch Oreos contain confectioner’s glaze, which, depending on where you are geographically, can be made with shellac (a product derived from beetles).

  • Oreo Cakesters are not vegan, as they contain milk and eggs.

If you’re unsure, always check the ingredients list. If you see eggs, milk powder or solids, lactose or lactic acid, whey, casein, carmine, or gelatin, the product is likely not considered vegan.

Read the original article on All Recipes.