Should Vegans Eat Foods That Say ‘May Contain’?

by | April 7, 2018

Should Vegans eat foods that say, ‘may contain’?

As a vegan, we all know the typical drill at the grocery store, it says “vegetarian” or “dairy-free” and all the works. Then we turn the product around to look at the nutrition label and read the ingredients, because you can never be too safe, and we see ‘may contain’ eggs, milk and/or other animal products. Should vegans eat these foods?

Uh oh…

What do you do? Do you buy it and hope for the best or refuse to eat a product that MAY contain animal products?

In all honesty, it comes down to personal preference. When a food is labeled as ‘may contain’, it means it MAY have cross contaminated with animal products, OR it was made in a place that processes animal products. Cross-contamination typically occurs as a result of products sharing factory equipment or from the gloves of the workers that handle the food.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA): “it’s not a legal requirement to say on the label that a food might accidentally contain small amounts of an allergen.” However, companies began labeling their foods with ‘may contain’ for consumers with food intolerances because even the tiniest amount of cross contamination may be fatal to some people with severe allergies, and well, those companies needed to protect themselves.

Still not sure what to do?

Think about it this way, when you go to a restaurant that isn’t fully Vegan, BUT has Vegan options on the menu, do you think they cook the vegan food on separate equipment or on the same equipment that they cook animal products on? One may never know, but I hope that this reference helps guide you into making your decision to eat or not eat food products that state ‘may contain’.

On the other hand, some people prefer not to support companies that produce animal products but carry vegan options. Other people love that non-vegan companies now have vegan options as well. But we don’t exactly know how those foods are made or processed. Therefore, it is all personal preference.

So, just think about it this way, what does being ‘Vegan’ mean to you? Some vegans may eat the ‘may contain’ foods and some may not. As always, to each their own.

Happy ingredient checking!

Lynda Landaverde Hi, I’m Lynda! I’m a new vegan mommy of one baby boy. I became vegan a few months pre-pregnancy, and am currently raising my son as Vegan. I hope to inspire other mama’s through my love for writing about veganism. Aside from being a mommy and writer, I also have a love for fitness. I’m a Pilates instructor who loves Yoga, hiking and weight lifting. You can follow my vegan mommy journey on Instagram @theplantbasedmommy.


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