Are Oreos Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Oreo Cookies?
Double-stuffed, peanut or plain, with over 40 billion Oreos being made and packaged every year there’s no denying that Oreos are one of America’s most popular cookies. Then came the announcement from PETA – Oreo cookies are vegan! Unfortunately, this was followed by further announcements from other vegan and cruelty-free societies, stating that Oreos aren’t, in fact, vegan.
So, what is the truth – are Oreo cookies vegan? Which Oreos are vegan? Find out whether Oreos are truly cruelty-free and more, in our article discussing everything you need to know, below.
Following the announcement from PETA, many people have been wondering just how are Oreos vegan. Well, when we look at the ingredients, they all consist of vegan-friendly sources:
Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Palm), Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder 4.6%, Wheat Starch, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Salt, Raising Agents (Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate), Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin), Flavoring (Vanillin)
Clearly, there are no animal-based products within Oreo ingredients, therefore most would believe that this automatically would make Oreos vegan- or, at least, plain Oreos have vegan ingredients. However, as most vegans are aware, whether or not something is made with animal-free ingredients does not always mean that they are also cruelty-free.
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Are Oreos Vegetarian?
Yes. Given the information given in the ingredients, we can see that there are no animal-based ingredients within the recipe for Oreos. Because Oreos contain no animal products, they can be considered vegetarian and are suitable for those who have a vegetarian diet.
What Makes Something Vegan?
As you may be aware, there are different levels of veganism. For some their vegan diet includes considering whether or not the company – and the owner of that company – are animal-friendly. For example, while a piece of makeup may be vegan in ingredients, there is always the chance that the company themselves may test on animals.
Similarly, while ingredients to a piece of foodstuff may be vegan with their ingredients, they may include vegetable oil which may be another term for palm oil. As we know, the source of palm oil can come from cutting down trees in the rainforest, harming the wildlife.
Thus, there is a distinct difference between an item being vegan and cruelty-free. At the same time, something may be considered vegan but has come from a company that is not vegan. In these cases, this means that the item in question has come from the same production line as an item of food which does use animal products. Because of this, the former food item is not considered to be vegan, as there is a risk of contact with between the vegan food and non-vegan food.
Are Oreos Vegan Friendly?
As we all know, veganism is about more than simple vegetarianism and opens up a broader range of discussion when it comes to what is vegan-friendly. In the case of Oreos, the manufacturers themselves have released a statement based upon whether or not Oreo cookies are vegan friendly.
It turns out that, because the manufacturers also create lots of other cookies and food goods, there is the concern of cross-contamination with milk. Therefore, Mondelez International (head of the Oreo brand, among others) have said on their website that Oreos are made on the same lines as non-vegan products.
Are Oreos Vegan?
The answer to this question comes mainly from your own understanding of what veganism entails and how much your vegan diet covers. While the ingredients state that there are no animal products within an Oreo cookie, the product itself can be considered vegan.
However, as the company themselves also handle non-vegan products, there is the danger of cross-contamination, which is why the company themselves note that Oreos are not vegan. Because there is risk of contact with other, non-vegan products, the answer when it comes to which Oreos are vegan is, unfortunately, none.
Why Aren’t Oreos Considered Vegan?
The main reason why Oreos cannot class themselves as vegan is because of the risk of contact with non-vegan ingredients on the production line. However, there is further consideration when you look into the ingredients of Oreos. For example, Oreos originally used pig fat (lard) to create their cookies, which is not a vegan ingredient. These days, they are also known to use vegetable oil which, upon closer inspection, is the general term used for palm oil.
Palm oil is said to be responsible for up to 8% of the world’s deforestation over the last 20 years, which means that many of the world’s most unique species of animals are very likely to be harmed, directly or indirectly, by companies who use palm oil. By removing the natural habitat of animals from orangutans to tigers, as well as altering the food chain used by these creatures, there is harm done to animals.
How Are Oreos Vegan?
So, if damage to wildlife is possible, why did PETA announce that Oreos are vegan-friendly? Well, it all comes down to individual preferences. PETA argue that the overall risk of consuming organic Oreos which have been in contact with a non-vegan item is extremely low. Therefore, they believe that Oreos can be considered vegan due to the risk of animal harm being very low.
On the other hand, there is the debate as to how deep an individual should consider their food source before buying, particularly as it would be extremely hard to buy any food item without it somehow being related to animal harm. Since the majority of food comes from 7 or 8 food giants, it is very rare to find any cookie which is not related, in some way, to animal cruelty in the world.
Thus, the answer as to whether Oreos are considered vegan relate entirely to why an individual has chosen to be vegan in the first place. If you have chosen veganism as a way of simply being more mindful of your diet and to enjoy a plant-based diet, then Oreos can be considered vegan. However, if you have promised yourself that you will not eat any item which has come with the risk of animals being harmed during the production or sourcing of ingredients, then Oreos are not considered vegan.