As a vegan, it’s essential to know what you’re buying and consuming. The vegan symbol is one way to identify certified vegan products. However, you may have noticed that some vegan symbols have an asterisk next to them, which can be confusing. What does it mean?
In this article, we will explore the meaning behind the asterisk that appears next to a vegan symbol. We will explain the different types of vegan symbols with asterisks, why they are essential, and how to ensure that a product is vegan. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this topic.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what the asterisk next to a vegan symbol means, keep reading to find out.
What is the Vegan Symbol?
The vegan symbol, also known as the vegan society logo, is an international symbol that represents products that are suitable for vegans. It is a registered trademark of The Vegan Society, a UK-based non-profit organisation that promotes veganism.
The symbol features a green V, which stands for vegan, and is surrounded by a circle. The circle represents the earth and the interconnectedness of all living beings. The vegan symbol is used by manufacturers to indicate that their products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals.
Why Do Some Vegan Symbols Have an Asterisk?
If you’ve ever seen a vegan symbol with an asterisk next to it, you may have wondered what it means. The asterisk is used to signify that the product is not 100% vegan, and that there may be some non-vegan ingredients or processing aids used in the manufacturing of the product.
There are a few reasons why a vegan symbol may have an asterisk next to it:
|Shared equipment||Some products may be made on the same manufacturing lines as non-vegan products, which can result in cross-contamination. This means that even though the ingredients used in the product may be vegan, there is still a risk of non-vegan ingredients being present due to the shared equipment.|
|Non-vegan processing aids||Some manufacturing processes may require the use of non-vegan processing aids, such as enzymes or gelatine, which are used to help the product maintain its texture or taste. While these aids are not considered ingredients, they can still impact the vegan status of the product.|
|Testing on animals||Some vegan products may be tested on animals during the manufacturing process, even though the final product is free from animal-derived ingredients.|
It’s important to note that the use of an asterisk does not necessarily mean that the product is not suitable for vegans. Instead, it serves as a warning to those with stricter vegan standards that the product may not be 100% vegan.
Why Do Some Vegans Avoid Products with an Asterisk?
While some vegans are comfortable with purchasing products that have an asterisk, others choose to avoid them altogether. This is because they believe that any non-vegan ingredient, no matter how small the amount, goes against the principle of veganism.
Ultimately, the decision to purchase products with an asterisk is up to each individual vegan. It’s important to understand the meaning behind the symbol and decide what level of strictness works for you.
Different Types of Vegan Symbols with Asterisks
There are several variations of the vegan symbol with an asterisk, each with its specific meaning. Here are some of the most common types:
|Vegan Society Symbol*||The product is registered with the Vegan Society, and no animal products were used in its production. The asterisk denotes that the product may have been produced on the same equipment or in the same facility as non-vegan products.|
|European Vegetarian Union Symbol**||The product is vegan and has been certified by the European Vegetarian Union. The double asterisk denotes that the product is made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs).|
|American Vegetarian Association Symbol***||The product is vegan and has been certified by the American Vegetarian Association. The triple asterisk denotes that the product is made without any animal products, including honey and dairy.|
|World Vegan Organization Symbol****||The product is vegan and has been certified by the World Vegan Organization. The four asterisks denote that the product is made without any animal products, including honey, dairy, and eggs. Additionally, the product is not tested on animals, and the ingredients are not genetically modified.|
It’s essential to note that the use of these symbols and their corresponding asterisks can differ depending on the certifying organization and geographical location. Therefore, it’s critical to check each product’s label carefully to understand what the asterisk signifies.
The Importance of the Asterisk
The asterisk next to a vegan symbol is significant because it indicates that the product has been certified as vegan by a recognized organization. This means that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products and has not been tested on animals. It is important for vegans to look for this symbol as it gives them peace of mind that they are making an ethical and cruelty-free choice.
Without the asterisk, it can be difficult to determine whether a product is completely vegan. Some products may appear to be vegan, but may contain hidden non-vegan ingredients such as honey, gelatine, or certain food dyes. By looking for the vegan symbol with an asterisk, vegans can be confident that they are choosing a product that has been thoroughly vetted and meets their ethical standards.
The asterisk also helps to inform non-vegan consumers who may be curious about veganism. When non-vegans see the symbol, they are more likely to inquire about what it means and why it’s important. This can lead to important conversations about animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and personal health, and may even encourage more people to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Foods That May Contain Hidden Non-Vegan Ingredients
As a vegan, it’s important to be aware that some foods may contain hidden non-vegan ingredients. Manufacturers may use animal-derived substances as processing aids or ingredients, making it difficult to identify non-vegan foods without the use of certifications and symbols.
Some common foods that may contain hidden non-vegan ingredients include:
|Bread||L-cysteine (derived from animal hair or feathers)|
|Beer, Wine, and Spirits||Fish bladder (used to clarify alcohol)|
|Refined Sugar||Bone char (used in the refining process)|
|Candies and Chocolates||Shellac (derived from insect secretions)|
|Processed Foods||Monoglycerides and Diglycerides (can be derived from animal fat)|
Fortunately, checking for the vegan symbol or asterisk on packaging can help identify vegan products, or you can contact manufacturers directly to inquire about their ingredients and processes. As a vegan, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of hidden non-vegan ingredients to ensure that your choices align with your values.
Other Certifications to Look Out For
In addition to the vegan symbol with an asterisk, there are other certifications that can indicate a product is vegan. These certifications may vary depending on the country or region, but some common ones include:
|Vegetarian Society Approved||This certification indicates that a product is suitable for vegetarians and does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.|
|Plant-Based Certified||This certification verifies that a product is made entirely from plant-based ingredients and does not contain any animal products or by-products.|
|Cruelty-Free Certified||This certification indicates that a product and its ingredients have not been tested on animals.|
It’s important to note that these certifications do not necessarily guarantee that a product is vegan, as they may still contain animal-derived ingredients. However, they are a helpful tool for identifying products that are more likely to be suitable for vegans.
When looking for vegan products, it’s also important to consider the source of the ingredients and the production process. For example, a product may be made with vegan ingredients, but if it was produced in a facility that also processes animal products, there may be a risk of cross-contamination.
It’s always a good idea to contact the manufacturer directly if you have any concerns or questions about a product’s vegan status. They can provide more detailed information about their ingredients and production processes.
How to Ensure a Product is Vegan
If you’re new to veganism or unsure of how to identify whether a product is vegan or not, there are some tips that you can follow to ensure you’re making the right choices.
Check for Vegan Ingredients
A simple way to check if a product is vegan is to read its ingredients carefully. Look out for ingredients like milk, eggs, honey, and gelatin, which are all non-vegan. You can also check for common food additives that may be derived from animal sources, such as carmine, which is made from crushed beetles and is commonly used as a red food coloring.
Another thing to be mindful of is hidden animal by-products, such as whey protein, which is often used in snack foods and granola bars. It’s important to check the label for these ingredients, even if the product is marketed as being vegetarian or plant-based.
Look for Vegan Product Certification
The easiest way to ensure a product is vegan is to look for vegan certifications. There are different types of vegan certifications, but they all indicate that the product has been thoroughly checked and is free from any animal-derived ingredients. One of the most common certifications is the Vegan Society trademark, which uses the vegan symbol with an asterisk. Other certifications include the Certified Vegan logo, the USDA Organic seal, and the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.
Check the Packaging
Some products display a vegan symbol right on the packaging, making them easy to identify. These symbols can come in several different forms, but they all indicate that the product is vegan and has been certified as such. Look out for symbols like the Vegan Society trademark, the Vegetarian Society logo, and the Certified Vegan logo.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that the products you’re buying are truly vegan. Remember to always double-check the labels, even if you’re familiar with the product, as ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without warning.
The Benefits of Choosing Vegan Products
Choosing vegan products can have numerous benefits for both individuals and the environment. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Reduced environmental impact: The production of animal products requires more resources and creates more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based alternatives. By choosing vegan products, you can help reduce your carbon footprint.
- Improved animal welfare: The production of animal products often involves the mistreatment of animals. By choosing vegan products, you are reducing demand for these products and helping to improve animal welfare.
- Better health: Many vegan products are rich in nutrients and can help improve overall health. For example, plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
These are just a few of the many benefits of choosing vegan products. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or just starting to explore plant-based options, making the switch can have a positive impact on your health and the planet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does the asterisk mean next to a vegan symbol?
The asterisk next to a vegan symbol indicates that the product is not 100% vegan but may contain some ingredients that are derived from animals. The use of the asterisk is often determined by the certifying body and can vary between different vegan symbols.
Should I avoid products with an asterisk next to the vegan symbol?
It is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to consume products with an asterisk next to the vegan symbol. Some vegans choose to avoid these products, while others are okay with consuming them. It ultimately depends on your personal values and beliefs.
Why do some vegan products contain non-vegan ingredients?
Some products that are labeled as vegan may contain non-vegan ingredients due to cross-contamination during the manufacturing process or because certain ingredients are difficult to source in a vegan form. The use of an asterisk next to the vegan symbol indicates that the product may contain these non-vegan ingredients.
Can I trust products with a vegan symbol and no asterisk?
Yes, products with a vegan symbol and no asterisk have been certified as 100% vegan and do not contain any non-vegan ingredients. However, it’s always a good practice to read the ingredients list and check for any potential non-vegan ingredients that may not be indicated by the symbol.
Are there any other certifications I should look out for?
Yes, there are several other certifications that vegans should look out for when purchasing products. These include the Certified Vegan symbol, the Vegan Action symbol, and the Vegan Society symbol, among others.
We hope this article has helped you understand the meaning behind the asterisk next to a vegan symbol and why it’s important for vegans to be aware of it. By knowing what to look out for and how to identify truly vegan products, you can make informed decisions that align with your values and beliefs. Remember to always read the ingredients list and check for any potential non-vegan ingredients, even if a product has been certified as vegan.