When you are following a plant-based diet, scanning the ingredient lists on food packaging for animal products becomes second nature. Have you noticed that many items that do not list animal products in their ingredients still include this little sentence: ”May contain traces of eggs and milk”!? Does this mean the product is automatically not vegan friendly? 

Let out a sigh of relief! The disclaimer is directed towards people with allergies and serves as legal protection for the manufacturer. The product with 100% plant-based ingredients is still vegan.

But how do these traces end up in our food?

Most facilities produce vegan and non-vegan products on the same equipment. Despite extensive hygiene and regular cleaning, tiny micro-particles of animal products can stick to surfaces and consequently be mixed into plant-based products. Additionally, lightweight ingredients, for example milk powder, can contaminate plant-based products through the air. 

While contamination is an exception and not the norm, the disclaimer is important. For people with food allergies, these tiny particles represent a real health risk. Nevertheless, if you are avoiding animal products for ethical or health reasons, you can rest assured that even products with the disclaimer are vegan.