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Ingredients: Doing the Research

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Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Shiva » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:43 am

How do you figure out which ingredients are vegan and which are not? Do you google 'til you drop? Write emails? Wait for someone else to do it? :P

We are in something of a transition right now, between our old friend and priceless resource VRF and this new site which is just starting out. It seems like a good time for some of us to develop our research muscles! I'm hoping that those of you who have some skills and/or experience in this area will share your wisdom with the rest of us.

I've got a smartphone app called "What Additives" that is great for food stuff, but less helpful for cosmetic ingredients.
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Shiva » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:48 am

Ooh! Thanks to debiguity via FB for this link: Happy Cow: Animal Ingredient List A-Z
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby debiguity » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:09 am

Glad I could help!

There are also phone apps. Animal-Free appears to be available for both the iPhone and Android phones.

Also Cruelty-Free, which might be associated with the Leaping Bunny designation, but which might be for iPhones only: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cruelty- ... 25734?mt=8

And if you're on twitter, @isitvegan is helpful in researching issues. They have a website also - www.isitvegan.com - and a form you can fill out.

We've got lots of tools these days!
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Shiva » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:35 am

I tried out the Animal-Free app, but didn't like it.
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Shiva » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:34 pm

Does anyone have any good tips for writing letters/emails to companies and inquiring about ingredient sources and animal testing? I know that some of our VRFers have these skills. downwithapathy, I am looking at you! :D

This thread is intended to be the seed material for a resource guide. That guide could potentially include some templates or form letters that anyone can use. Whaddya think?
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby dropscone » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:42 pm

It depends on which kind of company it is. I tend to alternate between mentioning I'm vegan and what that involves and asking if the product is suitable for my use (so they know there's a demand for things to be suitable for us :)) or if it's a specific ingredient I'm interested in I'll ask what the source is. If it helped I could dig out a load of enquiry e-mails I've sent to companies and their responses so you can see what gets the most informative reply :D
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby matryoshka » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:20 am

i bought some st. ives apricot facial scrub today -- and because i saw that it said 'no animal testing, no animal ingredients' i didn't bother to read the ingredients. then when i got home i saw that it said it has lanolin, which as far as i know only comes from sheep. is there a synthetic i don't know about? is the packaging incorrect? or are sheep no longer considered animals..??
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Miso Vegan » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:38 am

I guess a spammer bumped this thread, but since I missed it I'll add my $0.02 for the hell of it:
matryoshka, lanolin still and only comes from sheep. And sheep are still animals. :razz:
Shiva, generally speaking, I do not mention I'm vegan unless/until it becomes necessary, although like dropscone said, it sorta depends. The most important thing to keep in mind is do not ask yes/no questions. Always ask open-ended questions. The second most important thing is to not tell them why you're asking (because otherwise they'll just say, "oh, it's vegan!").

CASE IN POINT:
I got a new product in at the store, and I ordered it because it said VEGAN on the box. But when I saw that the ingredients contained non-organic sugar, I called them. The first time, the guy who answered said that the person (a guy's name) who would know was out of the office that week, but he'd get in touch with me. Never happened. Called again, and this time a woman answered the phone and she just kept saying variations of, "the box says it's vegan, we wouldn't put it on the box if it wasn't vegan. That's what I'm told." Finally I said (hopefully hiding my frustration), "I need to know how the sugar is whitened, specifically, the whitening media [that word always throws 'em]. Can you tell me, or is there someone else who might know?" "Oh, sure, that'd be so-n-so, let me transfer you...." This time the sugar expert is a woman's name.
THEN. This person's voicemail was full, so I emailed the person who seems to be the owner. He doesn't know the answer. He referred me to Female So-n-so's email. She finally responded that she contacted their sugar supplier, who said [and this is true of the major brand, Domino] that it depends on which factory the sugar comes from, and that can change from order to order, so their sugar is not always vegan. Gah!

Your typical vegan doesn't usually care about the sugar issue, but the lesson applies to any esoteric ingredient of questionable source.
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby gladcow » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:49 pm

this lesson applies to interacting with any mfg about any piece of data about their foods. I speak from experience. It's incredibly hard to get information from a company regarding the product. We often call to get size info (how many fluid ounces in a large size, for example) but we also call to get weight info. I am STUNNED how many companies allow people to answer their phones that don't know anything about their products NOR do they know who would have the answer. These are the people who make the foods, you guys :(
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Re: Ingredients: Doing the Research

Postby Shiva » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:36 am

Thanks for the tips!
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