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Why are plastic shopping bags not vegetarian?

Generic name: Plastic shopping bag.

Active ingredient: Slip agents.

Can you make it?  Not really.

Vegan?

No, the slip agents in plastic bags are rendered from animal fats.

Halal?

Depends on whether you believe handling bags that may contain pork fat is haram, or whether you believe that it’s halal so long as you do not ingest it.

Ethical concerns?

On top of animal welfare issues, plastic bags are usually not recyclable or biodegradable, and present a hazard to wildlife.

Health concerns?

None that I am aware of.

Alternative brands:

Any cotton, jute or bamboo tote bags. Or just use your backpack!

Are there store brands?

Yes, most supermarkets offer a recyclable or fabric bag you can reuse.

What is “natural vanilla flavouring”?

Popular brands:

This is found in far, far too many places.

Generic name: Castoreum.

Active ingredient: Beaver bum?

Can you make it? The RSPCA might have something to say.

Vegan?

No.

Halal?

No.

Ethical concerns?

Animal suffering, plus consumer rights. Basically, castoreum comes from the anal glands of a beaver, which means

A: someone had to extract it, and

B: sellers don’t want consumers to know about it.

Fact of the matter is: only two natural products taste of vanilla: vanilla pods and beaver bums. So if you see “natural flavouring”, “natural vanilla flavour”, or “vanilla flavour”, well, even just “flavour/ing” on your vanilla-tasting food, it’s probably beaver bum. Some raspberry-flavoured things too!

Health concerns?

None we’re aware of.

Alternatives:

Anything that says “vanilla bean”.

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