Watch out for hidden meat ingredients in processed foods

Watch out for hidden meat ingredients in processed foods

Your favorite "vegetarian" junk food might contain meat ingredients

When I first became a vegetarian as a teenager, I didn't pay too much attention to ingredient lists. For example, if I was eating beans, I assumed that they were just, well, beans. That is not always the case. Unfortunately, many products on the market have hidden animal product ingredients. Here are some foods that may have fooled you.Chips

Most people, myself included, love to snack on salty chips. They go great with salsas, hummus and a variety of other dips. Us vegetarians, however, need to pay attention to the ingredients in these crunchy crisps. While most chips in the grocery store are safe, there are some that list meat products on their labels.

Don't believe me? Check out BAKED! LAYS® Barbecue Flavor. Under "natural flavors," they list chicken as an ingredient. Funny, I didn't realize that barbecue sauce flavor needed poultry to be authentic.

Another perfect example is BAKED! DORITOS® Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips. While you won't see any meat products screaming out on the ingredient list, they are hidden in there. The enzymes that are used in the cheese flavoring are made from pork rennet. Gross.

Processed desserts

Sometimes you don't have the time to bake your own desserts, so you have to pick up a processed treat instead. Be careful. Many of these convenience desserts actually have meat products in them. Seriously. When was the last time you baked a chocolate cake with beef?

Hostess believes that their Donettes® need beef fat added to them. Strange that something sweet would need fat from a dead cow. Why couldn't they use a vegetarian shortening instead?

Oh, and they're not the only ones. The beloved Hostess Twinkies® also contain beef fat. Yep, you better get rid of those right away. With so many other options, it is just unacceptable for a company to hide this in their foods.

Here's some food for thought: Just because a product sounds like it should be vegetarian doesn't mean that it actually is. Always check ingredients, and when in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly for an answer.