I got asked the previous day about products that have “may contain” or “traces of…” written on them.
Many who first go vegan think that when a product says “may contain milk or egg” that it isn’t vegan, however that product is in fact vegan and it only states that it may contain for people who have allergies towards milk or eggs. Often it is because the product is made in the same factory as other products that contain milk or eggs and so there is a risk for cross contamination and to avoid lawsuits if someone with an allergy does get an allergic reaction, it needs to be stated. Just like products that have may contain peanuts, even if peanuts isn’t an actual ingredient.
The way I, and most vegans see it, is that as long as it is not an active ingredient in the product – where the milk or eggs are usually marked in bolded colour. But then there are other names for products of milk (whey, skim milk powder, casein, lactos, milk sugar) and eggs (or albumin, or E1105 lysozyme) which aren’t always bolded, but sometimes written in italics. And then there are e-numbers and other ingredients such as beeswax, shellac, gelatin, e120 that aren’t vegan. So it is not just to read and see if there are any bolded words in the ingredients.
When you first go vegan you might want to just focus on the big ones such as avoiding milk and any milk derivatives, egg or egg powder, gelatin…. and then later on you can check the different e numbers or be more wary for honey, beeswax, e120, lanolin etc So don’t get overwhelmed all at once 🙂 Make the changes in the pace that suits you!
If a product says may contain or has traces of, it is still deemed vegan according to many. There are some who are still against it because there “could” contain, but there is a very little risk – from my understanding – that it does, and as long as you aren’t allergic it really doesn’t matter because it would be such small traces and it isn’t something that has been actively put in the product.
You can read more here .
Hope this helps anyone who was avoiding products because of the “may contain”…. it can make a vegan diet extremely restrictive if you avoid those types of products as well. Though if you have an allergy, then you might need to avoid them, but that is for other reasons 🙂