Why does Oreo say Oreos are vegetarian but not vegan?
Unlike the cookies themselves, the debate on whether Oreos are vegan is anything but black and white.
Despite many Oreos being free from animal products, the biscuits are only listed as vegetarian on the official Oreo website.
According to the Oreo website: “No, OREO have milk as cross contact and therefore they are not suitable for vegans.”
This means that whilst the majority of cookies might be accidentally plant-based, the manufacturers do not have the procedures in place to be able to confidently claim that their products are vegan.
This is due to the possibility of milk cross-contamination arising from dairy products that are used within the factory.
Therefore, the manufacturers have to advise that traces of dairy may be found in Oreos.
However, this is more of a legal requirement to ensure those allergic to milk are fully informed before choosing to buy an Oreo.
Due to cross-contamination issues, some vegans will choose to avoid eating products such as Oreos which may contain trace amounts of dairy.
However, many vegan products also feature a ‘may contain’ label, due to factory conditions so it is down to personal choice for many vegans whether they choose to eat products carrying this warning.
Vegan charity Viva! says: “They [accidentally-vegan products] make it much easier to not only find vegan snacks and treats, but to enjoy them with family and friends.
“So, although it is your choice whether to eat products with ‘may contain’ warnings, we would encourage new and transitioning vegans not to be too hard on themselves, as it is unlikely that the product is non-vegan.”
Below are the current ingredients for the Original Oreo as available in the UK in 2021.
Please note that manufacturers may change the recipe of their products so make sure you double-check the label before purchasing.
- Wheat Flour
- Vegetable Oil (Palm)
- Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder 4.6%
- Wheat Starch
- Glucose-Fructose Syrup
- Raising Agents (Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate)
- Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin)
- Flavouring (Vanillin)
Are Oreos gluten-free?
At the time of writing, Gluten-Free Oreos are unfortunately not available to buy in the UK. However, Gluten-Free Oreos do exist and are available to buy in the USA.
These biscuits are made using oat flour rather than wheat flour, and are also accidentally vegan.
Hopefully, these free-from treats will find their way into our supermarket shelves very soon!