Flash Point: Oreos Aren’t Vegan

Good news for people who love bad news..

Oreos aren’t vegan. This keeps coming up, but the fact remains they aren’t vegan. There are a number of moving parts to the matter, but here’s a letter from Mondelez who manufactures Oreos:

Hi Dave,

Thank you for reaching out! The information you have heard is correct.

None of our products are certified vegetarian or vegan even though some products may fit those categories. Certain ingredients, like glycerin, may be sourced from plants or animals.

Currently OREO products in the US and Canada are not suitable for a Vegan diet due to some of our sugar suppliers using the bone char method.

If enzymes are present in our products, they will be listed on the ingredient line as enzymes.

These are sourced from animals. Unfortunately, we are unable to research what animal source they come from as this is considered proprietary information.

We understand that knowing what ingredients are in the food products you eat directly affect how you practice your religion/dietary lifestyle, and OREO does all that it can to assist its consumers in making educated food decisions.

As you can imagine our products change frequently and maintaining a list of products for specific dietary practices would be virtually impossible.

We ask that our consumers take the time to check the ingredient statement on the package prior to purchasing a product.

Warm regards,

OREO Customer Service
Ref: Case #S-13241373

Letter emailed to me on March 7th, 2022, inspired by this Reddit thread.

The above letter applies to US and Canada, so the sugar may be a moot point in other countries where bone char isn’t used. (See here for an easy guide on vegan sugar if unfamiliar.)

But in addition to the sugar, there’s uncertainty about the glycerin and enzymes, which may also be animal ingredients.

And there are two other ingredients of concern:

Given all that, I hope we can agree that Oreos simply aren’t vegan.

There are alternative sandwich cream cookies from other brands that offset most of these pitfalls, with more ethical or even organic ingredients. A simple guideline that I keep in mind when shopping: if I’ve seen a commercial for it, I probably want to avoid it.

And at the end of the day no one will be worse off for not eating an Oreo, but maybe others will be better off if you choose not to.

UPDATE: November 16th, 2023

To emphasize the human slavery involved in chocolate, Mondelez was highlighted as a company with child labour in this piece by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, it’s worth a watch:

Thanks for sharing!

Dave Shishkoff

Just check out the About page. =)

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4 Responses

  1. V says:

    I thought palm oil was still much more efficient than any other kind of oil? Personally I feel like it’s dangerous to villify palm oil, only to then have companies use another, more damaging kind of oil.

    • Hey there, not quite sure what you’re referring to, how is palm oil efficient? Do you mean that you can get more palm per square meter of farmland? This is true, but given where most palm oil is grown, it’s at a huge cost to nature.

      The problem arises in how destructive most plantations are. Palm oil in itself isn’t ‘bad’, but it’s just really hard to find ‘good’ palm oil. Compounding the challenge is the fact the biggest ‘fair trade’ palm oil certification, RSPO, is also riddled with corruption, so that can’t be trusted either. The best options I’ve seen are non-RSPO Fair Trade and Organic, which some companies do use, typically the vegan companies that also insist on an ethical element to their business. But the vast majority of palm, especially in big mainstream products, is typically from the worst offenders.

      • jim says:

        When I was eating whole food plant based last summer, not only did I feel so much better, but I also didn’t have to worry about stuff like this. I need to get my good habits back. We really don’t need to be eating oil at all, but palm oil especially sucks, and they put it in everything now because it’s cheap. Bad for the environment and wild habitats, many negative factors.

  2. Lee Hall says:

    Thank you for mentioning the human trafficking, Dave. In my opinion that settles the question. Oreos cannot be vegan.

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