Oreos are a popular cookie commonly eaten with milk (your favorite plant-based variety, if you are vegan!)
In fact, they are one of the most common foods listed when it comes to foods that people didn’t realize were vegan!
However, is this true? Are Oreos really vegan?
In this article, we will discuss the validity of the statement that Oreos are vegan, its controversial ingredients, and more. So, if this is of interest to you, then read on!
Are Oreos Vegan?
There are many, many ingredients in the many, many variations of the Oreo cookie, most of which are vegan!
For example, the original Oreos do not contain non-vegan ingredients, so if you follow a vegan diet, then you will have no problem eating these!
However, not all Oreo variations are suitable for those following a vegan diet. Like many other cookies and sweet treat brands, Oreo releases limited-edition variations of their popular cookie around the holidays.
These Oreo cookies are not suitable for vegans because they typically contain animal by-products, such as milk or cream.
Here is a breakdown of all the Oreo cookies that are vegan:
- Golden Oreo
- Chocolate Oreo
- Mint Oreo
- Peanut Butter Oreo
- Dark Chocolate Oreo
- Birthday Cake Oreo
- Mega Stuff Oreo
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreo
- Gluten-Free Oreo
- Double Stuff Oreo
- Java Chip Flavored Creme Oreo
- Brookie-O Oreo
- Toffee Crunch Oreo
- Caramel Coconut Oreo
- Carrot Cake Oreo
- Lemon Oreo
- Chocolate Marshmallow Oreo
The fudge variety of Oreos are not vegan because the fudge that they use contains milk.
What Does Oreo Say About Veganism And Their Products?
Oreo actually does not consider its products to be vegan. They state that they cannot be suitable for vegans because they may be cross-contaminated with milk.
To put it another way, Oreo cookies and certain brands of milk are produced in the same facility, which means that there may be very small amounts of milk present in the Oreos.
Many vegans are not concerned by this and will happily eat the Oreos. However, this is more of a problem for other vegans, who prefer not to risk it and accidentally consume traces of milk.
The Issue With Oreo Cookie Ingredients
Even though all of the ingredients in Oreo cookies are vegan, some vegans may not want to eat them because they contain controversial ingredients.
Let’s explore this in further detail by checking out some of the controversial ingredients.
Sugar is one of the top ingredients in Oreos, and it actually poses a lot of issues. Sometimes, sugar is filtered using bone char from cattle.
This is a process that bleaches the sugar, which is what gives it its characteristic white color.
Not all processed sugars are unsuitable for vegans because there are other filters that can be used to bleach the sugar. But, it can be difficult to know what products contain sugar that is suitable for vegans.
However, if a brand does list its products as vegan-friendly, then we can trust that all of its ingredients are sourced in ethical ways.
Because Oreo does not list its products as vegan-friendly, then we should not assume that the sugar used in the cookies is actually vegan.
Palm oil is a controversial ingredient for non-vegans as well as vegans because its production is not ethical.
A lot of land is destroyed in order to make space for palm oil plantations, which is both an animal issue and an environmental one.
This deforestation results in an increase of greenhouse gases such as methane in the atmosphere, and the death of many animals due to a loss of habitats and fires.
There are also human rights issues in regard to palm oil production. The industry exploits children and forces them to work at the palm oil plantation, as well as adult plantation workers.
Now, it is important to note that the parent company of Oreo, Mondelez International, has been working towards a way to source a more sustainable and ethical form of palm oil.
But there are people who remain skeptical of this, stating that their plan of action detailing how they will do this is not extreme or specific enough.
On top of this, Mondalez’s collaborators, The Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil, has been accused by environmentalists as a mere scam that has the alleged purpose of improving public image, and there are no actual steps being taken for sustainability purposes.
Many special-edition and flavored Oreos have added colors listed as ingredients, such as Yellow 4 and Red 3. While these are not animal products they are actually tested on animals and therefore contribute to the pain and death of animals.
The animals in these studies are treated in cruel ways, and because of this, many vegans take issue with the ingredients and find they cannot support the brand.
Most Oreo cookies do not contain any animal products or by-products, meaning they are safe for vegans to eat.
However, the fudge editions of Oreo cookies contain milk and therefore, are not suitable for vegans.
On top of this, it is important to note that Oreo themselves state that their products are unsuitable for vegans because they are produced in the same place that produces milk, so there may be traces of milk in Oreo cookies.
However, many vegans may still consider them to be vegan products and will feel comfortable eating them.
Also, while Oreo cookies do not contain any animal products, they do contain ingredients that are deemed controversial which may mean some vegans do not feel comfortable eating them.
For example, Oreo cookies contain sugar, palm oil, and added colors. Sugar is sometimes filtered through bone char, making it unsuitable for vegans.
Additionally, palm oil is an unethical ingredient due to its production resulting in the loss of homes and death of animals, human exploitation, and a significant contribution to global warming.
Added colors are tested on animals, and the animals are often treated cruelly and killed. So, while Oreo cookies are technically vegan, many vegans may still want to avoid them.