As a matter of fact I ate one just now.
A Barbara’s Bakery fig roll.
Delicious, thanks for asking.
As a new vegan, or someone attempting to be more plant-based, you’re probably getting used to reading ingredients on product packaging. It can be hard enough to decipher whether some of the weirder sounding ingredients are animal, vegetable or mineral (though rest assured, this gets easier very quickly). But what do you do when you find a product that to all intents and purposes contains no animal products, but is emblazoned with the ubiquitous ‘Manufactured in a facility that also processes dairy/egg’ (or some version thereof). Actually ‘emblazoned’ is misleading – it’s usually in VERY small print somewhere completely missable (I wonder why?)
I don’t know about you, but my intentions are always just to do the best I can. I avoid animal products wherever and whenever I can; in food, clothing, footwear and personal products. But the truth is, they are used in so many areas of production (tires, glue, film roll etc.), it’s virtually impossible to avoid them altogether.
In this mostly non-vegan world, you CANNOT be a perfect vegan, nor should you attempt to be – you’ll get dispirited very quickly. I always refer to the words of vegan author Kathy Freston, who says ‘it’s about progress, not perfection.’
In any case – you probably make (or are moving towards making) most of your meals yourself with fresh ingredients, right? So it’s likely that it’s only the odd product you buy that would have this label.
In my case, I think it’s only the chocolate I buy on a regular basis that has this warning on it. Now, there IS chocolate out there made in facilities that don’t process animal products, but it’s about three times the price. The day I can afford it – I’ll buy it. But right now, my preferred chocolate is not made with animal products and it tastes great, so it’s fine.
It IS you who is in control of whether or not YOU eat animals and their products.
You are NOT responsible for the choices factory and processing plant owners make about how to optimise and get maximum revenue from their facilities.
Do what you can with the resources you have. If you can afford the vegan products that have dedicated facilities – great! If not; if the product has nothing from an animal in the ingredient list? Have at it!
We’re already making a massive difference by not contributing to global warming, animal cruelty and world hunger with our food choices, so don’t sweat something like this.
If you are allergic to dairy and/or egg? Me too! I usually do fine, however, eating products processed in facilities that also handle dairy and eggs. Occasionally I might feel a slight sensitivity, but rarely. If you are allergic and trying a new product with this labelling, just try a small piece first, wait fifteen minutes and see how you feel before deciding whether to consume the rest.
Super vegan (oh, and actor!) Alicia Silverstone writes about her love for Sunspire Grain-Sweetened Chocolate Chips. These are the healthiest vegan chocolate chips on the market as they don’t contain refined sugars – and they are made on equipment that also processes dairy. If this is OK with her, then I’m good too.
Basic rule? Do what you can!