In a vegan lifestyle, it’s essential to scrutinize every ingredient, even those used for non-nutritional purposes like coatings. One such ingredient is shellac. Let’s get to the question at hand: “Is Shellac vegan?“
What is Shellac?
Shellac, also known as confectioner’s glaze, resinous glaze, or natural glaze, is a shiny coating commonly used in various industries, including food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics. In the food industry, shellac is often used to give a glossy finish to products like candies, apples, or coffee beans.
How is Shellac Made?
Shellac is a natural product derived from the secretions of the female lac bug (Kerria lacca) found in India and Thailand. These bugs secrete lac resin onto tree branches, which is then harvested and processed into shellac.
Is Shellac Vegan?
Strictly speaking, shellac is not vegan. While it’s not an animal product in the traditional sense, it’s derived from insects. The collection process often leads to the death of many lac bugs, further complicating its status for those adhering strictly to vegan principles.
Shellac in a Vegan Diet
In a strict vegan diet, products containing shellac would be avoided because of its insect origin. This includes many shiny candies, coated fruits, and certain pills. If you’re following a vegan lifestyle, look for alternatives that use plant-based coatings or do not include a shiny glaze.
In conclusion, while shellac is a natural product, it’s not considered vegan due to its insect origin and the potential harm caused to the lac bugs during the harvesting process. As always, the key to maintaining a vegan lifestyle is making informed choices and reading product labels carefully.