In this Fact Sheet: Beer, Cider, Wine/Fortified Wines, Spirits/Liqueurs, Colorants and Vegetarian/Vegan Alcohol Availability
Many alcoholic drinks, such as beer and wine, will have been clarified/ stabilised (fined) using animal derived products, causing concern for vegetarians and vegans alike. As fining agents are used as a processing aid (as opposed to an additive) in theory none should remain in the final product, however this is impossible to guarantee.
One of the problems faced in determining which products are suitable is due to current EC labelling regulations for alcoholic beverages which states that; “A complete list of ingredients in descending order by weight is currently only required for drinks with an alcoholic strength by volume (abv) of 1.2% or less.” This means that only very low or non-alcoholic beers, wines and ciders are required to list all ingredients.
Animal derived products used in the production of alcohol include; Albumin – derived from egg whites (may be caged eggs); Casein – Protein derived from milk; Chitin – derived from the shells of crabs, lobsters, etc; Gelatine – from bones and connective tissues of cows or pigs; Isinglass - obtained from fish swim bladders.
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