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. Fining agents are used as a processing aid (as opposed to an additive) which means 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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