Are Oreos Vegan Friendly? Why Even PETA Gets This Wrong.

Like so many products, there’s mixed information about whether or not Oreo’s are vegan friendly. Here’s the unfiltered truth.

Oreo’s Ingredients

According to Wikipedia, the classic Oreo cookie is made using 11 main ingredients (other Oreo flavours ingredients here):

  • Sugar
  • Unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mono-nitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid)
  • High oleic canola oil or palm oil
  • Cocoa (treated with alkali)
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Leavening agent (baking soda or monocalcium phosphate)
  • Corn starch
  • Salt
  • Soy lecithin
  • Vanillin
  • Chocolate

Aside from the dangerous High-fructose corn syrup, note that Oreo’s contain Palm Oil which is a red flag for many vegans.

Issue #1 – Palm Oil

A Palm Oil Plantation

Palm Oil isn’t an animal product itself, but it is very destructive to the habitats of animals, especially orangutans.

Here’s how destructive Palm Oil is to Orangutans:

  • An estimated 50,000 orangutans have died due to palm oil deforestation in the past 20 years with approximately 6-12 being killed each day. (Source)
  • The main threat to the survival of orangutan populations in the wild is the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and Sumatra. (Source)
  • Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed often enter villages and oil plantations in search of food where they are captured or killed by farmers who treat them as pests. (Source)

Despite this, PETA ignores that Oreo’s are made with Palm Oil as pointed out in this Tweet:

Issue #2 – Oreo’s Themselves Say They’re Not Vegan

Most vegans believe Oreo’s are vegan friendly, here’s a Twitter poll showing almost 70% are sure they’re OK to eat:

We thought the same if we’re honest, but just a little more digging reveals the issue isn’t as clear cut as we were led to believe.

What Does The Company Who Make Oreo’s Say?

Oreo’s have been around since 1912 and is the best selling cookie brand in the United States.

The company that makes Oreo’s is the Nabisco division of Mondelez International. On their official Oreo’s website they clearly state that Oreo’s are NOT vegan, due to cross-contamination:

On the same page they say Oreo’s are not lactose or dairy free, again because the machinery on the production line also handles dairy products.

About The Cross-Contamination Issue

A dairy production line like this also processes Oreo’s

Cross-contamination is when the manufacturing or preparation process uses equipment that’s handled non-vegan ingredients.

For example, the restaurant that grills your vegan burger on the same grill as the meat products. Or in this case, the factory that manufacturers cookies which contain milk, also being used to make Oreo’s before they go into the packaging.

This issue is a bit of a “hot potato” in the vegan community:

Vegan’s “Beef” Over The Oreo’s Cross-Contamination Issue

This vegan Twitter user posted this Vegan S’mores board and immediately came under fire for using Oreo’s:

When the poster defended her use of “Oreo’s which are vegan”, it caused a

PETA’s Stance on Cross-Contamination

PETA Tweeted this recently which shows they prioritise the spread of vegan products over the impact to animals of ingredients like Palm Oil:

They went further and released a statement which continued to create mixed feelings amongst vegans:

“We discourage vegans from grilling waiters at restaurants about micro-ingredients in vegetarian foods (e.g., a tiny bit of a dairy product in the bun of a veggie burger). Doing so makes being vegan seem difficult and dogmatic to your friends and to restaurant staff, thus discouraging them from going vegan themselves (which really hurts animals). And we urge vegans not to insist that their food be cooked on equipment separate from that used to cook meat; doing so doesn’t help any additional animals, and it only makes restaurants less inclined to offer vegan choices (which, again, hurts animals). Remember that every vegan saves nearly 200 animals a year from horrific cruelty—and by encouraging people around you to follow your lead, you can save many more.”

PETA’s “A Note About Small Amounts of Animal Products in Foods” Statement

We can understand focusing on the spread of vegan options, that clearly will have a more positive impact on the lives of animals, but we also feel the cross-contamination issue is a personal choice the individual has to make.

We eat at home 90% of the time to ensure we know what we’re eating, when we go out we do the best we can. The idea of being a “bigger vegan than you” seems divisive and judgemental.

Ultimately we’re all doing what we can to minimise suffering and we’re at different stages on our journey. Do you remember when you learned something wasn’t vegan, but before that you were obliviously eating or using it?

Us too, so be kind to yourself and make better choices as you learn.

What About Other Oreo Flavours?

Oreo’s come in other flavours including Peanut Butter, Dark, Mint, Golden Birthday Cake and Carrot Cake. All of t Its unclear which Oreo flavors come into contact (if ever) with animal products. But all Oreo flavors are made with vegan-friendly ingredients, including Mint, Golden Birthday Cake, Carrot Cake, and Dark Chocolate.

And since, according to Mondelz International, Inc., Oreo flavors aren’t prepared on their own dedicated production line-every unique flavor has the same chance of coming in contact with trace animal products, like milk.

Oreo Doublestuff

Ingredients:
Sugar, Wheat Flour , Vegetable Oil (Palm), Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder 3.6%, Wheat Starch, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Raising Agents (Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate), Salt, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin), Flavouring (Vanillin)

Note: All ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

Oreo Chocolate Creme Halloween

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 , Folic Acid), Palm And/or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda And/or Calcium Phosphate*), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Yellow 6 Lake, Chocolate, Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5 Lake.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are not vegan, also Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo Caramel Coconut


Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Palm and/or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dried Coconut, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate*), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Dextrose, Yellow 5 Lake, Artificial Flavor, Red 40 Lake, Chocolate, Blue 1 Lake, Natural Flavor. Contains Wheat, Soy.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are not vegan, also Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo White Chocolate Fudge Snowy Enrobed

Ingredients
Sugar, Wheat Flour, Palm Oil, Shea Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Skimmed Milk Powder, Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder 2 %, Wheat Starch, Lactose (from Milk), Whey Powder (from Milk), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Milk Fat, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, E492, Sunflower Lecithin), Raising Agents (Potassium Carbonates, Ammonium Carbonates, Sodium Carbonates), Salt, Flavourings


Note: Some ingredients are not vegan, also Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo Dark Chocolate

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), Palm And/or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda And/or Calcium Phosphate*), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Chocolate, Artificial Flavor.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are not vegan, also Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo Tiramisu

Ingredients
Wheat Flour, Sugar, Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Palm contains Antioxidant TBHQ), Cornstarch, Cocoa Powder, Milk Solids, Invert Syrup, Leavening/Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate (E500ii) and Ammonium Bicarbonate (E503ii)), Salt, Flavors (Natural and Artificial Tiramisu and Artificial Vanillin) and Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin (E322))., Food Additives are sourced from plant and synthetic origin.

Note: Some ingredients are not vegan, also Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo Lemon Creme


Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Palm And/or Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Annatto Extract (Vegetable Color).

Note: All ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

Oreo Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 , Folic Acid), Palm And/Or Canola Oil, Peanut Butter (Dry Roasted Peanuts, Hydrogenated Rapeseed And/Or Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oil, Salt), Whole Grain Wheat Flour (Graham Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate*), Caramel Color, Glucose Syrup, Soy Lecithin, Invert Sugar, Artificial Flavor, Natural Flavor.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: All ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

Oreo Cookie Crumbles

Ingredients
Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin. Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid, Sugar, Palm and / or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Invert Sugar, Leavening (Baking Soda and / or Calcium Phosphate*), Soy Lecithin, Salt, Chocolate, Natural Flavor. Contains Wheat, Soy.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo Birthday Cake Chocolate

Ingredients:
Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Palm), Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder 7.0%, Wheat Starch, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Raising Agents (Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate), Salt, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin), Flavouring (Vanillin)

Note: All ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

Oreo Carrot Cake

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 , Folic Acid), Palm And/or Canola Oil, Whole Grain Wheat Flour (Graham Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Spice, Corn Cereal, Salt, Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Paprika Extract (For Color), Artificial Flavor, Adipic Acid, Yeast Extract.

Note: All ingredients are vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Mint Creme

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid), Palm And/Or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda And/Or Calcium Phosphate*), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Peppermint Oil, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Chocolate, Artificial Flavor.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are Vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Oreo S’more Cookies

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Palm And/Or Canola Oil, Graham Flour (Whole Grain Wheat Flour), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Artificial Flavor, Caramel Color.

Note: All ingredients are Vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above. If you’re OK with that, you can order this flavour from Amazon.

OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, Winter Edition

Ingredients
Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1), Riboflavin Vitamin B2), Folic Acid), Palm and/or Canola Oil, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate*), Salt, Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake), Soy Lecithin, Vanillin–an Artificial Flavor, Chocolate.

*Calcium Phosphate is vegan

Note: Some ingredients are Vegan, but Oreo’s contain Palm Oil and may have been manufactured on equipment that handles dairy. More on that above.

Vegan Alternatives To Oreo’s

We like Lenny & Larry’s Chocolate Chip cookies which are plant-based, contain no GMO’s, 10g of fiber, 16g of protein and come in flavours like Apple Pie, Birthday Cake, Salted Caramel, Choc-o-Mint and many more:

Summary

Wrapping up, we can’t recommend you eat Oreo’s considering they contain palm oil, traces of milk, and the manufacturers themselves say they are not suitable for vegans.

We recommend you take a look at real vegan cookies instead and make a better choice for your health and the animals.

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