Becoming a vegan comes with life-affirming responsibilities and major lifestyle alterations. You cannot assume any food to be vegan just by the looks of it. Not even the fruit candies that taste exactly like fruit. The fruity liquid that gushes out of these bundles of joy does taste convincing, but are Gushers vegan?
We can say, yes. Gushers are vegan to some extent because they do not contain gelatin unlike many chewy candies of this sort. Gushers use a product called carrageenan which is a thickener obtained from seaweed. Many vegans assume that a candy like Gushers would definitely contain gelatin. Their reliance on a rarer vegan option is applaudable. Carrageenan makes your fruity candy have a soft texture just the way you like. But this doesn’t end here. Some controversial ingredients pave their way into Gushers too. You should be aware of them.
Not everything gushing out of Gushers is vegan
All vegans are usually aware and alert about gelatin. Gelatin is a substance formed by boiling body parts of animals like cows and pigs in water to obtain a translucent substance without its own flavour and odour that can be utilized as a filler in candies of this sort. Thankfully, Gushers do not contain gelatin. As we have already mentioned, Gushers utilizes a substance called carrageenan instead. The other problematic and doubtful ingredients comprising this candy include glycerine, carnauba wax, palm oil, modified corn starch, monoglycerides, natural flavours, artificial colors, and processed sugar. We’ll help you analyze the source and the consequences of incorporating each of these ingredients in your preferred food items.
Glycerine may not always be derived from plants
It is common for manufacturers to produce glycerin from animal sources instead of plants. Although a great deal of glycerin is indeed produced from plants, the possibility of it coming from an animal source doesn’t vanish. This is heightened by the fact that the makers of Gushers haven’t ever clearly specified whether the glycerine used in their product is vegan or not.
Carnauba wax is obtained from palm trees, so is palm oil
It is true that palms are just plants and palm oil is a plant based material in that sense. Carnauba wax obtained from the leaves of this plant can also be easily considered plant based. But this is not the complete picture.
Palm plantations need to be looked at from a wider perspective because the real picture is as devastating as animal slaughter. Thousands of acres of rainforests recede every year because they are eaten by the fast growing palm plantations. These capitalist plantation machineries and techniques have led to a large scale reduction in the lush green lungs of our planet Earth. Huge areas of forests are ruthlessly deforested for palm cultivation. This is not only bad for the planet’s air quality, quite a number of animal species lose their natural homes and food supply chains and are rendered homeless.
Orangutans are amongst the many animal species driven to the brink of extinction by the fast expanding capitalist forests that replace rainforests. There is no single aspect of the devastation caused by palm plantations. Underprivileged human populations are either driven out of their ancestral lands or employed as bonded labourers with little prospects of freedom and normal life.
Palm plantations are also known to release peat into the soil in which they are planted. Peat in turn leads to the release of large volumes of greenhouse gas methane from the soil. This, along with widespread deforestation is hugely responsible for the global warming crisis our planet is going through.
These ingredients are not acceptable to many vegans. While many others continue their consumption while avoiding meat, dairy, and eggs. It must be mentioned that the adverse effects of palm oil plantations on our planet have been drastic and it is important to urge manufacturers to shift to more sustainable ingredients.
Modified Corn Starch contains enzymes
It is not really known where these enzymes are obtained from. But modified corn starch used in Gushers does utilize enzymes to alter its viscosity.
It is known that many producers obtain enzymes from bacterial cultures and those enzymes can be considered vegan. But such bacteria are often fed on animal products in order to produce these enzymes. Vegans are more worried because obtaining such enzymes from animals is often more feasible and economical for capitalist manufacturers. It is difficult to trust them in this scenario.
Monoglycerides have forever been under the scrutinizing eye
The manufacturers of your favourite candies seldom mention where such doubtful ingredients come from. Vegans like us then keep researching and google often has terrifying outcomes.
Well, monoglycerides could be obtained from plant sources also. Worrying about the animal sources of this tiny ingredient may drive you away from numerous food items which may be otherwise vegan. We personally suggest you to not give much thought to monoglycerides. A little discrepancy is a part of every good thing.
Natural flavours are seldom natural and commonly tricky
It is essential for vegans to know which flavours are natural and which aren’t. It isn’t a compulsion for the producers to utilize only what they are expected to while building the taste of a product. Oftentimes they will obtain flavours from fishes to make fruity products more juicy.
Vegans always keep reviewing substances that may slither mischievously into their apparently vegan foods. One of such substances is an animal based natural flavour known as castoreum. This product is obtained from beavers and is commonly utilized to render strawberry and raspberry flavours more juicy. It is widely speculated that this flavour could be a part of the strawberry flavoured Gushers.
It is also true that natural flavours are at times actually obtained from plant based sources. It will be mind boggling to stress about these things.
Many vegans do not excuse artificial colors in food products
Artificial colors are ethically non-vegan and are often considered inexcusable. About four types of artificial colors are used in the different varieties of Gushers. These are Blue 1, Red 50, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6.
Artificial colors may not be derived from animals but they are problematic because they are tested on animals in order to prove their safety of usage in humans. Many innocent animals like rabbits, monkeys, rats, and even dogs are subjected to toxic doses of these colors in order to study their adverse effects. These animals often die as a result of such exposure. They are killed in turn if they survive with complications due to the testing.
Such blatant animal cruelty isthe reason vegans stay away from products that use artificial colors. Gushers may not be considered vegan if you choose to avoid such colorants in your diet.
Processed Sugar in sweet food remains a topic of debate
Many vegans choose to avoid processed cane sugar in their diet. The reason behind this serious decision leads us back to the factories where cane sugar is produced. Many sugar factories across America use bone char to bleach and whiten their sugar.
If you are not aware, bone char is a substance made by burning cattle bones to high temperatures until they convert into a carbon residue with highly absorptive properties.
Not all factories employ bone char and it is true that no bone char residues are passed into the final refined sugar. Avoiding processed sugar is an ethical responsibility undertaken by some vegans because you never know where your sugar comes from.
But it is also possible that it wasn’t produced using animal based products at all. Some factories employ granular activated carbon to bleach their sugar and others produce totally organic sugar from beetroot and coconut.
Avoiding sugar altogether may be a very extreme decision.
So are Gushers vegan afterall?
Gushers are considerably vegan if you compare them with other such candies. If you ought to eat candies while knowing that they are composed of a ton of artificial ingredients, you may as well eat Gushers.
They have comparatively less non-vegan ingredients. First of all, Gushers don’t have gelatin. The rest of the problematic ingredients are all extremely controversial.
You don’t know for certain that the glycerine used in Gushers is indeed derived from an animal based source. Likewise, you don’t know this fact about artificial sugar, monoglycerides, and modified corn starch too. All doubts are mere speculations.
Although it is very firmly believed by many vegans that Gushers definitely utilize castoreum as a natural flavour. This may or may not be true. You never know.
You may choose to avoid Gushers along with numerous other food products if you are concerned about the severe environmental implications of mushrooming palm oil plantations. This reason is quite acceptable. Many people avoid artificial colors for their ethical failures in animal testing and also their adverse effects on human health. This is not just true for candies, people tend to avoid artificial colors in make-up products too.
Gushers are not absolutely vegan. You must understand that many factory made foods might never be.