Not everything is as it seems—getting bangs, becoming an adult, Oreos…
As for that last one, despite being a chocolate cookie sandwich filled with cream, turns out there are no animal products used in the production of “milk’s favorite cookie.”
So, if Oreos are free of the milk, cream, animal fat, milk fat, and butter expected in cookies, that would make them vegan, right…RIGHT?!
Are Oreos vegan?
Sorry to break it to you, but nope, they’re not. The classic Oreo flavor (including the Double Stuf edition) is technically manufactured without animal-sourced ingredients, but because of other Oreo flavors and snack brands produced in the same facilities which do require milk, there’s a risk of cross contact, according to a rep from Mondelēz International, Inc., Oreo’s parent company.
This (heartbreaking) development means Oreos are better suited for people who have mild dairy sensitivities than vegans, says Alyssa Lavy, RD, since trace amounts of milk probably won’t set off any symptoms linked to lactose intolerance. But still, she adds, in the end, it’s up to the eater whether cross-contact and trace amounts of animal ingredients work for their lifestyle, ethics, dietary choices, and dietary restrictions.
PETA, for one, says not to stress over it. In a note about small amounts of animal products in food, the animal rights organization wrote:
“People who have made the compassionate decision to stop eating animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products may wonder if they need to read every ingredient to check for tiny amounts of obscure animal products. Our general advice is not to worry too much about doing this. The goal of being vegan is to help animals and reduce suffering; this is done by choosing a bean burrito or a veggie burger over chicken flesh, or choosing tofu scramble over eggs, not by refusing to eat an otherwise vegan food because it has 0.001 grams of monoglycerides that may possibly be animal-derived.”
If you wouldn’t insist a restaurant prepare your vegan dish in cookware that’s never come in contact with an animal product, you probably don’t need to cut Oreos out of your life, either. But again, totally up to you.
Also, as long as the topic is on the table, you should know Oreos aren’t gluten-free or kosher either.
What about other Oreo flavors?
It’s 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, Peanut Butter, and Dark Chocolate.
And since, according to Mondelēz 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.
What could I eat instead?
If giant cookie manufacturers aren’t catering to your vegan needs, Lavy suggests making your own version of the cookie sandwich at home. Try this one from Minimalist Baker made with dates and cocoa powder, this one from Chocolate Covered Katie prepared with plant-based milk, or this carrot cake Oreo dupe from Sweet Simple Vegan.