Please note: We often depend on company statements for products and ingredient information. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Please practice kindness to all, including those with different views and opinions.


November 2, 2018

Earls Restaurants: items they list as vegan

October 16, 2018

Alternative Baking Company Vegan Cookies Sold at Smoothie King

July 6, 2018

Cafe Rios Rice is not Vegan

February 27, 2018

Choosing Vegan Food at Chipotle

February 23, 2018

Perfect Pita® Vegan Menu Options

February 13, 2018

The Beyond Burger is on the menu at 469 TGI Fridays; Have you tried it?

February 12, 2018

Flower Child Restaurants List Vegan Options

February 06, 2018

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar

February 02, 2018

New Veggie Items at Panera Bread

January 18, 2018

Domino’s Australia Adds Vegan Pizza Line

January 12, 2018


December 26, 2017

CAVA&req; Grill Vegan Options

November 02, 2017

Starbucks® Debuts Vegan Bowl at Select Locations

October 20, 2017

Olive Garden’s® Breadsticks Are Vegan

September 26, 2017

Vegan Options at Big Bowl® Chinese and Thai in Illinois, Minnesota, and Virginia

September 11, 2017

Inchin’s Bamboo Garden Offers Vegan Options

July 10, 2017

Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt

June 19, 2017

Vegan Seasoned Rice at Taco Bell

June 16, 2017

Vegan Menu Options at Mellow Mushroom®

June 09, 2017

Vegan Options at Grimaldi®s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria®

May 12, 2017

Eating Vegan at Pret Keeps Getting Better!

May 04, 2017

White Castle Adds Second Vegan Slider Option!

April 21, 2017

Vegan Options at Moe’s Southwest Grill®

April 14, 2017

Salata Salad Bar Restaurants in Texas, Illinois, and California

April 12, 2017

Noodles & Company® Vegan Options

April 04, 2017

Taco Bell Rice Will be Vegetarian

March 24, 2017

Qdoba® Vegan Menu Options

March 17, 2017

Vegan Options at P.F. Chang’s® China Bistro

March 16, 2017

Pizza Pizza in Canada

March 15, 2017

Bareburger Chain Offers Vegan Burger

February 21, 2017

Eating at Pret

February 17, 2017

Vegan Options at Pei Wei® Asian Diner

January 31, 2017

Honeygrow Offers Many Vegan Options

January 23, 2017

Vegan Menu Options at Subway®

January 18, 2017

Ruby Tuesday’s Launches an Upgraded Endless Garden Bar

January 13, 2017

Vegan at Chipotle

December 30, 2016

Vegan Options at Red Robin® Gourmet Burgers and Brews

December 02, 2016

Vegan Options at Ruby Tuesday®

November 28, 2016

Vegan Options at California Pizza Kitchen®

November 18, 2016

Vegan Options at Olive Garden®

November 15, 2016

Vegan Options at Panera Bread®

November 04, 2016

Vegan Options at Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes®

November 02, 2016

Taco Bell® Vegan Options

October 24, 2016

Guacamole From Subway

September 02, 2016

Chipotle Vegan Options

August 22, 2016

Mellow Mushroom Offers Daiya Cheese as an Option

June 30, 2016

Vegan Burger at Yard House

May 10, 2016

Eat More Kale®: Chick-fil-A® Debuts Kale-Broccolini® Superfood Side

April 11, 2016

The Flame Broiler

April 05, 2016

Pinkberry Nondairy Softserve

March 04, 2016

Pie Five Pizza Company

February 25, 2016

Mellow Mushroom Vegan Gluten Free Pizza

February 03, 2016

Wendy’s Tests Black Bean Burger

January 25, 2016

Project Juice

January 12, 2016

Blaze Fast-Fire’D Pizza

December 14, 2015

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café

September 17, 2015

Jamba Juice Adds 3 More Vegan Almond Milk Smoothies

September 16, 2015

Zoës Kitchen Vegan Options

August 21, 2015

Freebirds World Burrito Vegan Tempeh Calabacitas

June 25, 2015

Smoothie King Adds Vegan Options

June 17, 2015


July 10, 2015

Vegan Options at SaladWorks

June 05, 2015

Taco Bell and Carmine Update

May 26, 2015

Where’s the Beef? Not in This Burger: Wendy’s Tests New Black Bean Burger

April 07, 2015

KFC, Taco Bell & Pizza Hut launch New Palm Oil Policy

March 26, 2015

It’s Easier to Find Vegan Pizza in Canada Now!

February 10, 2015

&Pizza in Washington DC/MD/VA Area Clearly Labels Vegan Items on Menu

February 06, 2015

Mellow Mushroom Releases New Vegan Menu

December 23, 2014

White Castle Launches Veggie Slider in all of their Restaurants

December 17, 2014

Vegan Options at Mellow Mushroom®

November 14, 2014

Vegan Options at Genghis Grill®

November 11, 2014

Salata Restaurants in Texas and California

October 31, 2014

Flower Child Restaurants

October 29, 2014

WaWa Convenience Stores

October 07, 2014

Smoothie King

September 10, 2014

Coffee Lovers Rejoice: Dunkin’ Donuts Now Serves Almond Milk!

September 2, 2014

Update on White Castle’s Veggie’s Sliders

August 13, 2014

Vegan Items at Shophouse

July 21, 2014

Taco Bell Enzymes

Outback Steakhouse

White Castle

ZPizza Vegan Offerings

May 2, 2014

Taco Bell Updates

April 28, 2014

TCBY’s newest vegan flavor is Coconutmilk!

April 7, 2014

Papa John’s: Dough Enzyme, Stearic Acid, and Cookie Ingredients Are Vegetarian

March 24, 2014

Soy Cheese Pizza at Domino’s Pizza® in Israel: A First for Major Pizza Chains

March 12, 2014

Update on Papa John’s: Vegetarian and Vegan Menu Options

February 28, 2014

Chipotle to Expand Tofu Sofritas to New York and New England March 3rd!

February 26, 2014

Viva La Vegan® Pizza at Ledo’s Pizza®

February 17, 2014

Tropical Smoothie Café Offers Beyond Meat®

November 18, 2013

Parmesan-Asiago Cheese on Domino’s Pacific Veggie Pizza Contains Animal-Derived Lipase

October 24, 2013

Edamame at 7-Eleven

October 21, 2013

Sofritas Available in Maryland

October 7, 2013

Vegan Sofritas Available at Chipotle in CO, UT, and ID

September 17, 2013

McDonald’s Canada Launches Meatless Signature McWraps®

August 26, 2013

TCBY Launches Silk® Chocolate Almond Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt

July 30, 2013

Chipotle Expands Vegan “Sofritas” to Entire Northwest

June 17, 2013

P.F. Chang’s Menu Items Labeled “Vegetarian” Are Free of Animal Ingredients Including Eggs and Dairy

May 24, 2013

Chipotle to Launch Sofritas in Southern California

May 22, 2013

Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips at Tropical Smoothie

April 11, 2013

Chipotle Expands Vegan Burrito to All of Northern CA

April 1, 2013

Vegetarian and Vegan Options at Cafe Rio Mexican Grill

March 22, 2013

“No Ghee” Says P.F. Chang’s

March 18, 2013

7-Eleven® Fresh Food Options

February 7, 2013

Togo’s West Coast Sandwich Chain Offers Vegetarian and Vegan Options

February 6, 2013

Vegan Menu Items at Starbucks; Natural Flavors

January 29, 2013

New Veg Option Tested at Selected SF Bay Area Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants

November 09, 2012

Elevation Burger Offers Vegetarian and Vegan Menu Options

October 10, 2012

Yard House Restaurants Offer Gardein™ Menu Options

September 21, 2012

Smashburger’s Black Bean Burger is not vegan

September 7, 2012

P.F. Chang’s Vegetarian-Labeled Dishes: Oyster Sauce is All-Vegetable; No Honey, Egg or Dairy Present

August 17, 2012

Please Contact Subway

June 27, 2012

Vegan Options at Select Subway Locations in MD, DC & VA

April 24, 2012

Taco Bell’s® FirstMeal™ Hash Browns

April 10, 2012

Starbucks: “Reviewing Alternatives” to Cochineal

December 9, 2011

Subway is Offering a Vegan Patty in Canada at Select Locations!

November 25, 2011

Vegan Meals at Select 7-Eleven® Convenience Stores in the Northeast

August 16, 2011

Update on Moe’s® Southwest Grill: Black Beans Are All-Vegetable; Honey in Whole Grain Tortilla

August 10, 2011

An Update on Subway Breads: Changes with Vitamin D3 and L-Cysteine

February 24, 2011

McDonald’s New Fruit & Maple Oatmeal Can Be Ordered without the Cream

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

New for 2011 on McDonald’s national menu is Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Made with whole grain rolled oats, it may be ordered with or without cream. This product may also be ordered without brown sugar, diced apples, or the cranberry raisin blend according to Ashley, a customer service representative at McDonald’s who spoke with us about the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Patrons must request their preferences upon ordering.

Readers who looked at the Ingredients Statement posted on McDonald’s website in early February 2011 may have been confused by the presence of two entries for this product, one of which omitted the word “cream” but was followed by “contains milk.” The second entry also omitted “cream” but did not have an allergen alert for milk.

We contacted McDonald’s to clear up the confusion. Ashley called me back and said it was an error. The word “cream” now appears in the entry. Later, Amanda, a supervisor on the consumer hotline at McDonald’s, confirmed that cream is a standard part of the menu item. Upon ordering, patrons must request that it not be added.

The word “cream” does appear in the entry at this time but there is no “contains: milk” in bold after it. Other entries containing milk products do have this allergen alert in the Ingredients Statement, but the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal does not. We have mentioned this to a supervisor on the McDonald’s hotline. She stated that “it’s common knowledge” that “cream” is a milk product.

(At the end of February 2011, The VRG noticed a similar confusion with the low-fat granola, served in a separate packet along with the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait (which contains gelatin, an animal-derived ingredient). Two entries are listed. One entry for granola (which contains honey) includes the milk allergen alert while the second does not. Neither ingredient list appears to contain milk products.)

Readers may also note that McDonald’s acknowledges that there is no maple syrup or maple sugar derived from maple trees in McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. This became an issue in Vermont due to laws regarding how the word “maple” is used in products and how it appears on labels. Through settlement, McDonald’s has agreed to offer maple syrup and sugar as options in its Fruit and Maple Oatmeal sold in that state.

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is offered throughout the day at McDonald’s restaurants. Patrons must make their preferences clear when ordering if they do not wish the cream or other components to be added.

For more information on quick service chains, see:

To support VRG’s ingredient and restaurant research, please donate athttps://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

September 13, 2010

L-Cysteine in Domino’s Pizza: “Non-Animal” According to Domino’s

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

The VRG recently received an email from a London reader asking about L-cysteine in Domino’s pizza. He reported to us that Domino’s UK told him that the L-cysteine used in the United Kingdom “is made synthetically” and wondered if this were true for the United States.

We contacted Domino’s Quality Assurance Department and posed the question as we did in 2007 when we were told …more

December 15, 2009

L-cysteine in McDonald’s Apple and Cherry Pies is Derived from an Animal Source

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A Pacific Northwest VRG member asked us about the source of the L-cysteine in the cherry pies at her local McDonald’s. Erin, a McDonald’s customer service representative, told us in January 2009 that since the cherry pie is not a national, “core” menu item, no information about the pie was available. Erin suggested that we contact the local restaurants that carry it.

The VRG made several random calls to McDonald’s restaurants in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. We were given a wide variety of answers but the general conclusion was that no one knew because they had no ingredient information. We were directed back to the corporate offices of McDonald’s.

The VRG discovered that the Bama Company supplies McDonald’s with their pies. We left several messages and sent several emails to Bama in the spring of 2009 but received no response.

In May 2009, The VRG received a call from Kathy at McDonald’s Illinois corporate office. She told us that the L-cysteine in McDonald’s cherry pie is derived “from an animal source.” When we inquired further regarding the specific animal source, Kathy told us that the supplier did not provide any more specification. Kathy also noted that supplier and ingredient information may change and that they guarantee no product as vegetarian.

As a follow-up, The VRG called the McDonald’s consumers line again and asked if the L-cysteine in the apple pie was also derived from “an animal source.” In November 2009, Michaela told us that the L-cysteine in the apple pie was from an animal source. When we asked for more specification, Josie, who works in menu development at McDonald’s corporate office, called us and said that the L-cysteine in the apple pie is from “an animal source but not human-derived.” When I asked for more specification (specifically, whether it was from duck feathers), she said that she had no other information and said that degree of specification is proprietary information.

Interested readers may refer to our article on L-cysteine available here: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2008issue1/2008_issue1_lcysteine.php Readers may subscribe to our free enewsletter at www.vrg.org for further updates on ingredients used at McDonald’s and all other major restaurant chains.


By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS


Subway has been a longtime favorite of some vegetarians because of the choices patrons have in customizing their own subs and salads. As the leading deli-style fast food chain in the United States, Subway continues to offer its Veggie Delite® subs and salads. According to Lanette Kovachi, MS, RD, the Corporate Dietitian at Subway, “[p]atrons can customize our Veggie Delite® offerings with any bread, vegetable, sauce or cheese that they want.” Of course, they can be ordered without cheese.

According to Subway, the Italian Bread, the Hearty Italian Bread, and the Sourdough Bread are free of animal ingredients. When the following ingredients appear in other Subway bread items, Subway patrons may be assured that they are not animal derived: amylase, mono- and diglycerides, and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate.

In a recent correspondence with The VRG regarding Subway’s Carb Conscious Wrap, Kovachi told us that “[a]s of March 2007, we will be using a new wrap that does not contain L-cysteine and does not contain animal derived ingredients.”

Kovachi noted that the Fat Free Sweet Onion Sauce is made without animal ingredients, although like Subway’s other sauces, it does contain sugar. This may be used as a dressing on salads as well as on subs.

She also told us that “most likely” the enzymes in all of their cheeses “…are microbial derived but our manufacturer states that there are some variables in the manufacturing process and cannot 100% guarantee this.”

Concerning the dessert items at Subway, Kovachi reports that the natural flavorings for the cookies are “plant derived unless specified as ‘butter flavoring.’ [T]hen it is derived from butter.” The mono- and diglycerides in the cookies offered at Subway are also non-animal-derived.

Subway cautions patrons who may suffer from allergies: “Due to the nature of how [our] cookies are displayed they may come in contact with …peanut or tree nut-containing cookies.”

Subway is a popular restaurant chain in Canada. Subway’s Guide to Canadian Product Ingredients is available on its website along with those of other countries. On the cover of these Guides, Subway states that the food ingredients listed are “currently the most commonly used…[although] formulas may vary from region to region. Subway adds that “[I]ngredients may vary from this list due to season, changes and formulas or use of alternate food suppliers.”

In the following chart, not all ingredients are named, but some which may be of particular interest to vegetarians. For more information on food ingredients, see http://www.vrg.org/catalog/fing.htm


Dairy/Egg Food Items: Italian Herbs & Cheese Bread (sugar, Monterey Jack cheese, milk, enzymes, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, butter-derived natural flavors, whey, skim milk solids); Monterey Cheddar Bread (sugar, Monterey Jack cheese, milk, enzymes, cheddar cheese); Parmesan/Oregano Bread (sugar, Parmesan cheese, enzymes, butter-derived natural flavors, whey); Pizza Crust (sugar, non-fat dry milk); Pizza Cheeses (milk, enzymes); Pizza Sauce (Romano cheese)

Food Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: Sourdough Bread

Food Items That Appear not to Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): Ciabatta Bread (enzyme, DATEM); Roasted Garlic Bread (sugar, natural flavor); Wrap, Hearty Italian Bread, and Italian (White) Bread (sugar)

Food Items That Appear not to Contain Animal Ingredients Other than Honey (with the possible exception of microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): Honey Oat Bread (honey, natural flavor); Wheat Bread (honey, sugar)

Sandwich/Salad Components Other Than Bread

Dairy/Egg Food Items: Egg Omelet (whole eggs, nonfat dry milk); American, Cheddar, Parmesan, Pepperjack, Provolone, Swiss cheeses and Monterey Cheese Blend (milk, enzymes); Chipotle Southwest Sauce (buttermilk, milk, sugar, egg yolks, polysorbate 60); Fat Free Honey Mustard (honey, egg yolks); Light Mayonnaise (egg yolks); Regular Mayonnaise (eggs, natural flavor); Croutons (sugar, natural butter flavor, natural flavors, whey, Romano cheese, milk, enzymes); Fat Free Italian Dressing (sugar, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, part-skim milk, enzymes, whey, buttermilk); Ranch Dressing (egg yolks, buttermilk, polysorbate 60, natural flavor, cream)

Food Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: cucumbers; green peppers; lettuce; olives; onions; tomatoes; Atkins Sweet as Honey Mustard Dressing (no honey)

Food Items That Appear not to Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): Banana peppers (natural flavors, polysorbate 80); jalapeno pepper slices (natural flavorings); pickles (natural flavors, polysorbate 80); Fat Free Sweet Onion Sauce (sugar); Yellow Mustard, Deli Brown Mustard (natural flavor); Red Wine Vinaigrette (sugar, Parmesan cheese, natural flavor, fining agent)


Food Items That Appear not to Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): Berry Lishus, Peach Pizazz, Pineapple Delight, and Sunrise Energizer (sugar, natural flavors)


Dairy/Egg Food Items: Chocolate Chip, White Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie (sugar, butter, eggs); Chocolate Chunk, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (sugar, eggs, whey); Double Chocolate Chip Cookie (sugar, butter, milk, eggs); M&M® Cookie (sugar, milk, lactose, eggs, whey); Peanut Butter Cookie (sugar, butter, lactose, whey, nonfat milk, sodium caseinate, buttermilk, eggs); Sugar Cookie (sugar, eggs, natural butter flavor, whey)

This information is not meant to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on company statements for product and ingredient information. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.


By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

Below is a summary of our September, 2007 report on McDonald’s menu items. Telephone conversations and email correspondence with McDonald’s staff members as well as website information serve as the basis of this report.

Readers should be aware that we have not listed all of the ingredients for each menu item. Those ingredients that are listed are those that vegetarians and/or vegans avoid, or may avoid, for various reasons.

We have made an effort to include ingredients that may be of questionable origin because they may be derived from different sources (e.g., animal, vegetable, microbial or synthetic sources). In some cases, restaurant chains inform us of specific ingredient origins and this information is contained in the entries.

If you are not familiar with a particular ingredient listed here, you may consult The VRG’s Guide to Food Ingredients for more information. The current edition is available for $6. Contact The VRG at (410) 366-8343 or via its website at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/fing.htm in order to purchase it. Look for updated entries in the VRG e-mail newsletter. Sign up at http://www.vrg.org.

Readers should remember that restaurants sometimes make changes to their formulations and may change suppliers. To be sure about the ingredients in a particular food, or a food preparation technique, concerned patrons should ask the restaurant manager, or contact the restaurant chain directly.

McDonald’s clearly states that it makes no claims whatsoever about its food items being vegetarian or vegan. The disclaimer on the McDonald’s website reads: “No products are certified as vegetarian; all products may contain trace amounts of ingredients derived from animals.” Stated in another way on its FAQ page, McDonald’s states that “McDonald’s does not represent any of our foods as being vegetarian. However, we gladly accommodate customer requests to custom-order items without meat (i.e., without beef, pork, chicken or fish). Note that even though we provide the flexibility to order items without meat, we cannot guarantee that during preparation the item does not come into contact with meat or poultry.”

Although McDonald’s has tested veggie burgers in the recent past, there are none that are currently offered in the U.S. McDonald’s states on its website that “[a]fter testing several types of veggie hamburgers in different parts of the country, we’ve chosen not to offer one on our national menu at this time. We’ll continue to look at these options and make decisions based on good business sense from a customer interest and sales perspective. Ultimately, however, it’s our customers who choose what’s on our menu. We’ll continue to offer those menu items that are most popular with a majority of our customers.”

When we inquired about certain menu items late last year, McDonald’s told us that it is possible to order just a bun with certain condiments. A customer service representative told us by email that “[B]ecause we are committed to serving our customers “what they want,’ feel free to request any of our sandwiches without the meat.” However, it is most likely not possible to order a customized salad (for example, without the bacon bits), since salad preparation occurs in the morning. Restaurant patrons are encouraged to inquire at particular McDonald’s restaurants if they wish to order a customized menu item.

After asking McDonald’s about specific ingredients in their menu items, we were told that the enzymes in its American and shredded Parmesan cheeses were animal-derived. McDonald’s also stated that the L-cysteine in the Honey Wheat Roll, the Deluxe Warm Cinnamon Roll, and the Baked Apple Pie were also animal-derived, specifically from duck feathers. (The cinnamon roll may now be off the menu.)

In July 2007, the writer noticed for the first time “kosher gelatin” listed as an ingredient in the yogurt of the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait served at McDonald’s. (Earlier in 2007, there was no gelatin listed in the yogurt.) I was told in late August 2007 by McDonald’s that the gelatin was “from an animal source.” I was also told that the natural flavors in the yogurt were animal-derived. By contrast, the Ingredients Listing published by McDonald’s on its website effective as of August 10, 2007, states that the natural flavors in the yogurt are derived from plant sources. Also, I was told that they serve one kind of yogurt, whether it is in the Fruit and Walnut Salad or whether it’s with the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait.  This makes sense from a supply point of view.Â

Concerning the microingredients that are currently vegetable-derived, McDonald’s emphasized that “…although we have confirmed these sources with our current suppliers’ formulas, we cannot guarantee that these ingredients will remain of vegetable sources in the future. Due to the nature of our business, we may bring on new suppliers, reformulate products, or our suppliers may change ingredient suppliers without notifying us of animal sourced ingredients. Although we want to provide our customers with as much information as possible … we cannot guarantee ingredient sources will not change over time.”

As of August, 2007, this is information about the food items offered at McDonald’s. Note that not all ingredients are listed for each menu item.

Breakfast Foods

Food Items That Appear To Be Vegetarian But Are Not: Hash brown (beef- and dairy-derived natural flavors); American cheese (animal rennet); Yogurt (gelatin; animal-derived natural flavors)

Dairy/Egg Food Items: Griddle cakes (buttermilk, whey); Hotcakes (eggs, whey, sugar); Margarine (whey); Scrambled Eggs; Biscuit (large and regular) (buttermilk, mono- and diglycerides, sugar)

Food Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: Hotcake syrup; Liquid margarine

Food Items That Appear Not To Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of certain unknown microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): English muffin (DATEM); Low Fat Granola (sugar, honey)


Food Items That Appear To Be Vegetarian But Are Not: French fries (beef- and dairy-derived natural flavors cooked in oil containing milk ingredients); Newman’s Own® Cobb Dressing, Creamy Caesar Dressing, and Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing (anchovies); Newman’s Own® Creamy Southwest Dressing (egg yolks, whey, sugar, animal-derived natural flavors); American cheese (animal rennet); Caesar salad without chicken (Parmesan cheese made with animal rennet); mayonnaise (animal-derived natural flavors, egg yolks); Premium Ranch Sauce (animal-derived natural flavors, buttermilk, egg yolks); Fruit and Walnut salad (yogurt, gelatin, animal-derived natural flavors, sugar, honey); Newman’s Own® Ranch Dressing (buttermilk, egg yolks, dairy- and animal-derived natural flavors)

Dairy/Egg Food Items: Big Mac® sauce (egg yolks); Swiss cheese, cheddar/jack cheese, blue cheese crumbles (vegetable-derived enzymes); Premium ranch sauce (buttermilk, egg yolks); tartar sauce (egg yolks); hot mustard sauce (egg yolks); spicy buffalo sauce (dairy-derived natural flavors); tangy honey mustard sauce (egg yolks); creamy ranch sauce (egg yolks, buttermilk, and whey); butter garlic croutons (whey, dairy-derived natural flavors, smoke flavor and enzymes of unknown sources)

Food Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: onions, ketchup, sweet ‘n sour sauce; Asian salad without chicken; apple slices, red grapes; Newman’s Own® Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette and Newman’s Own® Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing; Southwest Vegetable Blend

Food Items That Appear Not To Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of certain unknown microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): Big Mac® bun (sodium stearoyl lactylate); pickles (polysorbate 80); barbeque sauce, southwestern chipotle barbeque sauce (smoke flavor); regular bun, sesame seed bun (mono- and diglycerides, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzymes); Snack Wrap® tortilla (mono- and diglycerides, sugar); Chili Lime Tortilla Strips (sugar)

Please note that the honey wheat roll contains L-cysteine derived from duck feathers.


Dairy/Egg Food Items: Low-fat caramel dip (milk, butter); sundaes and the McFlurry® (milk, mono- and diglycerides); Hot Caramel, Hot Fudge Topping (milk, butter, sugar); mini M&M’S® candy (milk chocolate, sugar); Triple Thick® shakes (milk, cream, nonfat milk solids, mono- and diglycerides; possibly egg ingredients when Egg Nog shakes are available); Oreo® Cookie pieces on the McFlurry® (chocolate which may contain milk); McDonaldland® Chocolate Chip Cookies (whey, butter, eggs, dairy-derived natural flavors, chocolate which may contain milk); Chocolate Chip Cookie (butterfat, eggs); Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (whey, mono-and diglycerides, eggs); Reduced Fat Ice Cream (milk, mono- and diglycerides); Sugar Cookies (sugar, mono- and diglycerides, eggs); Cinnamon Melts (sugar, whey, mono- and diglycerides, eggs, cream cheese, nonfat dry milk, enzymes, sodium stearoyl lactylate)

Food Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: Apple dippers, peanuts

Food Items That appear Not To Contain Animal Ingredients (with the possible exception of certain questionable microingredients listed in parentheses after the item’s name): McDonaldland® Cookies (sugar)

Please note that the baked apple pie contains L-cysteine derived from duck feathers, but appears not to have major ingredients that are animal products.


Dairy/Egg Food Items: Lowfat milk, Lowfat chocolate milk (vitamin D3), coffee cream

Beverage Items That Appear To Contain No Animal Ingredients: Minute Maid® Apple Juice Box, orange juice

We often depend on company statements for product and ingredient information. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own. The contents of this publication or other VRG information, including our website, is not meant as personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.


by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
Research Director, The Vegetarian Resource Group

L-cysteine: In January 2007, Dunkin’ Donuts informed us by telephone that the source of the dough conditioner, L-cysteine, in many of their menu items including the bagels and many donuts, was “avian feathers.” We asked several other chains and learned that:

In May 2007, Burger King told us that they “cannot guarantee” the source of the L-cysteine in some of its products.

Pizza Hut told us in June 2007 that the L-cysteine in their garlic breads was “animal-derived.”

McDonald’s told us that the L-cysteine in the Honey Wheat Roll, the Deluxe Warm Cinnamon Roll, and the Baked Apple Pie was derived from duck feathers.

Subway told us that as of March 2007, they were taking L-cysteine out of their Carb Conscious Wrap.

Domino’s L-cysteine in its Hand-Tossed Crust, Breadsticks, the Cheesy Bread and the Cinna Stix is “not animal-derived.”

Rennet: A few cheeses in fast food items are still made with animal rennet although the majority is not. McDonald’s told us that animal rennet is an ingredient in its American and Parmesan cheeses. (What is rennet? See our Ingredients FAQ [ http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm#cheese ].)

Gelatin: McDonald’s published on its website, seen in June 2007, that “kosher gelatin” is an ingredient in its yogurt. Previously, no gelatin was listed in the ingredients statement for its yogurt. Taco Bell uses gelatin derived from beef in its sour cream, but the guacamole at Taco Bell is gelatin-free.

Carmine: Taco Bell lists carmine in its Lime Seasoned Red Strips and Red Strips. (What is carmine? See our Ingredients FAQ [ http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faqingredients.htm#carmine ].)



Pizza Hut told us that none of its cheeses contain animal rennet. The Thin ‘N Crispy® Dough, the Hand-Tossed Style Dough and the Stuffed Crust Dough are free of animal ingredients. The XL Full House® Dough and the 4ForAll® Dough contain sugar. Pizza Hut’s Regular Pizza Sauce and its Sweet Pizza Sauce are free of animal ingredients. The French Dressing is free of all animal products. Patrons at Pizza Hut can request the animal-free rotelli or spaghetti by itself or with the marinara sauce, also free of animal products. The PastaBakes® White Pasta Sauce contains chicken fat.


Taco Bell informed us that all of its cheeses are made with genetically-engineered chymosin (no animal rennet). It is possible to order items without sour cream. The beans and rice (both the Seasoned Rice and the Express Rice) are free of animal ingredients. They may be put on a taco or tortilla with lettuce and tomatoes. Taco Bell told us that “[a]ll of our menu items can be customized. When ordered ‘Fresco Style’ we’ll swap our freshly prepared Fiesta Salsa for any sauce or cheese.” (The Fiesta Salsa contains no animal products while many of the sauces contain egg and/or dairy ingredients. The Red Sauce, Mild Sauce, and Hot Sauce do not.) Taco Bell Quality Assurance told us that “[t]he enzymes used in the tortillas, flatbread, and Nacho Cheese Sauce are vegetable-based.” All of Taco Bell’s bread products, except the taco shells, the tostada shells, the tortillas, and the nacho chips, contain L-cysteine of an unspecified source. The flour tortilla contains the dough conditioners DATEM, mono – and diglycerides, and enzyme, all of unspecified sources. The Potato Bites are free of animal products and may be ordered without the cheese. Taco Bell does not use lard in any of its products. Patrons should note that the following items are fried in the same oil: Nacho Chips, Taco Salad Shell, Mexican Pizza Shell, Caramel Apple Empanada, Cinnamon Twists, Chalupa Shells, Potato Bites, and the Red Strips. The Caramel Apple Empanada contains dairy products.


Burger King declined to answer our questions about its menu items for this fast food report. In the Ingredient Statement on its United States website, Burger King reports that its French fries and onion rings are free of animal ingredients. In the United States, the fries are cooked in fryers designated for French fries only. The onion rings are fried along with meat products in shared fryers. In the United States, Burger King has a Veggie® Burger containing eggs and dairy on its National Menu. It is cooked in a microwave. In Canada, the BK Veggie® Burger is listed as being free of all animal products. Burger King restaurants in Canada also sell baked potatoes free of all animal products. Burger King makes no claim that its products meet the needs of a vegetarian or vegan diet.


Domino’s told us that the enzymes in its cheeses and in its pizza doughs are non-animal-derived. Domino’s Pizza Sauce remains free of all animal ingredients although it contains sugar. The Thin Crust Dough is free of all animal ingredients. The other pizza crusts contain dairy products. Domino’s did not tell us more information about the natural flavors listed in several of its products.


Subway offers a Veggie Delite® sub that patrons can customize to their liking. According to Subway’s nutrition staff, the Italian Bread, the Hearty Italian Bread, and the Sourdough Bread are free of animal ingredients. The chain couldn’t guarantee if all cheeses are free of animal rennet because of supplier changes. Selected Subways offer a dairy- and egg-containing Veggie Burger. Subway now lists apple sections and raisins on its National Menu that are free of animal-derived additives and which may be purchased separately or with a meal.


Selected Dunkin’ Donuts offer soy milk lattes. The Personal Cheese Pizza crust is made with whey and L-cysteine of an unspecified source. The Pizza Sauce contains cheeses made with enzymes of unspecified sources. Stores with Dunkin’ Deli® shops, (in a few states only at this time), offer a Vegetarian Sandwich that can be made to order. The flatbread contains L-cysteine of an unspecified source as well as nonfat dry milk. The white bread is made with DATEM and enzymes of unspecified sources. The Broccoli Cheese Soup contains chicken broth. The Timberline Chili with Beans contains beef.


Papa John’s added dairy-derived natural flavors to its Thin Crust Pizza Dough. The Original Pizza Dough and the Garlic Sauce are listed as free of all animal ingredients. The Original Pizza Sauce and the Pizza Sauce Dipping Cup contain sugar. The Robusto Pizza Sauce contains sugar and natural flavors of an unspecified source. The Pan Pizza Shells contain L-cysteine of an unspecified source. None of the cheeses contain animal rennet.

For more information on fast food ingredients, sign up for The Vegetarian Resource Group e-mail newsletter. Go to: [ http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/index.htm#subscribe ] Or visit [ http://www.vrg.org ] and click on e-mail newsletter. For additional information on food ingredients, also see [ http://www.vrg.org/catalog/fing.htm ]

Contact The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

We often depend on company statements for products and ingredient information. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Please practice kindness to all, including those with different views and opinions.

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