Are Oreos Vegan? Let’s Find Out…

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When you go vegan, a lot of candy that you might have eaten before becomes off-limits.

A lot of people online, particularly new vegans, happily exclaim: “Oreos are vegan!”

But I’d have to disagree.

First off, there are over 180 oreo products:

oreo products

Most have similar ingredients, and they’re just variations of the same main products.

In this post we’ll look at the main types:

  • Classic oreos
  • Oreo thins
  • Golden oreos

Keep in mind that they may have different ingredients based on country. In this post I’ll be going off the ingredients listed on Oreo’s official site.

I assume those are for the U.S. The ingredients in the ones in Canada that I see are a bit different, but still have the same non-vegan ingredient.

Are Classic Oreos Vegan?

oreo classic cookies

Here’s the full ingredient list for your standard oreo, straight from its product page:

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), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

All of those appear to be plant-based.

If your definition of veganism is just to avoid animal products, then you’d consider oreos vegan. That’s what happens online in discussion forums, mainly said by newer vegans.

But most people who’ve been vegan for a longer period don’t consider palm oil to be vegan.

Their definition of veganism, and mine, is more along the lines of not consuming anything that caused more animal harm than necessary.

And palm oil does not pass that definition.

I’d encourage to read my full post about why palm oil isn’t vegan.

In short:

  • Palm oil plantations have numerous human right violations.
  • Tigers are driven off their land and have reached endangered numbers.
  • Orangutans are beaten, killed, and burned alive while clearing new land for palm trees (where the oil comes from).

Even the “sustainable” and “ethical” palm oil labels mean absolutely nothing, and the proof is in the article I linked just above.

Verdict: No, Classic Oreos are not vegan because they contain palm oil.

Are Golden Oreos Vegan?

Next up are the popular golden oreos.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

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, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NATURAL FLAVOR.

Slightly different order, but mostly the same ingredients.

Again, there’s palm oil in it, which just isn’t vegan to most vegans.

Verdict: No, Golden Oreos are not vegan because they contain palm oil.

Are Oreo Thin Cookies Vegan?

Not surprisingly, Oreo thin cookies have almost the same ingredient list as classic oreos.

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, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, BAKING SODA, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

You probably see a pattern, there’s palm oil in just about every oreo product.

Verdict: No, Oreo Thin Cookies are not vegan because they contain palm oil.

Summary

I’m sure you were wondering about Oreos because you were hopeful and maybe heard good things about them.

And I’m sorry to disappoint.

But unless there’s no palm oil in the oreos in your country, it seems like there is no Oreo product that is actually vegan.

I will reiterate that this view on palm oil is a bit subjective and controversial in the vegan community. However, if you went vegan to stop hurting animals with your dietary choices, I think it’s clear that palm oil (at least any time soon) is not vegan friendly.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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