Are Swedish Fish Vegan?


Swedish Fish vegan

Since the 1950s, Swedish Fish is a well-liked chewy fish-shaped candy developed by a Swedish candy maker in the US. Colored initially red, they now come in numerous versions with various colors and flavors like lemon-lime and orange.

The question is, are they vegan? Nearly all Swedish Fish are 100% vegan. As of now, to add cohesion and shine to coatings, most only use carnauba wax as an edible film. Nevertheless, some are made with beeswax in addition to carnauba wax. But, these are far between plus few. It is that’s why recommended by to check the label before purchasing.

So far, only and the only beeswax has come across me, which is listed as an ingredient on the pegged bags. These are the bags with the tiny hole in the top center. They are found in gas stations and vending machines.

The fact is that they contain carnauba wax instead of beeswax.

Essential Ingredients (Vegan Edition)

As per the Smart Label, the current ingredients for Swedish Fish (assorted flavors) include:

    • Sugar
    • Invert sugar

 

    • Corn syrup

 

  • Modified food starch
  • Citric acid
  • White mineral oil
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Carnauba wax
  • Red 40
  • Yellows 5 and 6
  • Blue 1

Essential Ingredients (Non-Vegan Edition)

Ingredients include:

  • Sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Citric acid
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Carnauba wax
  • Red 40
  • Beeswax

It is to be noted that this version also contains palm oil, another ingredient that’s problematic at last for some vegans.

Why Swedish Fish Are Largely Considered Vegan

Swedish Fish Don’t Contain Gelatin or Egg Albumen

What is always off-limits to vegans is gelatin and egg albumen. These are among the few ingredients in PETA’s list of animal-derived ingredients.

Gummy candies such as Swedish Fish often are found in the category known as aerated candy.

Corn syrup is actually like a foundation for candies like jelly beans, marshmallows, and gumdrops. The candy can be charged in a few different ways like:

Physically via what’s known as pulling

Chemically via the addition of sodium bicarbonate

The use of foams for structure

Where egg albumen comes into play is the foam means of aeration.

Marshmallows are a remarkable example of candy often made with egg white on the side.

Aerated candy often takes up gelling agents such as gelatin.

Gelatin, the protein found abundantly in animals, is a translucent, flavorless, colorless food additive derived from collagen.

Industrially, gelatin is majorly made from animal by-products of the meat and leather industries. Most gelatin tends to be gained from pork skins, cattle hides, and the bones of cattle and pork.

The gummy texture can be further intensified by adding gelling agents like gelatin.

Providentially, many candies use other gelling agents like various starches, gums, and pectin, which are added to the sugar content. The gelling agents help in stabilizing the candy, binding the water, and adding elasticity.

Just like egg albumen, gelatin can also be used as an aerator to help attain a chewy texture.

So yeah, we can say that gelatin and egg albumen are both off-limits for vegans. Fortunately, neither are used in Swedish Fish.

Most Swedish Fish Contain Carnauba Wax Instead of Beeswax

According to PETA, beeswax is used in Swedish Fish from time to time.

I’ve rarely found any Swedish Fish to include the additive while I tackled up with the product. Contrary to this, it’s a dated ingredient that they’re phasing out.

Purified Beeswax is most commonly used in food production plus cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

For it to act as a glazing agent, it’s often used in small quantities, which prevents water loss and adds surface protection.

 

So this is what is known as an edible film. There are numerous edible films used in food production, some of which are vegan.

What non-vegan edible films include is beeswax, chitosan (shellfish), whey protein isolate, and casein.

Next, Vegan edible films include alginate (gum), zein (corn), and carnauba wax.12

It is seen that nowadays, Swedish Fish mostly make use of carnauba wax.

Carnauba wax, aka Brazil wax or palm wax, is an ingredient obtained from the leaves of the palm Coperniciaprunifera, a plant native to Brazil.

It’s thus said to be 100% vegan-friendly.

Swedish Fish Contain Red 40 Instead of Red 4

The food industry brings up several food coloring agents to rectify the visual appeal of food products. One of the popular food colorants is Red 4, the one derived from beetles.

Red 4 or carmine is a bright-red food coloring agent obtained from carminic acid, a compound found abundantly in certain types of beetles.

It gives the same color as Red 40 and shares a mutual name. This is the reason behind people getting confused between the two.

Red 40, aka Allura red, is one more popular red food colorant. Red 40 is an azo dye, a class of food coloring agents that are gained from petroleum. Surprisingly, it can even be acquired from strawberries.

So, it’s Red 40 that’s used in Swedish Fish; thus, it’s 100% vegan-friendly.

Blue 1 and Yellows 5 and 6 Are Vegan

Yellow 5 (tartrazine) and Yellow 6 (Sunset Yellow) are even azo dyes like Red 40, again being petroleum-derived.

Yellow 5 is a lemon-yellow color, firstly made from coal tar, but nowadays seems to be produced as a byproduct of the petroleum industry. Thus, it’s not obtained from animals and is suitable for vegans.

Yellow 6 is even petroleum-derived and, similar to Red 40, can be produced from strawberries.

Blue 1, aka Brilliant Blue FCF, is a synthetic food colorant utilized in food products, medicines, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

It’s bright blue, so it serves best for candy-like blue raspberry, etc.

It’s considered vegan, as it is chemically synthesized from non-animal-derived precursors

I think its enough, to sum up, Swedish Fish.

Thanks for reading

References

  1.  “A Brief History of Swedish Fish.” mentalfloss.com. http://mentalfloss.com/article/23125/brief-history-swedish-fish
  2. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 493). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  3. Swedish Fish-red-6g Piece-5 Oz Peg Bag-eahttps://www.foodservice-snacks-desserts.com/productsandbrands/OurBrands/SwedishFish/productpage?p=6367&brand=SwedishFish
  4. Swedish Fish Bags Original Soft & Chewy Assorted Candy. https://smartlabel.mondelezinternational.com/70462098662#
  5. Animal-derived Ingredients Resource | Living. https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/
  6. Alexander RJ. Sweeteners: Nutritive. Eagan Press, 1998.
  7. “Natural Health Products Ingredients Database: Hydrolyzed Collagen.” Government of Canada, Health Canada, Health Products and Food Branch, Natural Health Products Directorate. 12 June 2013.
  8. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 519). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011
  9. Pszczola DE. Ingredient developments for confections. Food Technology 51(9):70, 1997.
  10. Which Candies Are Vegan? https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/which-candies-are-vegan/
  11. Buonocore GG, A Conte, and MA Del Nobile. Use of the mathematical model to describe the barrier properties of edible films. Journal of Food Science 70(2): E142–E147, 2005.
  12. Perez-Gago MB, M Serra, M Alonso, M Mateos, and MA del Rio. Effect of whey protein- and hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose-based edible composite coatings on the color change of fresh apples. Postharvest Biology and Technology 36(1):77–85, 2005.
  13. Steinle, J. Vernon (September 1936). “Carnauba wax: an expedition to its source.” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 28 (9): 1004–1008.
  14. Bug-Based Food Dye Should Be Exterminated, Says CSPI. https://cspinet.org/news/bug-based-food-dye-should-be-exterminated-says-cspi-20060501
  15. Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
  16. Committee on Food Chemicals Codex (2003). Food chemicals codex (5th ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press. ISBN 9780309088664.
  17. Diet and Nutrition: The Artificial Food Dye Blues. Carol Potera. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Oct; 118(10): A428. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945/
  18. “FD&C Blue 1 (Brilliant Blue)”. International Association of Color Manufacturers.
  19. El Ali, Bassam M.; Bassam El Ali; Ali, Mohammad Farahat (2005). Handbook of industrial chemistry: organic chemicals. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-141037-3.

 

 

 

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