Q :

Are starburst vegan?

A :

If you’re from the UK, then yes Starburst are vegan. If however, you’re from the US, then no as they contain Gelatin. You can read more about Gelatin & the other ingredients below.

Are starburst vegan?

Further information

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is an animal protein, made by boiling tendons, ligaments and other body parts in water.

It’s used in food products to thicken or solidify them during the manufacturing process.

What else is in Starburst?

It turns out that , beyond gelatin, there are further differences between the UK and US candies.

You can find the full list of ingredients below:

UK

  • Glucose Syrup, 
  • Sugar, 
  • Palm Fat, 
  • Concentrated Fruit Juices
  • Acid Citric Acid, 
  • Modified Starch, 
  • Acid Malic Acid, 
  • Dextrin, 
  • Flavourings, 
  • Maltodextrin, 
  • Antioxidant Ascorbic Acid, 
  • Emulsifier Lecithin, 
  • Colours Anthocyanins 
  • Beta-Carotene, 
  • Spirulina Extract

US

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Hydrogenated palm kernel oil and/or palm oil
  • Concentrated Fruit Juices
  • Citric acid
  • Dextrin
  • Gelatin
  • Food starch-modified
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1)

While Gelatin is the only animal product in either list, there is more to the story.

You should watch out for colouring too

The colouring used in Starburst is not derived from animal products. However many of them are, or have been, tested on animals such as mice, rats and even dogs.

Unfortunately the tests are often cruel and in a lot of cases fatal to the animal:

Beagle dogs were fed Brilliant Blue FCF in the diet for periods up to 1 year to determine the maximum amount of chemical one could ingest before it caused death

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1853.htm

Just so you know, Brilliant Blue FCF is also known as Blue 1. An ingredient used in US Staburst.

You can find out which colours are used in animal testing, what animals they are tested on and what the tests consist of using this brilliant resource.

Other varieties

You should know that Mars produces multiple varieties of starburst, as listed below:

  • Starburst gummies
  • Starburst minis originals
  • Startburst minis sours
  • Startburst FAVEREDS – according to the ingredients list, the US version does not actually contain gelatin (see below before celebrating though!)
  • Starburst Sweet heat
  • Starburst Gummies

You can get a full list of starburst varieties on Mars’ website. What’s interesting is that you can filter the products so that only vegetarian varieties are listed.

Guess what? Absolutely none of the varieties are listed as vegetarian, let alone vegan.

Whats more, as mentioned previously the FAVEREDs apparently do not contain Gelatin which makes me wonder if the candies are produced in such a way that they come in contact with animal products.

What About Palm Oil?

Palm oil does not contain any animal products. So technically it is considered vegan.

However, Palm oil is known to be a major contributor to deforestation. And as such indirectly causes harm to animals (via loss of habitat and in some cases direct conflict with humanity).

This makes it a controversial subject, with some choosing to avoid it and others choosing to consume it.

Avoiding palm oil

Unfortunately, palm oil is a far-reaching product, known to be found in wide range of everyday products.

This makes it difficult to avoid the product altogether but you can take steps to reduce your usage.

Where possible simply opt for alternatives & be sure to check the label before buying unfamiliar products.

What about sugar, is that vegan?

This depends on your definition of veganism and how strict you wish to be as it is known that refined sugar often contains bone-char.

The problem we have is that it’s not possible to know whether a product uses refined sugar or not. If you choose to avoid every product with sugar, then you’ll probably struggle to fill your basket the supermarket each week.

Top-tip: It’s worth noting that organic sugar does not contain bone-char, so always choose organic over other products when they use sugar as ingredient.