Answer: potential vegan grey area …
We get asked frequently “is _____ vegan? It says in fine print, may contain … something not vegan. That makes it not vegan, right???” This is a very frequent question. This cross contamination usually happens for one reason: shared production equipment. Factory equipment isn’t cheap, and often times, companies or brands will share production space. This means a machine could be cranking out wheat pasta one minute and rice pasta the next. These packages would like contain the warning, “may contain wheat.” For individuals with celiacs, cross contamination is a definite issue. For vegans, I personally feel the issue isn’t as strict. Do I want to eat anything that isn’t vegan? No, hell no. Do I want to support smaller brands that have to share equipment? Yes, hell yes. By supporting these products, the brand can grow. Growing brands can buy their own equipment, … you see how that goes.
Products that share equipment will have a chance of containing minute amounts of non-vegan ingredients. Imagine a chocolate factory (like Green & Black Chocolates) that produces milk chocolate one day and dark chocolate the next. The same machinery is used so any possible remnants of the previous days milk chocolate supply may still be on the line. The first bar off the line would likely contain some milk products. But the ten thousandth bar off the line would, without a doubt be contaminant free.
For all those vegans who take a hardline on this, I firmly understand. I support and respect your choice to only eat products from 100% vegan companies. For everyone else, use your best judgment.