For over a century, Oreos have been one of the most delicious and versatile cookies around. Whether you dip it in milk, use it as an ice cream topping, or put it in cheesecake, there really is no wrong way to eat an Oreo.

Based on the ingredients listed on the box you would also assume they’re a dream food for vegans. According to the packaging, Oreos contain: unbleached enriched flour, sugar, palm and/or canola oil, cocoa, high fructose corn syrup, leavening, corn starch, salt, soy lecithin, vanillin, and unsweetened chocolate.” No dairy! No butter! No eggs! Hooray, not a trace of animal products in sight!

So obviously Oreos are vegan, right? Well, not so fast. Because the FAQ page on the Oreo website begs to differ. When asked if the products are suitable for vegans, the site claims “Oreos have milk as cross-contact and therefore are not suitable for vegans.” Huh?

So what exactly does this explanation mean? Cross-contact essentially implies that tiny amounts of milk could have come into contact with the cookies or the equipment used to make them. Basically there’s no guarantee that the Oreo you’re about to eat contains traces of milk, but there is a slight possibility that it might.

So here’s the final verdict. If you’re a vegan and adhere to a strict diet free of animal products, you probably want to avoid Oreos just to be on the safe side. Or if you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can try making your own at home. These recipes courtesy Feasting on Fruit and the Minimalist Baker look like great alternatives to the Nabisco stalwart. Thank goodness the internet can come to the rescue and provide homemade options to satiate your cookie cravings. And even if you’re not vegan, you may want to try baking them too, as they’re sure to contain a lot less processed ingredients than anything store-bought.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is an Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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