Are Corn Pops Vegan? In-Depth Analysis

Planning to buy a box of good ol’ Corn Pops but don’t know if they’re vegan? Well, you’re in the right place, as we cover all sorts of products to find out if they’re still suitable for a vegan diet. 

Corn Pops are not vegan. Unfortunately, they contain vitamin D3, an ingredient that is typically extracted from lanolin, a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Let me also point out that Corn Pops also contain gray-area ingredients like sugar, which isn’t always vegan.

If you want a clear explanation on why Corn Pops are not vegan, I will cover all of the aforementioned ingredients in this guide, so that by the end of this article you can make better informed decisions when moving forward.

As a bonus, I’ll also provide you with a few vegan alternatives to Corn Pops. 

Corn Pops Ingredients [Analyzed]

The first step into figuring out whether Corn Pops vegan is to check its full ingredient list. I’ve bolded the ingredients that most vegans find problematic, and I’ll proceed with an explanation of why that is.

Corn Pops Ingredients: Milled corn, sugar, corn syrup, contains 2% or less of molasses, salt, vegetable oil (hydrogenated coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) for freshness, annatto extract color, wheat starch, reduced iron, niacinamide, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamin hydrochloride), folic acid, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12.

*List of ingredients taken from Amazon.

Corn Pops contains vitamin D3, which is not vegan, regardless of how you try to spin it, and it also contains sugar, which may not be vegan depending on how it’s been processed. 

Let’s talk about both ingredients in more detail.

Vitamin D3 Is Synthesized From Lanolin

Some vegans argue that because vitamin D3 is only added to a product in tiny amounts, you shouldn’t automatically dismiss it as being non-vegan.

However, that doesn’t change that fact that lanolin is an animal ingredient. The lanolin industry relies directly on mass-produced wool, an industry that treats sheep horribly. 

lanolin

Even though sheep can live up to 17 years, most mass-farmed sheep are slaughtered before they reach six years old, with the majority of them being lambs. Sheep are transported long distances (sometimes more than 10 hours) for slaughter, and can suffer heatstroke, heart attacks, dehydration, and stress-related conditions along the way.

They’re also commonly struck with an electric current before being slaughtered, and occasionally, they regain consciousness only to see their throats being slit and their bodies bleeding to death.

Let me also mention that a few weeks after birth, their ears are punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated without anesthetic. 

When it comes to the production of wool and lanolin, merino sheep are the breed that suffers the most, as they are specifically bred to have wrinkly skin in order to produce more wool.

This can lead to conditions like heat exhaustion that may result in death. Some wrinkles also collect urine that attract flies that lay their eggs in the folds of the skin – which upon hatching – begin to feed on the sheep.

To prevent this infection called “fly strike” from spreading, the sheep are mulesed, a method in which wool farmers cut chunks of skin and flesh without the use of anesthetics, promoting even more suffering.

This is the reality sheep must endure just so that we can extract their wool for coats and lanolin. 

Finally, even though vitamin D3 is only used in tiny amounts, it’s important to point out that we produce billions upon billions of cereals each year, so the lanolin adds up.  

Sugar Is Sometimes Processed With Bone Char

This was something I’ve discovered a few years after I became vegan. 

It turns out that some products contain sugar that has been processed with a property called bone char, which is a porous, black, granular material produced by charring animal bones. 

According to PETA, the bones usually come from farmers in Afghanistan, Argentina, India, and Pakistan that sell them to traders in Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil who then re-sell them to sugar suppliers in the United States. 

Bone char is used as a decolorizing agent, and it’s what gives sugar its desirable white color. 

bone char

Unfortunately, big brands often obtain their sugar from different suppliers, making it impossible to know whether it has been filtered with bone char. For instance, brands like Oreos and Ghirardelli are examples of brands that get sugar from multiple suppliers, making it difficult to know whether their products are vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Corn Pops

Here is a short but sweet list of vegan cereals:

Brands: Controversial Ingredients:
Kashi Go Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal Cane sugar
One Degree Rice Cacao Crisps None
Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Crunch Cereal Cane sugar
Organic Weetabix Whole Grain Cereal None

These products do not contain vitamin D3, or any other animal ingredient.

Two of them contain sugar – a gray-area ingredient – but I don’t believe they should be avoided based on that fact alone. However, the decision is up to you. 

FAQs

Do Corn Pops Contain Dairy?

Corn Pops don’t contain milk, lactose, or any other dairy-derived ingredient. They also don’t seem to have any traces of dairy, which means it’s not processed in a facility that handles dairy. This is good news if you have a milk allergy, or you’re lactose-intolerant. 

Do Corn Pops Have Gluten?

Unfortunately, Corn Pops contain wheat. Therefore, if you’re allergic to gluten, you cannot consume Corn Pops. The Corn Chex Cereal by General Mills do not contain gluten, so they’re a possibility. However, keep in mind that they also contain vitamin D3. 

Do Corn Pops Have Honey?

No, Corn Pops do not contain honey. However, Kellogs also sells a brand of cereals called Honey Smacks that use the same unique foil-lined bag used for Corn Pops. 

Conclusion

Corn Pops are not suitable for vegans. Unfortunately, because the vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin, I can’t go ahead and state that they’re vegan. I’m aware that the vitamin D3 is available in very small doses, but I don’t believe that is enough reason to call a product vegan. 

However, I do understand that some vegans may be okay with consuming vitamin D3, or other gray-area ingredients that other vegans might choose to avoid. 

In the end, it’s up to you whether you choose to eat Corn Pops.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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