by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
In July 2010, a regulatory compliance analyst from a private industry recently asked us to look into Vance’s DariFree Milk, touted on its website as “vegan friendly.” She noticed that it contained vitamin D3, which is most often derived from lanolin (sheep’s wool).
We spoke with the Director of Marketing at Vance’s Foods several times about its source of vitamin D3 in order to achieve greater clarity on this issue. Initially, The VRG was told that the vitamin D3 in Vance’s DariFree Milk “was not derived from sheep’s wool; was not from lanolin.” It was stated that the source of the vitamin D3 was “synthetic.”
The VRG further inquired about the meaning of the word “synthetic” and was told that it was “synthetic due to the chemical reaction it undergoes during processing.” The VRG asked about the nature of these chemical reactions. It was later clarified by the Director of Marketing at Vance’s Foods that lanolin was the starting material of the vitamin D3 in the DariFree Milk.
After this acknowledgment, Vance’s presented us with this statement from the supplier of their vitamin D3. It reads: “only carriers of plant or synthetic origin are present in the D3 formulation.” The VRG again inquired about this statement in light of the previous statement that lanolin, which is neither of plant or synthetic origin, was the starting material of the vitamin D3 in the DariFree Milk.
In part, the statement received from Vance’s Director of Marketing in early September 2010 read: “the vitamin D3 used in DariFree is made synthetically through chemical processes, rather than derived directly from plants or other materials. This process begins with a by-product created when cleaning sheep’s wool; however, there is no animal or wool in the vitamin D3…We appreciate the many Vegans and Vegetarians that enjoy and promote DariFree. However, Vance’s Foods does not get involved or take sides with the many different philosophies/lifestyles of Veganism and Vegetarianism.”