Lecithin was first identified in egg yolks in 1846, according to the IFAC. This fatty substance occurs naturally in soybeans, corn, sunflower, and other plants, but it’s also found in animal tissue, such as organ meats. The most common variety is soybean lecithin, but there are some concerns regarding its allergenic potential. A safer alternative is sunflower lecithin, which can be used in vegan butter, chocolate, baked goods, and other products, explains Food & Beverage Insider.
Soy, corn, and sunflower lecithin are vegan-friendly, but some food products contain egg yolk lecithin. Additionally, plant-based lecithin may be processed in facilities that also handle eggs, bovine gelatin, and other animal ingredients. Common beauty products like facial creams, foundation, lipstick, mascara, shampoos, and tanning oils may contain this ingredient, too — and sometimes, manufacturers use egg yolk lecithin, according to the Environmental Working Group.
The best thing you can do is check the nutrition label and ingredient list when trying new foods or beauty products. Make sure the label says “100% vegan” or something similar. Ideally, choose products with The Vegan Trademark, which ensures they contain no animal ingredients.