As hard as it is to believe, Minute Maid orange juice that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D is not vegan. When I first found this out myself, I was shocked. After all, how could orange juice not be vegan? Well, it turns out the problem lies in what the juice is fortified with: vitamin D. To be more specific, vitamin D3, which is not vegan.
Where D3 Comes From
The vitamin D supplement added to Minute Maid orange juice is called D3. D3 is actually cholecalciferol-D3 and it comes from lanolin – a waxy substance that is a by-product of farming wool. D3 should not be confused with D2 (ergocalciferol-D2), which is vegan. Minute Maid is not the only product that is fortified with vitamin D3; many breakfast cereals also contain vitamin D3.
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Other Minute Maid Juices
Minute Maid carries a huge assortment of juices – orange and otherwise — so there’s no need to assume all Minute Maid juices are not vegan. In fact, many of the orange juices made by Minute Maid do not contain vitamin D, and therefore are vegan. That being said, you still might want to take a look at the ingredients on their other juices just to be safe, especially their fruit punches or anything that looks like it might use dyes or artificial coloring. Carmine, for example, is a popular dye that is used for coloring in lots of beverages, goes by many names, and is not vegan.
Getting Enough Vitamin D as a Vegan
There’s actually no reason for vegans, or anyone else, to add vitamin D to their diet as long as they’re getting enough sunlight. Vitamin D comes from the Sun and is synthesized within our bodies through a process called biosynthesis. You only need to spend five to 30 minutes in sunlight, twice a week, to get all the vitamin D you need. Vitamin D supplements are only necessary for those who have very limited exposure to sunlight. If you are worried that you are not getting enough sun exposure and subsequently may be lacking vitamin D, vegan vitamin D supplements can be found online or in most health stores.