Pick up any item in a grocery store, look at the ingredients label, and there’s a good chance “xanthan gum” will be on there. But what exactly is xanthan gum, and is it vegan? Xnathan gum is a byproduct of fermentation, and it is typically derived from plant sources or made synthetically in a lab; however, sometimes it is derived from milk.
Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of source products that are themselves common allergens, such as corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. As such, persons with known sensitivities or allergies to food products are advised to avoid foods including generic xanthan gum or first determine the source for the xanthan gum before consuming the food.
Playing It Safe
If the only questionable ingredient in a product you’re considering purchasing is xanthan gum, check the package for a “contains milk” allergy warning on the ingredients label. That being said, if you really want to be 100 percent certain about the origin of the xanthan gum, you should contact the manufacturer to find out its source.
If you need xanthan gum for your own purposes, then you have full control over where it comes from, and can purchase a brand that is known to be vegan, like Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum.