I have been looking for probiotics in vegan foods and I have found couple of references (1, 2) saying that although soy milk contains some probiotics naturally, these are added to it as well.

I would like to know whether the probiotics that are added to soy milk are of vegan origin and are not extracted for example from yogurt or any other dairy product.

  • There are a couple of studies where they produce the Probiotic Soy Milk (PSM) using a bacteria and look for its effects, you can take a look here: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530662, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26261453 the first one is in rats and the second in humans. I don't know if commercial PSM is produced in the same way.
    – S -
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 21:20
  • Thank you for the links @A.A but I was wondering whether the probiotics that are added to the soy milk, not the ones that occur naturally in it, are from vegan sources. Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 21:22
  • In the studies they use two different kinds of soy milk, one with probiotics and one without them. I assumed that the one with them had them "added" somehow. As I said I don't know if it is the same process as the one used for commercial soy milk.
    – S -
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


I wrote to The Vegan Society for reliable information on this subject, and they told me:

Probiotic cultures are made in a number of different ways – the best thing to do is to contact the manufacturer and ask them how it is produced. Many of them are produced using dairy as a source, so these would not be suitable for vegans.

When I was in China I bought soya milk from the supermarket, and I was unable to read the labels, so I asked a Chinese friend to check the ingredients for me, and he said that some of the soya milks contained dairy.

I noticed a few years ago that M&S were selling a soya milk that contained vitamin D3, presumably from lanolin. I believe the product was labelled "dairy free" and "suitable for vegetarians" but I assume it was not vegan.

These products are not necessarily manufactured with vegans in mind, so we cannot assume that any added probiotics they contain are vegan. To be sure, you would need to ask the manufacturer about their process, as I was advised.

If the product is labelled vegan, you can be more confident, but you still need to trust whoever is applying that label. Personally, I tend to accept that a product is vegan if it says it is, but I have heard a few stories of mis-labelled items. The Vegan Society Trademark is a strong guarantee:

Any product which has our Vegan Trademark has been confirmed to contain no animal ingredients, to not have been manufactured using animal ingredients and not to be tested on animals.

Here's the full list of standards for the Vegan Society Trademark

  • Oh, gee. If I was living in china I would probably not steer to far from 100% fruits and vegetables. It's hard enough to read labels in a language you understand!
    – ecc
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 8:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.