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The commonly accepted definition of the term vegetarianism means to abstain from consumption of flesh food (red meat, poultry, seafood and the meat of any other animal), but allows the use of eggs, milk, and its products. Vegetarianism may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter.

Types of vegetarian diets include:

  • Ovo-vegetarian: Diet consists of plant foods plus eggs but not dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovovegetarian: Diet consists of plant foods, dairy products, and eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Diet consists of plant foods plus some or all dairy products but not eggs.
  • Semi-vegetarian or partial vegetarian: Diet consists of plant foods and may include chicken or fish, dairy products, and eggs. It does not include red meat.
  • Vegan: Diet consists of only plant-based foods and excludes all animal products including eggs, dairy, beeswax and honey. Some vegans or strict vegans may also avoid animal products such as leather for clothing, goose-fat for shoe polish or feathers or down used for insulation and padding of products like jackets, bedding, sleeping bags and pillows.


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Did You Know?
Various packaged or processed foods, including cake, cookies, chocolate and marshmallows, often contain unfamiliar animal ingredients, and may be a special concern for vegetarians due to the likelihood of such additions.

Often, products are scrutinized by vegetarians for animal-derived ingredients prior to purchase or consumption. Vegetarians vary in their feelings regarding these ingredients, however.

For example, while some vegetarians may be unaware of animal-derived rennet's role in the usual production of cheese and may therefore unknowingly consume the product, other vegetarians may not be bothered by its consumption.

The results of a 2009 International survey suggest the standard definition of vegetarianism is different in different nations. Vegetarians in some nations consume more animal products than those in others.
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