The first time my daughter told someone she didn't want a cookie with sprinkles on
it because it had bugs, I could see that the adult didn't take her seriously. In fact, they laughed. Over the years she has told others and sometimes people have even inquired to find out more and have learned that this youngster knew what she was talking about.
Confectioners glaze, if you are not familiar with it, is not a vegetarian ingredient. Yet it is found in many seemingly vegetarian products, especially in cookies and candies. They are found in sprinkles, fancy decorating sugars, and even in many candy coatings.
Problem is, confectioners glaze is just a fancy term for what is really a bug product. It is the same type of product as shellac, which is a bug product, but confectioners glaze is a food grade version. It is also used to coat many pills, as a glaze some baked goods, and has various other uses.
With Easter just around the corner it is important to keep this ingredient in mind since it is not vegetarian and found in so many candies. Even some jelly beans that do not contain the usual offending gelatin (made from animal bones, hooves and tendons), sometimes still contain confectioners glaze, making them non-vegetarian and non-vegan.
The good news is that your kids can still have their sweets and avoid eating bugs (found in the confectioners glaze). Most health food stores, online vegan stores, and places like Whole Foods Market sell vegetarian/vegan sprinkles, decorating sugars and even vegan jelly beans. We buy the vegan versions of these things and my kids love it. And my vegetarian kids have no problem turning down something that contains confectioners glaze, because they understand that it is insects.
I searched around to find what I thought was a good article describing what confectioners glaze is so you can learn more. There are many out on the Internet, but the one I liked the best is put out by the Vegan Society. You can read it here.