Many foods can make you think when you realize that the ingredients are not good for you. And then there are those items that you hesitate to eat, not because of health reasons, but because the thought of how they’re made is downright gritty. For example, gelatin has a bad reputation because it comes from animal bones, and some ground meats unfortunately contain the “pink slime”. Read on to discover other foods that you may regret learning about.
Chocolate may contain insect fragments
For 100 grams of chocolate, the FDA allows up to 60 insect fragments and one rodent hair. This means that your chocolate bar could be loaded with tiny insect fragments that you will never know about. It may seem unlikely, but the FDA contains tons of foods that contain insect fragments, such as tomato products and macaroni.
As Chocolate is made from beans that grow in pods on trees. Therefore, throughout the manufacturing process, there are bound to be bugs in the beans. But don’t worry, they’re harmless.
Certain red food coloring is made from beetles.
There is something about the color red that is very appetizing. In other words, until you hear it’s made of bugs. The dye is called Natural Red 4, Carmine or E120 and is found in various foods and lipsticks.
It is made from the mealy bug and the process has been around for hundreds of years. As disgusting as it may sound, this red dye is actually much healthier than some coal or petroleum derivatives. Yet Starbucks introduced the carmine dye because it so panicked customers.
Some of the buns contain the same ingredient that is used in yoga mats.
Some breads, especially fast food breads, contain the chemical azodicarbonamide. The FDA states that the purpose of the substance was to bleach the flour and condition the dough. The problem is that it’s the same material with which they make yoga mats and rubber shoes.
When a customer discovered that Subway was using the “yoga mat chemical” in its sandwich breads, he asked the company to ban the ingredient. Subway responded by promising to eliminate azodicarbonamide.
Next, a food that used to be made from a plant before this scary substance entered the scene.
Marshmallows often contain gelatin of bone origin.
Have you ever wondered what’s in a marshmallow? You will be surprised to learn that sugar and corn syrup were once made from the marshmallow plant.
Those days are over thanks to a little thing called gelatin. A rumour has been spread that the dubious ingredient comes from animal hooves. On the bright side, this is not true. The negative side is that gelatin is actually made from animal skins and bones, specifically collagen.
Some red meats contain carbon monoxide
When you think of carbon monoxide, the first thing that probably comes to mind is air quality, not meat. Ultimately, the chemical is useful for food manufacturers in that it gives the product a bright red appearance.
The good news is that there is so little of it that it won’t make you sick. The bad news is that the discolouration can make it difficult to tell if the meat has gone bad or not. Some countries have banned the practice for this reason.
Jell-O is full of dubious ingredients
If you have a strong craving for jello, it’s worth being specific about the brand you choose. One of the most popular is Jell-O, but it is riddled with dubious ingredients. On the one hand, it contains gelatine, a product made from animal collagen.
It also contains Blue 1 and Red 40, two food dyes that have been linked to cancer when consumed in large quantities. To top it all off, Jell-O contains adipic acid, disodium phosphate and fumaric acid, which according to the FDA can be dangerous if ingested too much.
Worcestershire sauce is made from fermented fish
Worcestershire sauce has been a popular condiment since its release in the early 1800s. But have you ever looked at the ingredients? If so, you may have noticed that an essential element of the sauce is anchovies.
However, they don’t just mix the fish together and call it a day. Anchovies ferment in vinegar for over a year! Rumour has it that Lea and Perrins forgot the sauce accidentally in the cellar for months, and that’s how they discovered the fermented creation.
Cheap meats are glued together
There is nothing like a juicy steak, but it is important to recognize that not everyone is created the same way. Literally, some are not made like others. Cheaper cuts are often molded from various pieces of meat glued together.
The glue is a substance called transglutaminase, or “meat glue”. The FDA considers the substance GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Although the binding agent is not a concern, some people may feel uncomfortable not knowing what parts of an animal they are actually eating.
Jelly beans are coated with insect secretions.
Jelly candies are essentially small pockets of wax filled with sugar and starch. But there is another component that gives the candy pieces their noticeable shine: insect secretions. More precisely, it is a substance called shellac.
When a knee bug drinks the sap from trees, it releases a resin that can be collected from the tree by the makers.
Some grated cheeses contain wood pulp.
When it comes to grated or shredded cheeses, it takes a lot of elbow grease to make them yourself with a block of cheese. But before you go for a container of Parmesan cheese, you may want to know how they keep those tiny bits from sticking together.
The answer is cellulose, a plant fibre usually derived from wood pulp. Although not digestible, cellulose is an important fibre that can make things happen. The issue is that many companies don’t add it to their labels.
Ground meat is packaged with a filler called “pink slime”.
Ground beef is really a strange concept. And when you add the fact that up to 15% of it is something called “pink vase”, it starts to seem unbelievable that we even eat this stuff.
The pink slime is made up of meat trimmings that have been finely cut and the fat removed. It doesn’t sound too bad until you hear that the load is cleaned with ammonia! Given its nickname, we have the feeling that this is not a pleasant sight either.
Most orange juices are made with secret flavor packs.
Before congratulating yourself for catching 100% orange juice that isn’t made from concentrate, you might want to research the flavor packs. In short, orange juice companies often flavor their beverages with orange by-products.
Due to depletion of orange flavor after manifactueres remove the oxygen from the orange juice, it is necessary to use these packs so; your drink keeps its flavor for a long time. Some people disagree with these flavor packs because the FDA does not require them to be specified on the label, even though they do not exist in nature.
Sliced bread is preserved with a chemical extracted from hair.
Despite the widespread emergence of gluten-free diets, bread remains a staple food in many households. Have you ever wondered how this bread stays mould-free on your counter for so long? The answer is a small chemical called L-cysteine.
You may recognize the name L-cysteine because it is an amino acid found in many mammals, including humans. So how do they extract this chemical? By dissolving haircuts, pig hair, duck feathers and more in acid! This may be harmless, but it is disturbing.
The orange peels are tinted with a possible carcinogen.
Next time you order something old-fashioned, you might want to hold the orange peel. While it is true that orange peels are rich in vitamins, they may also contain Citrus Red 2, which is a group 2B carcinogen. This is an elegant way of saying that it is “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
The possibility is dangerous enough that the FDA only allows its use to dye the skin of oranges. Some states, including California and Arizona, have outright banned Citrus Red 2.
Some of the meat is injected with expensive salt water.
If you look closely at meat labels, you will notice that some say “enhanced” or “cured”. This means that the raw meat has been injected with a salt water solution to make it last longer and taste better.
The problem is that the price of meat is usually calculated based on weight, which can increase by up to 30% due to the “plumping” process alone! To top it all off, salted water adds a ton of sodium to your diet that you may not even realize you are consuming.
Ranch is sometimes made with titanium dioxide.
Ranch is one of the most popular bandages on the market, but it has a dirty little secret. To make their ranch as white as possible, many brands use titanium dioxide. Do you know what other products get their white tint from titanium dioxide? Sunscreen.
The chemical is considered a “possible carcinogen”, so the FDA has very strict rules about how much manufacturers can put in it. Some ranch brands avoid the ingredient altogether, so it is definitely worth looking into.
Castoreum vanilla substitute comes from beaver bottoms.
Castoreum has been used for centuries as a perfume, medicine and aroma. More recently, it was a popular vanilla substitute, until people began to understand where it came from. The substance is collected at the base of beaver tails.
That is, right next to their buttocks. It comes out of bags inside the beaver and is secreted to allow the animal to mark its territory. As the scent has sweet and fruity notes, it gives a natural aroma. The good news is that beaver is rarely used nowadays.
Remember the Worcestershire sauce and how it is prepared with fermented anchovies? The Caesar dressing goes even further. It contains both Worcestershire sauce AND anchovies in its ingredient list.
To top it all off, it also contains mayonnaise! Although none of the ingredients are harmful and mix in one way or another to create an amazing product, imagining the preparation is not a pleasant thought. We congratulate those who had the courage to make a homemade Caesar dressing and eat it right afterwards.