There are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who want to know exactly what’s going in their food and those who will literally cover their ears just so they don’t hear you explain what’s in that sausage they’re about to eat. My mother does that. You should see her...it’s quite entertaining to watch as she tries to stop any of her children from ruining her preservative-loaded meal. Anyway, if you want to keep enjoying certain foods in your life, then you might want to leave now, because once you learn the real ingredients in some of your favorite foods, it will be hard to go back.
Let's start with a classic. It's hard to find someone who doesn't like vanilla, and that's why so many desserts have this sweet ingredient added to them. What most people don't know is that vanilla flavoring is sometimes "enhanced" by castoreum. Sounds like castor sugar, but sadly, there's nothing sweet about it. Castoreum is actually "a mixture of the anal secretions and urine of beavers." Apparently, their poop smells good because this same ingredient is often used in perfumes, too. The worst thing is that you won't see "castoreum" written on the back of your candy bar. This ingredient is filed down under "natural flavoring" and well, we can't argue that it isn't natural.
Camping trips wouldn't be the same without marshmallows, would they? This candy looks so innocent, so what disgusting ingredient could be lurking behind its perfectly white color? It's gelatin, which sounds harmless, right? But gelatin is made by boiling the bones of animals, and that kind of ruins the whole image of this simple, sugary treat.
Now let's tackle the apple pie. Specifically, McDonald's cinnamon-rich apple pie. Its crust isn't soft and flakey because the fast food chain has the gods of pastry working at the dough. Rather, it's because they use L-Cysteine. This is an amino acid "used in dough conditioners, which softens mass-produced breads. It is made from human hair or duck feathers." McDonald's opts for the duck feather version for their apple pie. Yum.
For many, shredded cheese is like a gift in a bag, a little bit of edible luxury, since you don't have to waste time shredding a block of cheese before you indulge. But before you congratulate yourself on the privileged life you're living, you should know that shredded cheese comes with an added ingredient — wood pulp. This surprising ingredient is filed under the name "cellulose," and is added to keep the cheese from clumping.
Much like shredded cheese, canned mushrooms also feel like a luxury. I mean, who has time to wash those things anyway? Well, I'm guessing you're about to start. You see, the FDA allows "up to 19 maggots and 74 mites in a 3.5-ounce can of mushrooms." Yeah, I'll let you think about that one for a second.
Now, who would ever think there could be anything wrong with jelly beans? Look at the colors! Those are happy colors, so these things should be good, no? No. You know that shell jelly beans have? It's made of shellac, which is basically formed from bug secretions.
It's safe to say that once opened, a bag of potato chips is bound to get eaten in no time, so it really doesn't have a long shelf-life in most houses. However, chips do need a long shelf-life in general so they can make it to the stores and still stay fresh and crunchy. Thanks to sodium bisulfite, this is possible. The thing is, this ingredient is also used in cleaning agents for toilets.
We always think we're doing such a great job by buying minced meat instead of prepacked sausages and other fast food. But even ground beef is not safe from disgusting ingredients. Suppliers have been known to use pink slime to add volume to the beef and reduce the cost of the meat. Even worse, pink slime is still considered meat, so you won't see a note on the back of the package telling you there's pink slime. It's always best to ask your butcher to grind the meat right in front of you.
It's not like chocolatiers are purposely adding rat hairs to your favorite chocolate bars. Having said this, the FDA does allow up to "one rat hair per 100g in six 100-gram subsamples of chocolate." Chocolate has never sounded so appealing.
You know how some foods are just too red? Like, unnaturally red, as if they've been through an Instagram filter or something. Well, usually, such foods are made with a red food coloring known as cochineal dye. The latter is made from none other than crushed bugs. Who knew there were so many bugs in your food?
At some point in your life, you must have been told that you look like a sheep because of the way you chew your gum. Well, that's because gum is made out of sheep. Specifically, it's made "from the skin glands of sheep" known as lanolin. That's what makes gum so chewy. Huh.
You'll notice that when you buy bread from a local baker, it goes stale in less than 24 hours. When you buy packaged bread, however, it can stay soft for up to a week, sometimes even more. This is because an additive known as L-cysteine is used to keep the bread soft. This is the same one used in the McDonald's apple pie, but in this case, the amino acid comes from human hair, which is plain old disgusting. If I want a hair in my sandwich, I can just go to my grandma's house and get hair in my bread for free.
Here's a quick lesson on fat-free milk. When the fat is removed from the milk, the liquid turns blue. Now, no one has ever seen blue milk before and the FDA thought it would be hard for people to accept blue milk in their household and in their cereal bowls. So, the FDA has allowed companies to add titanium dioxide so the milk can keep its white color. So no, you're not drinking fat but you are drinking metal.
And finally, we have cheese. This will only be brutal if you're a strict vegetarian. If you've been eating cheese that contains rennet in it, then brace yourself. This ingredient is extracted from the stomach of nursing lambs, goats, and cows. Worse, these creatures have to be killed for this ingredient to be extracted. So, um... happy eating?