It takes about 70,000 of the little creatures to produce one pound of red dye
Have you ever really considered what ingredients go into the food you eat?
A lot of people are unaware of the different ways everyday food is created, and by what ingredients.
Although listed on the back of packaging, various ingredients could be carefully worded to cover up what they actually mean.
They could in fact be code for something we wouldn’t necessarily choose to eat!
DESIblitz brings you the top 10 most disgusting ingredients in your food.
1. Fish Bladder
It’s doubtful many people would knowingly eat food containing fish bladder.
However, a simple round of beers could actually contain this!
Isinglass, which is a gelatine-like substance, is produced in the swim bladder of a fish.
This substance is added to cask beers and Guinness. The idea behind it is to help remove any ‘haziness’ from the final product.
It supposedly removes any yeast residue or solid particles, yet, there’s a high possibility you could end up with fish bladder in your pint glass!
Fish bladder also gives some beers their golden-yellow colour.
Not only is this ingredient rather gruesome, it is quite worrying for unknowing vegetarians or vegans.
2. Silicone Breast Implant Filler
Breast implants in our food?
Unfortunately, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are the reason for this entry to the list.
Of course, no one expects McNuggets to be the healthiest food you can eat, but no one can really call them 100 per cent true chicken either.
The reality of this is that only about 50 per cent of the nuggets are made from actual chicken, whereas the rest comprises of synthetic ingredients.
Dimethylpolysiloxane is a chemical used in silicone, which is famously used to create breast implant filler.
3. Duck Feathers and Human Hair
Human hair and duck feathers are not the most common ingredients you would find in food.
Yet, strangely, these ingredients have a tendency to creep into our ingredient lists.
The hair and feathers are cooked down into an amino acid, which are building blocks for your body and very good for your health.
Yet, not all amino acids are created equal. L-Cysteine, which is an amino acid used to prolong shelf-life in products, is created from duck and chicken feathers, human hair, and even cow horns.
Fast food are prime suspects for this, such as Burger King and unfortunately, McDonalds again, who use L-Cysteine as an additive.
However, it would be most likely to find this amino acid in commercial bagged bread.
Viruses in food is certainly an intriguing concept.
Whilst viruses make the human body unwell, bacteriophages (tiny bacteria-killing viruses) are put into our food by instead, making the bacteria sick.
In 2006, viruses were approved to use on food to contaminate germs, not humans.
These viruses are usually found in ready-to-eat meat and deli products – ones that are sold in sealed plastic pouches.
These pouches are specifically high with risk of catching bacteria and infecting the food, so these little viruses are in fact doing us a favour.
However, if you’re still not sold on the idea of eating viruses for your dinner, check the back of the packaging for ‘bacteriophage preparation’ and steer clear.
The reality of eating foods containing sawdust certainly leaves an unpleasant image.
However, ground up pieces of wood are being used by manufacturers inside shredded cheese.
As we sprinkle grated cheese on top of our food, we are really sprinkling pieces of sawdust too.
The reason for the addition of this unsavoury ingredient is to stop the shreds from sticking together.
If you want to avoid this odd addition, check the ingredient list on the back of products for the term, cellulose.
6. Calf Stomach
Once again, cheese is the culprit here for yet another disgusting ingredient.
Calf stomach is claimed to be used in cheese.
When the stomachs are processed, they are called ‘rennet‘, and they are used to help turn milk into cheese.
This means that cheese is not suitable for vegetarians.
Shellac is known by women as a type of nail varnish you can apply which allows your nails to have a shiny glossy hard set to them.
However, shellac actually comes from a sticky substance from the secretions of an insect native to Thailand, named the Kerria Lacca.
While it might be bearable on our nails, how well does it sit with us being in our food?
Shellac is known to be used in shiny treats such as jelly beans, candy corn or any other hard-coated candy, which gives it its shiny look.
It could be labelled as a ‘confectioner’s glaze’ on the packaging, which is a brilliant way to avoid writing ‘sticky secretions from an insect’ that could scare off customers.
8. Castoreum (Beaver anal glands and urine)
Castoreum is derived from the castor sacs of male and female beavers.
In other words, beaver anal glands and urine are derived in this substance and used in certain foods.
If you’re eating vanilla, strawberry or raspberry ice-cream, it is possible that you could be in fact eating a beaver’s anal and urine secretions.
Yet, this odd ingredient is an FDA-approved food additive, and will be written as ‘natural flavouring’.
Interestingly, it is more commonly found in perfume than in foods.
There is a chance we could be experiencing eating antibiotics within our meat.
Livestock are given antibiotics, which make them grow bigger and faster, inevitably making them more lucrative, when it comes to selling them on.
However, the problem is that using antibiotics so much in livestock could result in a problem of antibiotic resistance, leading to bacteria in livestock facilities.
So, next time you’re eating beef, perhaps be aware of the antibiotics could be in your meat.
10. Beetle Shells
Red food colouring, also known as carmine, can be made from boiling female cochineal insect shells in ammonia.
It takes about 70,000 of the little creatures to produce one pound of dye.
You may have experienced this first hand if you’re a fan of Starbucks, who were reprimanded in 2012 for using the additive in their frappuccinos.
However, if the thought of eating bugs makes you nauseous, there are alternatives to the dye you can use, such as Red #2 and Red #40, which are made from petroleum products.
It is surprising to see how many unpleasant ingredients can end up in the food we eat on a daily basis.
If you are not too keen on some of the ingredients mentioned above, remember to closely read the packaging the next time you got to the supermarket.