You probably know that a number of non-food items end up in your everyday meals. It’s just part of the American lifestyle. We glance other that nebulous listing of “natural and artificial flavors” on our meals and don’t give our food’s origins a second thought. If you’re prepared to be thoroughly disgusted, read on to discover the most disgusting food ingredients found in your every-day meals.
Listed among the other “natural and artificial flavors” in food, castoreum is an extract of a beaver’s anal glands. If you try to imagine the taste of beaver-butt, you’re likely envision a number of different odd flavors. But, apparently, beaver-butt tastes remarkably like raspberry. In fact, it’s the most common “natural flavor” used in raspberry cakes and candies. Yum.
2. Hydrolyzed Protein
“Hydrolyzed”is a polite word for “predigested.” The meat/soy/other protein is soaked in a large vat of synthetic stomach acid. This, supposedly, makes it easier to digest. It’s also a way to load a product with MSG without having to put MSG on the ingredient list. Unfortunately, hydrolyzed protein is popular even in health foods because of its scientifically unfounded reputation for easier digestion.
You know that nasty, greasy, weird-smelling stuff that breastfeeding moms smear on their breasts? That’s ylanolin, which is the excretions collected off the skin of a sheep. It’s in your chewing gum, listed as “gum base,” and can actually cause allergic reactions in people with wool allergies. Lanolin may also be a concern for vegans, who may unknowingly be chewing non-vegan gum.
4. Rodent Hairs and Insect Parts
Boxed macaroni and cheese may contain up to one dessicated insect per gram, or one rodent hair per 50 grams. One hundred grams of peanut butter can contain fifty insect parts. Labeled as “natural contaminants,” these icky bits are allowed in almost every food sold in the U.S. Although inevitable, it’s disgusting to think about the number of animal-parts that you end up eating every single day.
5. Mechanically Separated Chicken
Mechanically separated chicken is a goopy, toothpaste-like slop made out of spare chicken parts. It looks like the Barbie toothpaste your sister used to use when she was four. If you eat potted meat, conventional hotdogs, sausage, bologna or certain fast-food meats, you may be eating this nasty concoction on a regular basis.
Rennet is used in cheesemaking, and many vegetarians eat rennet-cheeses without realizing that it renders a product non-vegetarian. Rennet should correctly be listed as “goat stomach.” It is an extract from the inner linings of a calf, sheep or goat’s stomach. Although it can help to give cheese a good, homogenized texture, it is both gross and misleading as a food ingredient.