Let’s face it, most of us don’t really ask questions about what is actually in the food and products we use. Come to think of it, maybe that’s a good thing. You see, when you’re a company who estimate products for millions- or even billions- of customers, sometimes adding strange and unconventional ingredients, it’s a way to cut costs or save time. Ahead we’ll show you some food and clothing items that are made from some rather ‘interesting’ things. We’ll also dispel one massive myth involving a rather popular consumer product. It all might make you second guess your purchase the next time you’re out shopping.
10. Hot dogs
They say that ignorance is bliss. We think this really is the case for millions of people who love to eat hot dogs. So deep down inside, we know that hotdogs aren’t good for us. They are loaded with preservatives and chemicals which shouldn’t really be put in the human bod, but they taste so good, and no holiday or summer barbecue is complete without them-right?
Well, you may change your tune when you find out that no hot dog is complete without animal intestines. Yup, those shiny an elastic casing have to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with intestines either, the joke with hot dogs has always been that they were made with the leftovers of the animals- from the lips of the butts. Unfortunately, they left out the Snouts in that description. That’s right, a good chunk of that delicious Frankfurter is actually made up of pig snouts, don’t think you can get away from those little pink noses by switching all-beef hot dogs either. You’re likely just swapping out the noses of one animal for another in this instance, yum!
9. Red food
Have you ever tried a fancy drink or milkshake that is red or pink in color? Probably, you see from that Starbucks drink to the cherry ice cream you just picked up at the grocery store, the color comes in a variety of dyes which can be either both man-made or “natural”. Why the quotes around the word “natural”? well, a few years ago there was a big backlash against food dyes, because they were causing kids to have allergic reactions or go bonkers with hyperactivity. Companies responded by cutting back on the synthetic dyes and re- labeling others as “natural”.
Now, before you start feeling all warm and fuzzy thinking your food dye is coming from a plant or bean, think again. In the case of red foods, one of the popular sources of red dye is actually a bug. Ever seen ‘natural red 4’, ‘carmine’ or “cochineal extract” that list of ingredients? those terms refer to the dye extract from the cochineals bug. Harvested in Peru and the Canary Islands, the cochineals are dried, crushed up and soaked in a mixture that gives us this bright red color for our food, fun fact; one pounds of red dye requires 70000 bugs to produce.
8. Potato chips
When you want something that tastes delicious and has that appealing crunch factor, you likely reach for a bag of potato chips. In fact, what better to go with your pig-snout hotdog than a heaping pile of golden deep-fried Crisps? Ok, so we know that you likely understand that potato chips aren’t the healthiest food to eat, but aside from being high in carbs and fat, there isn’t really much else that is bad in them, right? Unfortunately, many brands of chips contain a chemical which may just make you think twice the next time you think to buy them.
Sodium bisulfite is a compound commonly found anti-fungal products and facial cleansers; it’s also found in potato chips. It turns out this additive is pretty good at preventing bacteria growth and has the added benefit of stopping those potato chips from discoloration. Don’t worry though, the FDA says it’s safe to eat -in very small amounts- that said, it is a bit concerning that they also prohibit its use with meat or any raw vegetables and fruits. Officially, they say it’s because of the way it can react with those goods, which isn’t really reassuring to us at all.
7. Canada goose
Let’s switch gears for just a minute to show you a non-food product that a lot of people of turned off of because of how it’s made. When the weather gets a bit chilly or that blizzard decides to move in, then it’s time to put on that warm winter jacket. The big trend in winter wear of the last several years has definitely been the Canada goose jacket, you see them everywhere and the who’s who of Hollywood had even jumped on the bandwagon of this immensely popular company.
However, if you’re strongly into issues related to ethical animal treatment and rights, then you may want to stay away from this product once you see what goes into it. It turns out that fuzzy liner around the hood is actually coyote fur. Canada goose has publicly stated the fur is collected humanely from trapped animals, animal rights groups, like Peta, argue that the coyotes are trapped and suffer greatly before being put down by a gunshot to the head, while the decision regarding fur is totally up to you, we hear the richest are just happy these coats are 100% pig-snout free.
6. Processed bread and pies
We all know that anything labeled as ‘processed’ is not good for you, that’s why many of us work extra hard to get those natural and organic items at the store. Sometimes, however, we either get the urge to buy that processed item or we simply can’t avoid buying it. From the bread at the grocery store to those deep-fried apple and cherry pies at our favorite fast food joint, there’s some stuff in there that’s a bit worrying.
Take L-cysteine as a perfect example, if it sounds like something mom never used her baking that’s because she didn’t. L-cysteine is known as a dough conditioner, its purpose is to soften commercial doses so machines can better manipulate it into things like cookies, bread and pies. While, that doesn’t sound too bad at first, one major source of L-cysteine is actually human hair. Ok, once you’ve cleaned the bread chunks of your phone’s screen or keyboard let us explain, in places like China, the major source of this ingredient comes from hair sold by women, in North America, things are a bit less disturbing as L-cysteine is usually either synthetic or derived from the feathers of ducks. Bon appetite!
5. Red Bull
Alright, so we just spent the last few minutes of ruining some of your favorite foods and products. Let’s take a very brief break from that to actually put a more positive spin on a different product. When it comes to energy drinks, you don’t get much bigger than or as universally known as Red Bull, their distinct grey and blue cans and logo can be found pretty much everywhere. If you followed the news then you know there were, at one time, major concerns over the amount of caffeine in these drinks. That was later supplemented with the rumor that Red Bull’s secret energy boosting ingredients came from bull semen. Some people saw one of the ingredients was taurine, whose Latin root means ” bull”, they then put this information together with the fact that Red Bull gives you energy and concluded the drink source of power is from bull semen. Just don’t be too quick to toss the rest of that Red Bull, you see, the taurine in Red Bull is synthetic and not taken from any animal. It’s especially not taken from any Indian bison which is the animal actually displayed on every Red Bull product.
4. Mac and cheese
It’s creamy, delicious and probably one of the easiest things to make on the planet. If you ever lived on your own or headed off to college, there’s a very good chance of more than a few boxes of this stuff sustained you through the week. Of course, we’re talking about macaroni and cheese, this product made famous by companies like Kraft, has faced growing criticism over the years, and in large part, that’s down to food coloring. Look at the ingredients and you’ll likely see tartrazine and sunset yellow as ingredients, you may better know these dyes by the names, yellow 5 and yellow 6. They’re actually derived from coal tar and petroleum which doesn’t sound very tasty at all.
In fact, there’s been a lot of debate about these two yellow dyes and several nations around the world have even banned their use in food. Various claims and studies have shown that yellow 5 and 6 might just be linked to some nasty side effects. These include hypersensitivity, food allergies and ADHD, like symptoms in children. As an added bonus, these dyes are also carcinogenic, which shouldn’t surprise anyone, given they come from coal and oil.
3. Ground beef
It’s used in everything from hamburger patties the tacos, where would most of us be without ground beef? you wouldn’t have those awesome homemade hamburgers in the summer, and that hamburger helper wouldn’t have anything to help. For meat eaters, there is not much better than sinking your teeth into a delicious meal with ground beef. You can really taste beefy goodness, highlighted by the added pink slime, yeah that’s right, it turns out that a lot of manufacturers add a little something special to their ground beef before shipping it out to the consumer.
You see, while producing ground beef, there’s a lot of leftover fat that still has tiny bits of meat attached. To get this, manufacturers melt down the fat and run it all through a centrifuge, the resulting pink slime is treated with ammonia and then added to the ground beef to beef things up a bit.
When this story broke a few years ago, companies like McDonald’s, Wegman’s, Wendy’s and Safeway stated they would no longer use beef with pink slime. As far as the other restaurants and stores go, you’ll probably have to ask for yourself to find out.
2. Gummy bears
By this point you’re probably thinking “oh no”, what is he going to say about my beloved gummy bears? Relax, there are probably no pig snouts in these tasty little guys, we say probably, because we really can’t be 100% sure. Gummy bears, and indeed many gummy treats, originated in Germany in the 1920s. Since then, many other companies across the world have entered the market, and make other varieties, from regular bears to the sour variety. They’re chewy, colorful and fun to eat, they’re also something many of us associate with our childhood.
However, if that package has gelatin as an ingredient then, we can be sure something with a face went into that candy. The gelatin that most of gummy manufacturers use, relies on the collagen that comes from the skin, bone and connective tissue found in animals, since we’ve already had hotdogs taken from us, we’ll just hope there isn’t any collagen in snouts. However, if it makes you feel any better, we do know that no bears are involved in the making of this treat.
1. Nearly everything
I was not really sure how to end this one off, so let’s do it with a bang. If you like ice cream, pudding, chewing gum, baked goods, alcoholic beverages, candy, or anything with vanilla or raspberry flavor then, listen up. A close look at the label on most associated products will often include something about “natural flavors” you probably think you’re home free because anything natural is alright to eat. In this case, “natural flavors” is code for an additive called castoreum. Do you want to know where it comes from? Well, those of you with any foreign language expertise will know “castor” means beaver. In this case, castoreum is a secretion that comes from glands located near the anus of a beaver. In nature, this is used to mark territory, in your supermarket, it’s used to flavor food. You can’t make this stuff up, but you can apparently get FDA approval to add it to pretty much everything people love to eat. If you’re grossed out by this then, the only reliable way to avoid beaver gland juice in your food, is to stay away from processed foods and eat things that have real flavoring.
While you’re finishing this article, why not leave a comment in the comment section below about which foods you love to eat, even though you know it it’s something really bad or gross in it.