6 Gross Ingredients in Your Food

The secretion from a sac near the anus of beavers isn’t the only strange ingredient commonly found in processed foods.


A new (and disgusting) Food Beast report reveals that Cadbury Creme Eggs contain a substance from the castor sacs of beavers, which are located near the beaver’s tail. The secretions are found in an artificial sweetener called castoreum, listed as “natural flavoring” in the popular treats. Do a little more research and you’ll find that this “natural flavoring” is also found in ice cream, gelatin, pudding, alcohol, and baked goods.

While the discovery is rather disturbing, it’s only one of several bizarre ingredients found in food, some of which we consume daily.

1. Cochineal beetles

In 2012, some Starbucks patrons were enraged to learn the chain was using cochineal beetles in strawberry-flavored drinks like the Strawberry Frappuccino. The crushed-up beetles create a red dye effect. The chain declared it would stop using the beetles in its products. However, according to WildFlavors.com, cochineal extract can be found in meat, sausage, red marinades, jams, gelatin desserts, juices, noncarbonated soft drinks, icings, toppings, fruit preparations, confections, and dairy products.

2. Sawdust

Ever wonder how that bag of shredded cheese is magically able to avoid clumping? You can thank sawdust for that. Many brands of prepackaged, shredded cheese use cellulose to prevent the shreds of cheese from sticking together, according to Care2.com. Cellulose is also used in meat products, ice cream, and spice and powdered-drink mixes.

3. Sodium bisulfite

A combination of sulfur dioxide and sodium carbonate, sodium bisulfite remains a topic of concern. It has been known to cause allergic reactions and, in rare cases, death. While it has been banned from use in fruits and vegetables that are intended for raw consumption, it’s found in wine, potato chips, other potato products, and dried fruits.

4. Isinglass

Similar to the way cochineal beetles give red coloring to common food items, isinglass, otherwise known as dried fish bladder, is used to create the golden color of beer. According to Care2.com, it’s not necessary; yeast separates from the actual beer within a few days to create the color. Isinglass speeds up the process, though.

5. Ammonium sulfate

Fact: Ammonium sulfate is a chemical fertilizer. Fact: It’s also used in many chain restaurant sandwich breads. It feeds yeast in the baking process, says TruTV.com.

6. Propylene glycerol

Also noted on TruTV.com, propylene glycerol, commonly used in antifreeze and sex lubricants, is found in prepackaged salads. That’s how they’re able to look and stay so fresh. It’s also used in food colorings and cake mixes.

Stacy Johnson

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