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Gross Ingredients in our food

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There are many gross ingredients in our food. Well, even a chicken breast is gross to eat. But here are 3 rather unusual and common animal ingredients in our food that we normally consume and may not be aware of.

Beaver what?

Where does the vanilla flavor and smell in Castoreum from Beaversome of the foods and fragrances come from? Castoreum may be your answer. Castoreum is basically a secretion obtained from the castor sac of beavers located in the butt of beavers that smells just like vanilla. EWWWW!  I hear you. How gross is that? And best of all foods containing this ingredient which can be ice creams and cookies are labeled “naturally flavored.”  After all, there is nothing artificial about beavers’ butts!

Beetle in my Juice?

Carmine is a red coloring agent derived from boiled cochineal bugs and is used incarminebugs2 ice creams, yogurts, juices and in cosmetics. It takes about 40,000 bugs to get one pound of carminic acid. Carmine appears on the labels as natural red 4! It is also used in some Starbucks drinks.

Is that hair in my bread?

L-cysteine is a dough softening agent; thereore part of many commercially prepared breads.

L-cysteine
L-cysteine from human hair

Best of all it is mostly derived from hair, in fact from human hair or animal feathers. Now that is really gross!

There are other forms of L-cysteine that are not hair based but they are more expensive to produce thus not as popular with many bakeries.

Always check labels and if in doubt ask about the source of L-cysteine.

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