We think you have an idea of where we’re going with this. Food science can be cool and sometimes, it’s just plain disgusting. Today we’re focusing on the latter and looking at some of the nastiest ingredients in the food we eat.
When you hear the word ‘shellac’, odds are, you immediately think of a nicely done manicure. But we have some, uhm, news for you. Shellac is actually a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand. And you know where we have to go from here, you can find shellac in jelly beans, candy corn, and other candy that looks shiny with a candy coat on the outside. And when it comes to labels, odds are it’s listed under the ingredient “confectioner’s glaze”.
Beaver Anal Glands
We wish we were joking, but here we go. If you love ice cream and tend to gravitate toward vanilla and raspberry flavors, there’s a really good chance these flavors are being enhanced by an ingredient known as “castoreum”. Now, before we get to the ick part, the FDA has approved this product and it is categorized under natural flavors. So what exactly is castoreum? A mixture of anal secretions and urine from beavers.
Do you fancy yourself a brew every now and again? Well, you are also enjoying the heck out of fish bladders. That’s right, dried fish bladders, or isinglass as you’ll often see it listed, gives beer that golden glow we know and love. How often you see this ingredient listed on your brewski depends on what side of the pond you’re enjoying your beer on because isinglass is most common among British beers.
Not only is this ingredient also found in antifreeze, but it also has lubricating properties that are found in spice concentrates, as well as condoms. Not only is this ingredient totally safe, but if you need something mixed, and water isn’t really doing the trick, you can fully rely on propylene glycol. Where can you find this weird water alternative? In soda, salad dressing, and beer.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a bowl of Wendy’s chili, then you’ve also enjoyed an ingredient known as silicon dioxide, also known as sand.
Duck Feathers and Human Hair
There is an amino acid known as L-Cysteine and it’s used as a dough conditioner when mass-producing bread. And, you guessed it, it’s made of duck feathers or human hair. In case you were wondering, Mcdonald’s uses the duck feather kind for its apple pies and cinnamon rolls.