You Might Have Eaten Beaver Anal Glands-or Worse!

Some ingredients used in food that companies don't talk about.

Whether it’s on a hot summer Monday or a heartbroken gloomy Sunday, who doesn’t love themselves a good, creamy scoop of ice-cream? Chances are, you won’t after having read this article- and you will second guess more than just ice cream.

Apparently companies use non-vegan ingredients in food to enhance anything from color and taste to chewiness and get away with it most of the time because they are categorized as “natural” ingredients by the FDA.

Here are some of these ingredients that companies rarely about:

1) Beaver Anal Glands in Ice Cream

Beaver Anal Glands in Ice Cream
Dried up beaver castor sacs

Apparently the goo secreted by a beaver’s castor sacs- which are uncomfortably close to its anal glands- is so fragrant that it has been used to substitute vanilla, raspberry and strawberry in foods like ice-cream, gum, soft candy and frozen dairy for almost 80 years!

Technically called Castoreum, this chemical compound is used by animals to mark their territory. However, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves it as “natural flavoring”, the chances of you consuming food in which it is used are slim. It is primarily used for fragrances, and a little less than 300 pounds is produced every year which means this amount is stretched thin throughout the market. Having said that, you can still find them online if you really want them.

Beaver Anal Glands in Ice Cream

2) Fish Bladder in Beer

Fish Bladder in Beer
Fresh swim bladder from a small fish

There is a high chance that you will find Isinglass– a gelatin made using the swim bladder of fish- in your beer. Used since the 19th century, this odorless added extra is popular among brewers as a fining agent that makes beer appear bright and clear.

Apart from it being disgusting, it is also said to take away a lot of the flavor from the beer, despite which some brewers use it because they take pride in clear beer.

Fish Bladder in Beer
                                                            Beer-maker with dried isinglass

3) Bugs as Food Coloring

Ever flinched at videos of people eating creepy-crawlies? Well, bad news for you, bud. You might have eaten them too- just check the labels on the packages of colored food for carmine, carminic acid or cochineal extract. Turns out much of the red food coloring we use is made of crushed bugs. To do this, manufacturers dry and grind them into a powder that turns a bright red when mixed with water.

4) Sheep Secretion in Chewing Gum

Would you still love gum when it’s no longer yum and eatable? Oh, not giving gum up, huh? Wait till we tell you that it contains lanolin- an oily secretion found in sheep wool. So, basically sheep sweat. Lanolin is also used in skincare products for its skin softening qualities. It is also likely that these sheep have been dipped in insecticides, which accumulate in fat tissue and could affect the breast milk of new mothers.

Sheep Secretion in Chewing Gum

5) Human Hair in Bread

We’ve all had to pull a strand or two from our food before, but not like this. An amino acid called L-cysteine is used as an additive in the baking of bread to prolong shelf-life, and its source is human hair and duck feathers which means our entire bread technically has hair and feathers all over it. Yuck!

Human Hair in Bread

6) Animal Connective Tissue in Gelatin

Animal Connective Tissue in Gelatin

Gelatin is a water-soluble protein substance found in animal connective tissues such as bones, cartilage, skin and tendon. It is basically boiled down animal connective tissue. Used in desserts, trifles, gummy bears and fruit snacks, it is most likely made of pigskin today.

Animal Connective Tissue in Gelatin

So, Happy eating!


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