Check out these 7 gross ingredients lurking in your food. From fish bladders in your beer to maggots in your tomato sauce, you'll be shocked when you discover what you’re really eating!
1. Scary scoop
It’s a knickerbocker nightmare. A tall glass filled with layers of vanilla and strawberry or raspberry ice cream, topped with syrup, nuts, whipped cream and a shiny maraschino cherry. But you may want to think twice before tucking in. That ice cream may contain the anal secretions of a beaver. In the wild, beavers use these secretions to mark their territory. In your ice cream, it’s used to enhance the sweet flavour. Oh, and it’s in some perfumes as well!
2 Bottoms up!
That’s fish bottoms, to be precise. Brewing beers and stouts can be a tricky business. Residual yeast and other ingredients can cause the beer to go cloudy. That’s where the fish bladders come in. They contain a substance called Isinglass. It’s added to the brew and removes any cloudiness or haziness from your pint. Which gives new meaning to the phrase ‘drink like a fish’. But if you thought drinking fish bladders was bad, spare a thought for our ancestors. In the 16th century, fish bladders were used as condoms. And in China, fish bladder is today considered a delicacy. The first step in the cooking process is to give the bladder a good squeeze to get rid of any…well, you get the idea.
Fruit flies like ketchup so much, they lay their eggs in it. In the USA, food standards agencies have come to accept this as fact. And so, they allow a maximum of 15 fruit fly eggs per 100g of ketchup. Something to think about next time you empty a bottle all over your chips. But if you like the idea of eating flies’ eggs, you might want to try Casu Marzu. When this Italian cheese is first made, it’s rock hard. Then, a hole is cut in the top of it. The flies come and lay their eggs in the cheese. And the excretions from the larvae start to ferment the cheese, softening it and turning it into a local delicacy.
4. Best breast
Chicken nuggets are held together by something called dimenthylopolysiloxane. In plain English, that’s silicone. And yes, it’s the same silicone used in breast implants. And in silly putty. Silicone is very strong and can hold its own under immense pressure and extreme temperatures. So it’s also used as sealant in the construction of space ships. Makes the humble nugget seem out of this world!
5. What’s your poison?
Your particular poison might be a vodka and Coke, or a Campari and orange. But if your poison is a clear, crisp white wine, then it quite literally is poison. The poison arsenic is used to filter the white wine, giving it that clear, crisp colour. And traces of the poison have been found in the wine even after the filtering stage. Arsenic has no flavour or smell, but it can kill you by causing your organs to shut down. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, smelling like garlic, sweating loads, your hair falling out and your fingernails going black. But you’d have to drink a hell of a lot of white wine before this happened.
6. Hairy loaf
Hair sandwiches don’t sound very appealing. But they exist. And you’ve probably had one. The bread you buy in a supermarket contains an additive called L-Cysteine. This additive prolongs the loaf’s shelf life. And it comes from hair. Human hair. It’s said that most of this hair is collected from hairdressing salons in China. Swept off the floor and turned into pre-sliced, commercial bread.
7. Like chewing an old tyre
Chewing gum has been around since Ancient Greek times originally made from the resin of trees. Today most companies use synthetic gum which allow for longer-lasting flavour, the ingredients approved to be in chewing gum are styrene-butadiene rubber, this is the same rubber that makes car tyres. Also included are these unsavoury petrochemicals – isobutylene, isoprene copolymer, paraffin wax, and petroleum wax.
Will these gross ingredients put you off tucking into your favourite foods in future? Let us know in the comments below…