Mystery Meat: 7 of the Scariest Ingredients in Processed Food
We all know that processed foods generally contain a jumble of unpronounceable ingredients, but what purpose do these ingredients serve, exactly, and where do they come from? We did some investigating and found that most of these 17-letter mystery substances (azodicarbonamide, butylated hydroxytoluene, propylene glycol alginate, and the like) are used to give packaged foods certain characteristics of texture, flavor, color and durability - to be fluffier, foamier, softer, crunchier, creamier, tangier, less crumbly, more jelly-like, easier to melt, and of course, longer-lasting. On its own, this may not sound very spooky. But dig a little deeper and you'll find that some of these ingredients are also used to make fireworks, fuel cells, and anti-freeze; others come from sources as bizarre as human hair, animal bones and beaver butts. Yep, beaver butts. The purpose of this post isn't to freak you out: While consuming these ingredients regularly in large amounts isn't a good idea, eating them occasionally in all likelihood won't hurt you. What we're really trying to do here is illustrate how removed so many of us have become from the sources of our own sustenance - how little we really know about how packaged food is made, and in turn, what the true value is of eating simple, whole foods grown close to home. Without further delay, the 7 scariest ingredients in processed foods. - By Jeanne Nolan and Amanda Little
We might as well start with beaver butts. The food additive castoreum, which is used to boost flavor in raspberry candies, vanilla cupcakes, strawberry ice cream and other flavored confections, is actually a beaver secretion. A secretion released from the beaver's anal gland. Straight truth. To make things even more bizarre, the FDA has approved this additive as a source of "natural flavoring."
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