10 Most Disgusting Food Ingredients That You Probably Eat On Daily Basis

One phrase that we frequently read on the “contents list” of various food items is “natural flavors”, which is quite intriguing.  They say it is a way of protecting the secret formula or recipe of the food item under question and a way of protecting the product’s uniqueness.  Can you imagine that FDA could approve regurgitated secretions produced in an animal’s digestive system to be used as food additives?  Another couple of examples of disgusting food additives include secretions produced by the beaver’s sacs and civet absolute which is derived from the unctuous secretions from the receptacles between the anus and genitalia of both the male and female civet cat hence watch out for those “natural flavorings & flavors”!

Lanolin, which  is  used to soften chewing gum, is actually secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals.  Animal ingredients are not contained in sugar itself, but most companies decolorize sugar with the help of bone char (animal charcoal) in filters.  Regulatory bodies’ requirement is that the bones must come from cattle, which have died of natural causes. Main suppliers of these bones include countries like Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, India and Morocco.

Hence what you actually are consuming and paying for, may not only be surprising but disgusting (if you know what actually the ingredients are).

Here is the list of 10 most disgusting food ingredients:


10. Borax:

Borax was discovered over 4,000 years ago and is also known as birax, sodium borate, or sodium tetra-borate, which is usually found deep underground. It is the sodium salt of boric acid and  is crystalline in nature.  This mineral is used to prevent mice, bugs, ants and mold from coming to domestic places.  It is also used as a multipurpose cleaner, fire retardant, fungicide, herbicide and…food preservative.  Borax is allowed in imported caviar but it is banned otherwise as a food additive (E285) in the United States. Although it is being used frequently as food preservative in other countries especially developing countries because  E285 is legal in the European Union and Asia.  Borax has its frequent use in the textiles, glass and leather industry for tanning and dyeing.  Is there anything borax can’t do?


9. Silicon Dioxide:

The main chemical compound of sand is silicon dioxide (SiO2, one atom of silicon and two of oxygen). One of the most important anti-caking agents is amorphous silicon dioxide (E551 in Europe).  The use of Silicon dioxide has been allowed by FDA and considers it safe, as long as it does not exceed 2% of the weight of the food in which it is being used.  It can be found in everything from processed meat, spice powders, instant soups & sauces, snack bars, supplements, pharmaceutical drug tablets and more.

Silicon dioxide is a requirement of  our body but only a trace of it is required by the body to stay healthy.  Is it harmful to add silicon dioxide to food? Probably not, but it is disgusting and unusual.


8. Shellac:

The secretions of the Kerria lacca insects are refined to obtain shellac.  These insects are native to South-East Asia and reside in colonies of thousands on trees such as Kusum, Ficus, Palas, and Ber.  To obtain one-kilogram sack of shellac, approximately 300,000 lac bugs are required.

When it comes to furniture polishing and wood finishing, shellac is unrivaled.  Its use is in almost every industry, from furniture polishing to food and pharmaceutical processing (food additive # E904).  The same product that is utilized for coating furniture is also used (instead of natural wax, which only has temporary effect) for coating fruits, vegetables, candies, snacks, and pastries, to make them look fresher and more appealing.


7. Gelatin:

Gelatin is a flavorless and translucent substance, which is be used as a stabilizer, texture enhancer, or thickening agent in foods.  Collagen is the active element of gelatin, which is obtained from various animal parts.  According to Professor M.C. Gomez-Guillén, “the most abundant sources of gelatin are pig skin (46%), bovine hide (29.4%) and pork and cattle bones (23.1%).”

6. Carmine:

This insect-derived substance is used as colorant in various food items such as Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberries & Cream, Frappuccino or Red Velvet Whoopie Pie! etc.

Female cochineal insects are the source of carmine.  After these bugs are killed by exposure to heat or immersion in hot water, and then dried, their abdomen, which contains the most carmine, is extracted and cooked at high temperatures.

If one of the following terms – carmine, cochineal extract, natural red 4, E120, C.I. 75470, E120 or hydrated aluminium chelate of carminic acid – appears in the ingredients list of the product you consume, the red bug dye is in your food.

The cochineal extract is mixed in many things including meat, marinades, juices, jams, gelatins and candies, baked goods, toppings, icings, and dairy products.

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