The food industry holds a lot of secrets, and for your enjoyment of the products, it might be better that you don’t know how certain things are made. Because you don’t visit the factory, you don’t see the artificial additives that can increase the risk of ailments like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
You’re not there in the plants as insects and rodent hairs get packaged right along with the food. And as a meat eater, you don’t have to look at the horror of killing and dismembering animals because the work is done on farms, in slaughterhouses, and in packaging plants.
On the other hand, for the sake of your health, perhaps it’s best that you do know how commercial food is made. Brace yourself – some of these food industry secrets are pretty shocking.
From food additives that might not even qualify as food to shocking animal cruelty in production, you won’t ever want to buy the following 7 foods again
The more expensive and upscale your cheese, the more likely it is to contain a compound called rennet. Rennet is found in the stomachs of nursing baby cows, and they’re killed to get it. The enzyme is vital to the process, but if you won’t eat veal, how can you justify eating cheese?
There is one small caveat that may or may not make you feel better. Most basic cheeses today use genetically engineered rennet that inserts cow DNA into select strains of bacteria, fungi, and yeast. No babies are killed, but GMO foods are pretty suspicious on their own.
2. Chicken Nuggets
You have probably seen that meme going around that shows what looks like pink soft serve ice cream, but is really blended chicken scraps. The rumor is that this horrifying stuff is what makes chicken nuggets. Good news – it’s not. Chicken nuggets are actually made with ground chicken breast.
Bad news, ground chicken makes up only half of the nugget. The rest is a gory mix of skin, blood vessels, bone, connective tissue, and fat. Add in some starch, sugar, salt, and unnamed binders and fillers, and you’ve got yourself a genuine chicken nugget.
3. Citrus Sodas
That nice sour buzz you get from citrus-flavored drinks has nothing to do with fruit of any kind. Instead, artificial citrus flavor is mixed with something called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which keeps the flavoring incorporated into the soda, rather than floating at the top. BVO is used in all sorts of non-food industrial products and also as a flame retardant.
BVO has been banned in Europe, but back in the 1970s, the FDA decided there was a safe level of consumption for Americans. The issue has never been revisited. So thanks guys, for ruining Mountain Dew, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade, Squirt, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, and Fresca Original Citrus, among others.
4. Coffee Creamer
A little bit of cream in your coffee or tea makes for a smooth, less bitter drink. It can seriously make all the difference. But if you don’t use real milk or cream, you aren’t using a dairy product at all. Liquid non-dairy creamers, as it turns out, are made entirely of oil.
Okay, they are not ALL oil. They also contain cellulose gel or cellulose gum, texturizers made from wood pulp or cotton. Carrageenan thickens the stuff, but is hell on people with inflammatory disorders or digestive issues. Powdered creamers are even worse – they contain so many chemicals that they are actually flammable.
5. Canned Mushrooms
Did you know that the FDA has set acceptable levels of things like rodent hairs, insects, and other “objectionable material” in all of our food? Unless you buy your food whole and clean and prepare it yourself, chances are very high that you’re eating things you never intended to.
Canned mushrooms happen to be one of the worst offenders, because federal guidelines permit 20 or more maggots in each can. Just 20 maggots is enough to make us want to lose our lunch, but what about that “more” part? When is it ever too many maggots to sell a can of mushrooms?! As consumers, they really don’t want us to know.
Sometimes our food additives come from some bizarre and sketchy places. Take isinglass. It’s an ingredient used in beer to make the finished product clearer, and no one likes to see grainy yeast floating around in their beer.
Isinglass comes from fish – so far so good. Where it takes a turn is when you realize it comes from dried fish bladders. Sorry folks, beer is grosser than we knew. And upsetting to vegetarians, it does not strictly qualify as meatless.
7. Ice cream
Ice cream relies on a pretty simple recipe, including milk and cream, sugar, eggs, and flavoring. You can make it at home in no time, but most folks buy it by the pint or gallon from the grocery store.
Therefore, commercial manufacturers need to make sure their ice cream is suitable for shipping. One way they accomplish this is with a stabilizing ingredient called castoreum.
Now, if you’re one of those people who is horrified by the sight of your dog scooting their butt on your carpet (and aren’t we all?), you will be sorry to hear that castoreum is secreted by the anal glands of beavers. Not surprisingly, this ingredient is notoriously difficult to harvest, so it’s not used very widely. You still probably want to read the label on your ice cream, though.
How’re you feeling there? A little grossed out, a little bit horrified? Sadly, any food produced on a large scale is going to hide some secrets. Sometimes it is a shortcut to get the product to market, and sometimes it is beaver anal juice.
But honestly, making your favorite foods at home is the very best way to make sure nothing goes into it that you’d rather not be eating. Yeah, it may take a bit more time, but we’d gladly invest that time to avoid eating maggots.