Gross Food Facts
What's in Your Food?
Gross food facts, I'm full of them. Ever since I found out that my favourite flavour of ice cream, vanilla, contained the anal secretions of a beaver, yes you read that right, I have felt compelled to look into more gross food facts. The list is quite staggering, but here I share with you some of my favourite gross food facts. And for extra fun, be sure to trot these gross food facts out at the most inconvenient times, like say at an ice cream shop, for maximum effect.
Beaver Bum Ice Cream
Finding this tidbit of info out got the gross food fact ball rolling for me and I have my husband to thank for it. Vanilla is my all time favourite flavour, especially when it comes to ice cream, so you can imagine my dismay when he showed me that one of the so called "natural ingredients," was something secreted from a beavers butt.
"Castoreum," is found in a sac located near a beavers rectum and secreted along with urine to mark a beaver's territory. Apparently it also has a very nice vanilla like smell and is often used as a food additive in vanilla and raspberry flavoured food products. It is rarely listed on the food label as "castoreum," instead falling under the heading of "natural ingredients." Gross!
I have to wonder about the person that first figured out that the anal leakage from a beaver smelled like vanilla. What were they doing hanging out at the rear end of a beaver in the first place? And how did this idea get past the first initial pitch at the food additive plant? So many questions and so little desire to ever eat beaver bum flavoured ice cream ever again. The use of beaver bum secretions will always rank as my number one gross food fact.
Cat Poo Coffee
This is one many people have heard of but bares mentioning here and is a gross food fact I am more then happy to rub in my coffee snob husband's face. First of all, the urban legend that this is in fact cat poo coffee is incorrect, a civet, which might be considered a cat like creature found in Asia and Africa is responsible for pooping the coffee goodness. "Civet" coffee is a coffee that is ground from the beans of coffee berries that have been first ingested by the civet. Apparently civets are choosey creatures and only select the very best beans for our pooping pleasure. Their picky nature coupled with the digestive process is what makes the coffee taste so good. One cup of this coffee can range from $50 - $100 a cup.
In an epsidoe of Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," he and Jay Leno go out for a cup together that I believe has the low, low price tag of $75 per cup. You can tell form his expression that Jay Leno is decidedly not a fan. Mind you I'm not sure he really likes any kind of coffee so maybe it wasn't the cat poo flavour putting hum off.
The bottom line is that your drinking coffee made from something that came from a pile of poo. That rates an 11 out of a possible 10 points for total grossness.
Pig Skin Jello
Here's a gross food fact that will get the children crying, jello is made from gelatin, which is created with collagen, which is harvested from...you guessed it, pig skin! And cow skin and any other kind of animal skin you can think of. But for our beloved wiggly, jiggly, childhood favourite, pig skin is the go to skin to create the gelatin. Which makes me wonder why there is no such thing as bacon flavoured jello, or maybe they would call it "natural" flavour. Either way someone needs to write an angry letter demanding this flavour now.
Kind of makes you never want to feed to jello to your children again doesn't it?
Bug Coloured Candy
You know what makes your favourite candy such a nice appealing red? The boiled remains of the cochineal bug. Yes a lovely soup of bug remain is heated and then distilled to create a red dye that is so appealing that the fact that it was made from the carcasses of insects is unimportant.
But not only is it good for giving a nice rosy glow to candy, the derivative of this oh so appealing mixture of dead bugs, called carmine, is in cosmetics and some of your favourite fruit juices too.
I'll have mine in a to go cup with an extra squirt of dead bug juice please.
Spider Chocolate Bars
This is one of the gross food facts I found out that hurts the most and that many people are aware of thanks to an excellent piece ABC did on the FDA. If you didn't catch the story, here is the gist of it, FDA regulations allow for approximately 8 insect pieces to be in a chocolate bar, so basically a spider. There are a lot of things I can deal with but spiders in my chocolate is not one of them.
After finding out about the beaver bum juice in ice cream I had switched my sweet treat to a few squares of good chocolate. After the insect revelation I feel like it might be time to give up sweets all together.
Rodent Hair Peanut Butter Cup
Oh the FDA, you have such fun and crazy rules. If you ever want to enjoy what you eat again, don't peruse their guidelines for fun. I would dearly love to meet the person who sets these guidelines as they seem so very random and weird. For example both peanut butter and chocolate are permitted to have one rat hair per 100 grams. How about no rat hairs. I love peanut butter cups, does this mean I end up eating two?
Side of Sunscreen for Your Salad
Do you love ranch dressing. I'm nuts about it, but after learning this gross food fact I think I might switch to a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Many store bought ranch dressings contain titanium dioxide to give it that milky colour. This of course is also an ingredient found in many sunscreens, Which would explain who I haven't had a sunburn on my tongue in years.
Toilet Water Ice Cubes
Okay this isn't quite the case, but a number of media outlets tested the ice cubes they were served at several fast food chains against toilet water and found that the water int the ice cubes were up to 13 times dirtier then toilet water. I can't even begin to understand why, and the more I think about it the less I want to know, because if the ice is that dirty, how clean is the food they are serving me.
At the very least, after finding this gross food fact out I have made it a general rule to ask for no ice.
If you've gotten to the end of this article I bet you are feeling a little queasy. Goodness knows I did just writing it. And unfortunately this is just the tip of the gross food fact iceberg. The more you look into what goes into processed food of any kind the more disgusted you will be. So here's what I recommend, take these gross food facts as encouragement to make more of your own food whenever possible and select whole foods. Grow what you can and cut out the middleman. Think about it, have you ever heard of a single person finding a spider leg or a rat hair in their cucumber?