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Gross Food Facts

Updated on February 7, 2014

What's in Your Food?

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Yuck!

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.

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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.

She's grumpy because someone took her poo to make coffee
She's grumpy because someone took her poo to make coffee | Source

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.


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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Grossed Out!

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?

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      I'm not particularly grossed out. There are probably weirder, more disgusting things than this that we consume every day without knowing. Sometimes too much knowledge is dangerous, and when it comes to food perhaps blissful ignorance is best. Great hub!

    • joedolphin88 profile image

      Joe 3 years ago from north miami FL

      Great article, this is causing me to rethink where I am going to eat lunch today.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      LOL, thanks so much for reading and sharing. And I agree the peanut butter cup one is the most disgusting for me, I haven't eaten one since I researched this hub.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Disgusting hub! Lol! Ok, thanks for all extra unsightly knowledge. I have heard about the cat poop coffee and I even hubbed about it long ago. Ditto with ice cubes and that's why I always say no to ice in any restaurants specially Mcdonalds! *sorry*

      Personally from your list though, it is the Rodent Hair Peanut Butter Cup that makes me puke the most. Eeekkk!!!

      Very interesting hub. Voting up and sharing the goodness, I mean the grossness! :)

      Thank you.

    • Thundermama profile image
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      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks teaches, I know learning about this made me recommit to more home cooking.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I have heard of some of these gross food facts and I'm thankful that I usually eat natural and home cooked foods. Glad you posted this one and hope readers take heed!

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Lol, thanks for reading Eddy, hope you weren't eating anything while you were reading this.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Oh yuk but what a great and sobering hub. Interesting and voted up for sure.

      Eddy.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I just noticed that I erased part of my comment! I meant that I heard of the "beaver but vanilla" ;-)

      I like to buy vanilla beans to cook rice with milk. At least I am kind of pretty sure of the origin of that one!

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Scratch is definitely the way to go kc, enjoy your weekend.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Isn't that terrible? I heard that one not long ago on the news. The other one you mentioned, I never heard of them but I am not surprised. I am so glad that I usually prepare everything from scratch. I know what I put in my food... and in my mouth!

      Interesting.... but indeed... gross!

      Have a nice weekend!

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Jaye loved that you were grossed out by my article and got the underlying message. Thanks for reading.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is a really gross article, but that was your intention and it worked. I'm thankful I don't eat most of the foods you mentioned. I do drink coffee, but it's an inexpensive French roast coffee and chicory blend that is not likely derived from a civet.

      I hope your readers take away from this article two things: (1) processed foods contain some unhealthy and often disgusting additives, including rat hairs and insects; and (2) the FDA does not protect consumers.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

    • Thundermama profile image
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      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      LOL Olo, dragon, your disgusted responses were just what I was hoping for. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      dragonflycolor 3 years ago

      I just puked...a little bit in my mouth...just then. Thankfully I don't eat much of what is listed here. :)

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      Yuck, this is disgusting. More reasons to worry about our food supply.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      I'm so glad to hear you draw the line at beaver bum bb, thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank God I ate before reading this. LOL How totally gross is this stuff? From teaching I remember castoreum; the trappers used it to trap beavers....take a dead one, extract the castoreum, and spread it in the mud near the trap. No thanks...I'm not squeezing a beaver's butt. LOL

    • Thundermama profile image
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      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Sallybea, I too mourn the loss of vanilla ice cream.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thundermama - some really gross facts. Vanilla ice-cream may no longer head my list of favorite things to eat.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading FA, I would love to hear what your dad has to say about the ice cream flavoring.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      YUCK! I cannot imagine what prompted the culinary curiosity behind the ice cream flavoring. How do people get these ideas? I'm going to grill my dad on the subject. He's a food scientist. Gross. Voted up +++ and sharing.