You would be amazed at the additives that make it into our food supply. Words you cannot pronounce let alone digest.The likelihood of ingesting these ingredients are great. So arm yourself and stay away!

1. Shellac

This substance should be used to finish wood or give guitars that special shine. But instead this is what is used on apples to give them a glow.

What exactly is this additive made up of? Interestingly, shellac is derived from the excretions of the Kerria lacca insect, most commonly found in the forests of Thailand. It creates this excretion to allow it to stick to the trees where it lives.

Hey look at that extra shit on the trees? Let’s scrape it off, give food some extra gloss, and make money off of it.

The next time you are about to eat something with some extra shine, think again. You may likely be eating insect poop.

2. Bone Char

Sugar may be called White Devil, but it started off as being brown. To make the product white, some use bone char to filter impurities from its sugar. You know bones from cows from from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan that have died from “natural causes.” The bones are then heated to the point that they become a perfect means of filtering sugar.

3. Carmine

Carmine is made from mashed red beetles. The insects are killed by exposure to heat or immersion in hot water and then dried. Because the abdomen region that houses the fertilized eggs contains the most carmine, it is separated from the rest of the body, ground into a powder and cooked at high temperatures to extract the maximum amount of color.

But since some have caught on, instead of labeling it as carmine, it’s listed as “natural color.”

4. Natural Flavor

When you see that a label has included “natural flavor,” be dubious!  What does that really mean?

The problem is, natural flavor can, literally, be anything that isn’t man made. Could ‘natural flavor’ additives include genetically modified ingredients as well?

You can read a longer article which was written by Adam Tod Brown and published in Cracked on March 11, 2008. Photo by Kay/Flickr.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I would rather eat a product that has naturally occuring insects or bacteria than man-made chemicals.

  2. I agree with jrs7530 above on every point. After all, we have been using cocchineal in our food for hundreds of years.

    Before coloured food additives were commercially available we all used cocchineal to colour the icing on cakes. It was also used on the lips before lipstick was invented.

    Health fears over artificial food additives, however, have renewed the popularity of cochineal dyes.

    As jrs7530 above stated, we don’t flinch at eating the product of bees so why this article makes such a fuss over these other insect-based ingredients is beyond me.

  3. I’m kind of surprised by this article for a few reasons;

    1) Insects in our food supply shouldn’t be shocking or horrifying. In fact, there is currently a lot of discussion going on about the possibilities of insects as a sustainable food source (great source of protein) and many cultures already eat insects. So what if we use it to dye food as long as it’s not toxic? Spoiled Westerners need to get over the ick factor on that.

    2) Why would any site that promotes honey and bees discourage eating other insects? Honey is an insect product, remind you, that is regurgitated over and over again in the manufacturing process. Ew, right? No, it’s delicious and healthy, just like eating grasshoppers. People eat horses in other countries, and dogs, cats, bunnies, etc. Nothing is off the table when you are really hungry.

    3) I agree that we over process many of our foods in the US but is it really so awful that your sugar was processed with bone char (from, gasp, horses)? No, it isn’t. Didn’t your granny make soup with bones in it when you were a kid? I think a pretty strong argument could be made for the fact that they are using every scrap of material from the animal that supplied the bones, reducing waste. There is a scandal in the news right now about the Greek yogurt process being wasteful, creating a hard-to-dispose-of byproduct.

    4) The laws regulating food in the US allow for certain amounts of errant insect particles, rat hair and feces, germs. The possibility of “totally clean” pure food is nill. We grow vegetables in DIRT. We eat them at tables with pets begging under us. We forget to wash our hands or cover our mouths sometimes. A bug is the least of our worries.

    All in all, I’m a vegetarian and I try to be careful of what I eat. I’m much less concerned about bugs in my food and more concerned about pesticides, GMO’s, BPA and other harmful chemicals in my food.

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