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8 Gross Food Ingredients

The FDA spends a lot of time and energy making sure the food we eat won't kill us, nor do any serious harm. However, that doesn't always mean they allow the most appetizing ingredients into our food. Below are 8 food ingredients that you may wish wasn't in your food next time you eat it.

1. Gelatin - Most of us have heard of gelatin, and maybe a few of us actually know what it is. Gelatin is derived from collagen, which is made from a protein collected from animal skin. The gelatin in desserts, for instance, comes mainly from pig skin. Foods it's found in: Jello, frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, and some types of sour cream.



2. Carbon Monoxide - This odorless gas can be deadly, which is why we have alarms for them in our houses. The same gas is used in helping meat keep their youthful, pink blush. Food it's found in: Carbon monoxide is injected into plastic wrap after all the air is sucked out to block the process of oxidation that can turn pink meat brown. It's rarely found, because consumer groups have fought it, as it makes it hard to know when meat spoils.



3. Shellac - We love glossy candy, but do you know how it gets that gloss? They're often coated with shellac, a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand. Food it's found in: candy canes, jelly beans, candy corn, and other shiny candy.



4. Saltwater Injections - You have seen the Fosters Farm "plumping" commercial (hopefully). Well, it's not just hype, but a real thing. Manufacturers inject salt and other ingredients into raw meat (mostly chicken) to enhance flavor and increase the weight of the meat before it’s sold. Food it's found in: It is mainly found in packaged meats. Meat that’s been injected may say “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or “up to 15% chicken broth.” Regular chicken has about 40 to 70 mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving, while plumped chicken can contain 5 times or more than that amount, or 300 mg and up.



5. Pink Slime - This has been big in the news lately, and for good reason. Pink slime is meat clinging to fat, which is removed through spinning it in a centrifuge. Ammonia is then added to remove bacteria and the pink slime is added as filler to ground beef (up to 10 billion pounds per year). Foods it's found in:  Ground beef and other beef products. Recent hype has caused McDonald's to say their meat is "pink slime free" and Safeway says it will no longer carry beef with it.



6. Antibiotics - These are typically used in big meat farms with little space for animals and a high threat of disease. Livestock also get antibiotics because they grow bigger and faster—and thus are more lucrative. Foods it's found in: Meat (pretty much all kinds) - researchers are concerned about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the overall environment and in livestock facilities.



7. Carmine - This is used for making the color red in products. Carmine is a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle. There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels. Foods it's found in: ice cream, Skittles, Good n' Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.



8. Propylene glycol - This ingredient is found in antifreeze, but also comes up in our food. According to Dr. Milkowski, this agent is "very, very safe." Propylene glycol has lubricating properties which aid in making spice concentrates, not to mention condoms. And if you need good mixing in food, this is your compound. Food it's found in: sodas, salad dressing, and beer.




Are you a little grossed out now? We know we were a bit surprised. To see more gross ingredients, check out the article from