8 Gross Ingredients Hiding In Your Food

5 min read
8 Gross Ingredients Hiding In Your Food

If you think you know what’s in the food you’re eating, be ready for a shock.

The familiar foods that you eat every day actually have some very unknown and seriously gross ingredients!

Do you think that you know what goes into the food you’re eating? Well, we have some information that’s probably going to shock you. It’s more than the pink slime and ‘chicken bits’ that you’ll find in fast food. These are things that are in the foods you eat every single day.

8. Cotton Plants

Sure cotton is in the clothes we wear, but in our food? Well, sorry to break it to you but under the name of ‘cellulose’, you’ll find cotton-based plants or even bamboo in many of the foods we eat every day. Cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, processed fruits, veggies and cereals as well as pre-cooked pasta and baked goods. Manufacturers use cellulose as an extender that reduces breakage and provides structure. It’s also a great filler and thickener, and can replace as much as 50% of the fat in sweet foods like cakes or cookies.

7. Sand

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

You know how babies love to go to the beach and eat handfuls of sand? Well, turns out we aren’t that much different from them. In fact, many items we eat every day including salts, soups and coffee creamer all contain a type of sand known as silicon dioxide. It’s not really enough to be worth worrying about, but if you bite down on something hard next time you’re enjoying an instant soup, don’t be surprised if you get a craving for the beach.

6. Fish Bladders

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

For those who enjoy sitting down for a cool beer after a long day, you might be surprised to learn that there’s something fishy hiding in your beer glass. It’s called Isinglass, otherwise known as dried fish swim bladder, an ingredient in a number of beers that apparently gives the beer a golden glow. The swim bladder is actually made from a very pure and natural form of a protein called collagen. The swim bladders are dried and turned into a powder, a paste or a thick liquid to be added to beer.

5. Human Hair and Duck Feathers

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

We’ve all heard of amino acids. After all, they’re the building blocks of the body, and can be very good for our health. But, amino acids come in all shapes and sizes, including l-cysteine, an amino acid that’s used to prolong the shelf life of some of the bread we buy in supermarkets. This particular amino acid is harvested from human hair or duck feathers. We aren’t exactly sure where the human hair in question is coming from, but if you want to avoid it, then fresh bread from the baker is the way to go!

4. Bug Secretions

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

Ah, who doesn’t like a bit of bug secretions mixed in with dessert? Actually, bug secretions are in more foods than you think as an ingredient called shellac. Sometimes called confectioner’s glaze, pure food glaze or even natural glaze, shellac is a type of chemical secreted by a type of bug native to Thailand. Considered safe for consumption, if not a little gross, you’ll find it coated on everything from jelly beans to some pain killers. Yummy.

3. Animal Skin

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

If you’ve ever sat down to a bowl of jelly, or enjoyed a handful of lolly snakes, you might want to brace yourself for this revelation: You’re eating boiled down skin. Yes, the thing that makes those foods jelly-like is gelatin, which in turn comes from collagen. This particular type of collagen is harvested by boiling down animal connective tissue, most often skin, bones, and connective tissue of pigs and cows. Don’t say you weren’t informed.

2. Crushed Beetles

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

There’s a lot of red-coloured food available on the market these days, from tomato products to cherries, hames, cakes and even yoghurt. But did you ever take a moment to consider where that red food colouring comes from? Well, let us break that wall of ignorance down right now! It comes from crushed beetles. Specifically cochineal beetles, which are dried and crushed up before being added to food. You’ll find it in more products than you’d think, under names like carmine, cochineal extract, natural red 4 among others.

1. Beaver Anal Secretion

Gross Ingredients | Stay At Home Mum

If you’re taking a moment to read that title again, we don’t blame you. But it’s true, you can find the secretions of a beavers anal glands in many raspberry and vanilla-flavoured foods. In the manufacturing world, it’s known as castoreum (because beaver butt is so much more vulgar) and it’s said to increase flavour. We can’t figure that one out, and we can’t tell you how to avoid it either. It can be found in ice cream, lollies, syrups, pastries and even cigarettes, but because it’s technically natural, it’s not listed.

What foods will you be avoiding from now on?

gross | Stay at Home

About Author

Oceana Setaysha

Senior Writer A passionate writer since her early school days, Oceana has graduated from writing nonsense stories to crafting engaging content for...Read Morean online audience. She enjoys the flexibility to write about topics from lifestyle, to travel, to family. Although not currently fulfilling the job of parent, her eight nieces and nephews keep her, and her reluctant partner, practiced and on their toes. Oceana holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Writing and Indonesian, and has used her interest in languages to create a career online. She's also the resident blonde at, where she shares her, slightly dented, wisdom on photography, relationships, travel, and the quirks of a creative lifestyle. Read Less

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