Hungry? 7 Gross Ingredients In Your Favourite Foods

Beaver Anal Secretions

‘Scientifically’ known as Castoreum, secretions from beaver anal glands are commonly found in vanilla flavouring – therefore making up many popular sweet treats such as ice-cream, cakes and milkshakes. Whilst most commonly used for its vanilla-like smell, it can also be found in some raspberry and strawberry flavourings. Yum!

Human Hair  

When looking at the ingredients of your favourite bagel or loaf of bread, ‘L-Cysteine’ may not immediately jump out at you. Made from human hair and/or duck feathers, it is an amino acid typically used as a flour-improver. The only way to avoid its consumption is to opt for wholemeal breads and cakes – which it cannot be used in.

Fish Bladder  

It isn’t just food products which contain such unsavoury ingredients – Isinglass, a substance obtained from dried fish-bladders is commonly used as a processing aid in the brewing industry to accelerate the fining, or clarification, of beer. Not only this, Isinglass is often used in the production of Kosher wines.

Breast Implant Filler  

What’s the difference between a chicken nugget and a breast implant? Turns out, they’re more similar than you would think (or hope!). McDonalds Chicken Nuggets have been found to contain only 50% actual chicken, with the rest comprising synthetic ingredients such as dimethylpolysiloxane, a chemical used in silicone breast implants.

Jet Fuel Additive  

You might be forgiven for thinking that the worst thing found in your everyday cereal is the criminally high level of both sugar and salt, but no. Listed under ingredients as ‘Butylated Hydroxytoluene’ (BHT), the chemical compound found in petroleum products such as jet fuel has the property of keeping food fresh for longer, helping your cornflakes stay crunchy for weeks.

Coal Tar

The use of dried bugs in red food-colouring is old news, and at least they are vaguely natural! Scarily, almost any artificial food colouring contains coal-tar, the product of carbonised coal. Whilst this is in the process of being phased out, the alternative fails to be much more promising – oil.


This article wasn’t explicitly designed to put you off beer (or any food & drink mentioned above for that matter), but we wouldn’t be surprised if it does just that. Unbelievably, traces of arsenic can be found in both beers and wine that are clearer in colour. Nobody ever praised alcoholic beverages for their health benefits, but arsenic, really? Have you got any new products you need help launching? Need help with research, marketing, category management or more? Call us on 01803 203387 or email at [email protected].

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