Food Ingredient Translations

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Commonly found ingredients in food, find a cool one and check out which food you eat that contains it. Food products are in Bold to help you.

Sand – Silicon dioxide (sand) is used as an anti-caking agent for items like fast-food buffalo wings and chili, so it can can stay in a heater for days at a time.

Ammonia – Factory-farm conditions are full of bacteria and processing plants mix meat from hundreds or thousands of different cows, potentially creating a public health hazard in the mix. To try to make the meat “safer,” the industry typically puts the beef through an ammonia gas bath.

Pink Slime – Pink slime used in the food industry is lean finely textured beef (LFTB) and boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT). The product was originally for dog food before it was approved for human consumption. Now it’s in your fast food burgers.

Beaver Anal Gland Juice – This bitter, smelly, orange-brown substance known as castoreum, is used extensively in processed food and beverages, typically as vanilla or raspberry flavouring. In nature, it’s combined with a beaver’s urine and used to mark its territory. And yeah, the label will list the ingredient as “natural flavouring.” The FDA-approved product is categorised under “natural flavoring”, so you won’t know if you’re eating it.

Beetles – Carmine, a bright red food colorant, is actually the crushed abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, an African beetle-like insect. Look for it in red candies, red-tinted yogurts and juices—it’s often listed as carmine, crimson lake, cochineal, or natural red #4 on ingredient labels. The beetle actually isn’t bad for you, but some may think twice about what’s vegetarian or vegan. Starbucks use it in there frappuccino products, yoghurt, maraschino cherries, jams, cakes, and tomato products.

Fertiliser – The chemical fertiliser ammonium sulphate, is added to some restaurant chain sandwich breads in order to feed yeast in the baking process.

Most of what you buy at the grocery store, from syrup to cereal, is made of wood. Cellulose comes in a variety of forms, but it all works the same way. It’s a cheap, organic filler used in place of real ingredients. Plus it adds fiber to meals, so it can be advertised as healthy. Cellulose isn’t necessarily bad for you, but you’re paying for food and eating wood…

Human Hair and Duck Feathers – L-Cysteine is an amino acid used in dough conditioners, softening mass-produced breads. It’s made from human hair or duck feathers. 80% of L-cysteine is made of human hair, McDonald’s uses the duck feather variety in its Baked Hot Apple Pie and Warm Cinnamon Roll.

Antifreeze – Propylene glycerol is found in antifreeze and lubricants, and can also cause skin and eye irritation. Fast food restaurants use it in pre-packaged salads to keep the greens crisp.

Antidepressants and other drugs – Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested bird feathers and found a list of feed additives, including banned antibiotics, antidepressants, allergy medications, arsenic, the active ingredient in Benadryl, caffeine, and other prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Dimethylpolysiloxane – If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it. A lot of takeout rice is covered in a clear, non-flammable chemical also found in adhesives and caulk, dimethylpolysiloxane.

Fish Bladders – Isinglass, or dried fish bladder, gives beer its golden glow.

Gelatin – Gelatin is made from collagen, which is boiled down animal connective tissue, pigs and cattle hooves, pigskin. Found in just about everything.

Sheep Secretions – Lanolin: a goopy, oily secretion found in sheep’s wool is an FDA-approved additive used to soften chewing gum. It can also be found in cosmetics, sunscreen, and many baby products

Maggots – The FDA says its legally OK to have up to 19 maggots and 74 mites in a 3.5-ounce can of mushrooms.

Sodium bisulfite – Sodium bisulfite is used in most toilet bowl cleaning agents. It’s also used to extend the shelf-life and bleach out the discolouration of potato chips.

Rat Hairs – We aren’t saying that rat hairs are the secret ingredient of your favorite chocolate bars . . . . but they might make accidental guest appearances. The FDA allows one rat hair per 100 grams in six 100-gram sub-samples of chocolate and 60 insect fragments per 100 grams in six 100-gram sub-samples.