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We often indulge in our favorite foods without giving a second thought to what’s inside them13 Foods That Never Expire. However, a closer look at the ingredient list can sometimes reveal shocking and unexpected components. Here’s a deep dive into some of the surprising ingredients lurking in popular foods.
Castoreum in Vanilla Flavoring
Derived from the scent glands of beavers, castoreum is sometimes used to enhance vanilla flavoring in certain foods and perfumes.
Shellac on Shiny Candies
That glossy finish on candies? It’s often from shellac, a resin secreted by the female lac bug.
Isinglass in Beer and Wine
Some alcoholic beverages are clarified using isinglass, a substance obtained from fish bladders.
L-cysteine in Bread
This dough conditioner is sometimes derived from human hair or duck feathers.
Gelatin in Gummy Candies
Gelatin, the ingredient that gives gummies their chewiness, is made from animal bones and connective tissues.
Carmine in Red Foods
This red dye is made from crushed cochineal bugs and can be found in various food products and cosmetics.
Cellulose in Cheese
Cellulose, derived from wood pulp, is often added to pre-shredded cheese to prevent clumping.
Pink Slime in Ground Beef
This meat by-product, treated with ammonia, is sometimes added to ground beef to reduce fat content.
Propylene Glycol in Ice Cream
Found in antifreeze, propylene glycol is also used in some ice creams to keep them creamy.
Silicon Dioxide in Spices
Also known as silica, this compound is added to many spices to prevent clumping.
Titanium Dioxide in White Foods
Used to make foods whiter, this compound is also found in sunscreens and paints.
Lanolin in Chewing Gum
Derived from sheep’s wool, lanolin is used as a softener in some chewing gums.
Viruses in Deli Meats
To combat harmful bacteria, some deli meats are sprayed with a cocktail of bacteriophages or viruses.
Treated Sawdust in Packaged Parmesan
Cellulose, or treated sawdust, can sometimes be found in high amounts in packaged grated Parmesan cheese.
Ambergris in High-End Perfumes
This rare substance, regurgitated by sperm whales, is used to enhance certain luxury perfumes and was historically used in foods.