We all have some gross food-related stories that we can share. Maybe it was a hair in your quinoa, a needle in your strawberry, or a human tooth in your Milky Way bar — we have all found something super unappetizing and sometimes even inedible in our food. We have put together a list of the grossest and, to some extent, horrifying food processing facts out there that will definitely make you rethink some of your life choices!
If you’re a seafood lover, then you’ll need to prepare yourself for this fact — because it’s fairly shocking! Uni is the only edible part of a sea urchin.
It turns out, though, that this so-called edible part is actually the animal’s gonads. For some, this may not be an issue. For us, well, that’s where we draw the line! And if you decide to as well, we completely understand!
Figs are another example of a tasty and colorful fruit — that are now about to be destroyed by facts. Their dark purple-ish color can make any dish look vibrant, whether it be a fruit salad or a tasty pastry of sorts. However, with all these happy colors and vibes, they have one thing that will truly depress and gross you out.
There are certain types of wasps that spend their larval stage inside figs. If the fig is a male, a female wasp will climb inside and lay her eggs there. These hatch into larvae that burrow out, turn into wasps, and fly off. If the fig is a female, however, a female wasp can climb into and even pollinate the fig, but she will not be able to lay her eggs there and instead, dies alone. This fact seriously sent shivers down our spine!
Berries are such amazing fruits. They add so much flavor and color to anything you pair them with — especially if you’re making a fruit cake, or just topping a chocolate cake.
However, the berries have their share of insect problems. They contain about four larvae in every 100 grams. These larvae can secrete in the fruits. So, with that, make sure to thoroughly wash your berries.
Canned pineapples have their advantages and — according to this article – disadvantages. Compared to raw pineapple, the canned one contains only about 60% bromelain. The canned pineapples destroy the bromelain, which is the most beneficial ingredient.
The canned pineapple has a much higher level of sugar and calories. The grossest part is that the canned pineapple packs up to 20% of moldy fruit. The moldy fruit packed in the can is not a pretty scenario.
Oftentimes, the ice machines in different restaurants and ice cream parlors aren’t cleaned. In fact, they can remain like that for weeks, months, and years. The state of cleanliness for these machines all depends on the type of equipment the employees use to scoop the ice — are they using a scooper or their own hand?
If someone with dirty hands is scooping the ice, well then you know what your ice contains. The dirt can accumulate if you factor in the number of times the ice is scooped out throughout the day.
We all love a plate of momos, especially when they’re found in the street-side stalls and food trucks. However, these street-side momos aren’t exactly the healthiest. According to research, these roadside momos are made from dog meat.
If it’s not dog meat, they are made with rotten chicken meat. There’s no need of telling how harmful they are. All you can do is head to YouTube and learn how to make momos yourself.
If this article has taught us anything so far, it’s to steer clear of canned goods. After all, mold, insects, and whatnot are crammed into those cans — and this product is no different.
Canned asparagus contains about 10% of egg sacs and/or beetles. Are you even surprised at this point? Clearly, canned goods aren’t the best choice. Perhaps it’s just better to buy these veggies raw and give them a really thorough wash.
Well, the lavish caviar that you save for your most special occasions has secrets of its own. Their journey from the ocean to your fancy china is certainly not the prettiest. The egg sac is sliced from the fish’s belly before the fish is gutted.
From there, the finest quality eggs are selected. They are then packaged, but not before generously bathing them in salt. The high cost is probably from all the suffering that the fish undergoes.
Blasting the Cheese Powder
The granular cheese powder on different cheese-flavored chips is like a dehydrated solution to keep the chips from spoiling. These cheese products were developed for the US Army as they can be preserved under any conditions.
The cheese is first dehydrated. Then, they are blasted through a hot dryer. This blasting creates a powdered texture. The extra layer of cheese that makes our life so easy does go through its fair share of blasting.
Who doesn’t love hotdogs? They are the perfect meal when you’re looking for something affordable. However, have you ever wondered how this super delicious and budget-friendly meal is made? Hot dogs are not made from perfectly sourced meat.
The butchers take the leftover scraps from different cuts of beef and pork. Then, they are mixed and ground up together with some chicken parts thrown in there. That’s why hot dogs contain a mixture of different meat.
Sometimes you come across the correct use of something and you realize that you were using it all wrong — and then you wonder whether or not your whole life has been a lie. Well, this is something like that. Your favorite potato chips, Pringles, are not made from potatoes.
They are made of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes. They are mixed and then dropped into boiling oil, which then forms their ultra-thin shape. Lastly, they are dried and dusted with flavors.
Maraschino cherries look like a fruit that Snow White would eat — we mean, instead of an apple. The cherries have a radiant color. But, have you ever wondered how these cherries even come to be that way? Well, they go through a rigorous process to become the Maraschino cherries that we know and love.
Their natural color is distorted as they are put in a mixture of sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride. At this point, the cherries take on a yellowish hue. Then, they are soaked in fructose corn syrup and red dye. The food coloring is made from ground-up insects.
Red Food Coloring
Most of us have red food coloring somewhere in our kitchen. The luscious red color does add some extra sparkle to our food — be it our favorite red velvet cake, a holiday-themed Frappuccino, or even ketchup. However, that red color doesn’t come as easily as you would think.
Believe it or not but that perfect red shade comes from crushed cochineal insects. Factories collect these little insects and crush them up. Then, they mix the crushed up insects with powder and water. Some of them are also made from coal or petroleum.
The non-dairy creamer is truly a wonder product. This creamer can stay in your pantry for weeks or even months. Though it’s used to give our coffee or tea that milky, creamy taste we all love, the product has no trace of milk in it.
The non-dairy creamer is made of corn syrup solids, a milk protein named casein, and many diglycerides and monoglycerides. These ingredients enable the creamer to mix well with liquid. So, the moral here is that although these creamers have a great shelf life, you’re not actually getting any milk out of them.
Let’s walk you through the process of how nuggets are made, because why not! First, there’s a de-boning department in which the chicken breasts are removed from the whole chicken. Then the chicken breasts are trimmed.
They are grounded up and blended with seasoning and chicken skin. Then, the chicken paste is shaped into different required shapes before they are battered and fried partially. Lastly, they are frozen and shipped to different places.
Marshmallows speak celebration and they are included in some of the best treats — s’mores, Rice Krispies treats, Lucky Charms. What you may have not known, though, is that marshmallows are made of sugar, gelatin, and water. Although it may seem like there’s nothing wrong with them, one of the ingredients used does have some secrets.
The gelatin used in making the marshmallows are made of different parts of innocent animals including bones, tissues, skin, and hooves. The animals have to suffer in making this gelatin, which is then used in making different foods, like marshmallows.
The process of making ground beef is truly horrifying. The cows are stunned with electric current and shot with a pistol or carbon dioxide. Then, the cows are slaughtered before the facilities and factories remove the internal organs.
The carcass is cut in half and hung in a cooler after being sprayed with water or chemicals. This increases the flavor and further tenderizes the beef. From there starts the grounding and packaging process.
Who doesn’t love jelly beans? They’re a colorful concoction of sugar, after all — or so we all thought. We’re sorry to break it to you but our next fact will probably make eating jelly beans a whole lot less pleasurable now.
So, let’s not beat around the bush — jelly beans are shiny because they’re coated in shellac, which is a resin that’s secreted by the female lac bug (laccifer lacca) after it drinks the sap of trees.
The orange color that makes the oranges so appealing is due to citrus red applied to them. The citrus red keeps the oranges fresh and attractive. This is a trick to increase the shelf life of the fruits, which shouldn’t be more than a few days.
The citrus red does its job perfectly but it is harmful to us, as it’s proven to be carcinogenic. Carcinogens may increase the risk of cancer by altering cellular metabolism or damaging DNA directly in cells.
Castoreum is a natural flavor that’s used to substitute vanilla. Castoreum is used in place of real vanilla in many desserts — including ice cream, pudding, and brownies.
Well, what you may find surprising is that castoreum comes from the beaver’s castor sac, located between the pelvis and base of the tail. Knowing this now, how do you feel about eating that big bowl of ice cream you just served yourself?
We all know soft drinks are not the healthiest of choices out there, yet we still pair them with our burgers or pizzas. Here’s a fact that might make you rethink the soda fountain you’ve grown accustomed to. Recent studies have found that these soda fountains — which dispense all types of soft drinks that quench our thirst and cravings — could also contain fecal bacteria.
According to a study published in the January issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, nearly half of the 90 beverages from soda fountain machines in one area in Virginia tested positive for coliform bacteria, which could indicate possible fecal contamination. Are you rethinking that order of Coke now?
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that your body makes, and it plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. Many food manufacturers have begun making their foods extremely addictive by pumping their products full of sugar.
Having that sugar could release dopamine, the feel-good hormone in the brain, which associates that food with pleasure — causing the body to crave more. This, in turn, increases the demand. So, keep this in mind when you’re ordering from a fast-food restaurant or buying snacks from the store.
By now, you’ve probably realized that the snacks and candies we eat are full of harmful ingredients, preservatives, and artificial flavoring. But, let’s get specific! Firstly, the shine that many candies and chocolates have is due to a substance called lac.
Lac — or shellac, as many know it — functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odor-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Of course, there are other ingredients mixed with the shellac to create those products but it’s not at all comforting to know that shellac is also in the snacks we eat. And that’s also because we’ve learned that lac is sourced from a female insect. So, long story short, the candies that you munch on during Halloween are sourced from a bug.
Gelatin is used to make different kinds of desserts — like ice cream, yogurt, Jell-O, and other sweet treats. However, the gelatin used to make these products are made from — you guessed it — animal parts.
These animal parts include bones, skin, and ligaments. Those parts are boiled to make gelatin, which is also oftentimes used to make beauty products including face masks and shampoos.
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ piece of steak and mashed potatoes? Because many of us don’t eat steak every day, it’s definitely a special treat. However, what if we told you that the steak you’ve been buying may not actually be just one cut of meat? At times, the steak flanks that you find at the grocery store are made with several chunks of meat. Now, how is the meat combined to form one whole flank? Well, there’s a special meat glue that’s used.
Meat glue is a food additive used to improve the texture and appearance of foods like processed meats. Though major food safety organizations consider it safe, some health concerns surround it, including an increased risk of bacterial contamination. Meat glue is used in several types of foods including imitation crab meat, chicken nuggets, and fish balls. It also creates reconstituted steaks, fillets, roasts, and cutlets
Before diving into what’s wrong with this product, let’s first talk about what it is. L-Cysteine is a type of amino acid that’s used to prolong shelf-life in products such as commercial bread. L-Cysteine can be found in duck and chicken feathers and cow horns. However, what’s mostly used in food comes from human hair.
It has been reported that most of the hair used to make L-Cysteine comes from China, where it’s gathered from barbershops and hair salons. Luckily, you can avoid L-Cysteine by buying fresh bread from a local baker, as it’s not an additive in flour.
Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely used food pigments. An odorless powder, titanium dioxide enhances the white color or opacity of foods and over-the-counter products including chewing gum, coffee creamers, candies, sunscreen, and toothpaste.
It’s also used in different food packaging to increase the shelf life as well as various types of cosmetics and beauty products. Although it’s considered safe for consumption to date, it’s important to be aware of its effects, so make sure you read the labels before buying a product.
Oregano is one of the most beloved herbs. People use it in pizza, pasta sauce, and whatnot. The flavor enhances the food’s taste and value. It’s a favorite in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine. Oregano is one of the components of chili powder.
We’re not the only ones to love oregano, though. It happens to also be a favorite for other species. Aphids and spider mites sometimes infest oregano plants. There are around 1200 insects in about 10 grams of oregano. On average, about 300 fragments of insects are present. If you have your own plant at home, you can control mild infestations with a strong spray of water from a hose every other day until the insects are gone.
Cinnamon is an absolute must for so many dishes and desserts. The flavor makes the dish more flavorful. However, the time has come to bid cinnamon goodbye for good. Why? Well, this spice actually contains animal feces — and the FDA allows it! The amount of excrement permitted varies from food to food.
Many spices and herbs including pepper, thyme, hot peppers, cinnamon bark, and oregano have a limit of one milligram of excrement per pound of food. And while it’s a very small fraction of excrement, how does it make you feel knowing this now?
Dry fruits — one of the most recommended foods by health experts. Doctors often recommend that people make dried fruit a regular part of their diet. Why? Well, dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage, and reduced risk of many diseases.
Still, there are some downsides, at least in the case of raisins. According to studies, there are about 40 milligrams of sand in 100 grams of raisins. Now, these dry fruits may be healthy, but what do we do about the sand?
It’s no secret that wheat is one of the world’s most commonly consumed cereal grains. White and whole-wheat flour are key ingredients in baked goods, such as bread. Other wheat-based foods include pasta, noodles, semolina, bulgur, and couscous.
What you probably didn’t know, though, is that wheat can contain up to an average of nine rodent poop pellets per kilogram (or about four pellets/pound). And popcorn, which the FDA also permits rodents to gnaw on a bit, can contain up to one poop pellet in a subsample. Gross!
Peanut butter is a household favorite — whether you’re in the mood to make a PB&J sandwich, peanut butter cookies, or even an Asian peanut butter sauce. Well, if you use it a lot, here is a horrifying fact that may change your future choices.
There is rodent hair in every 100 grams of peanut butter. Still, peanut butter is one of the most controlled foods on the FDA list. An average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments are allowed for every 100 grams, which is 3.5 ounces. The typical serving size for peanut butter is two tablespoons, unless you slather! So perhaps you shouldn’t give up peanut butter altogether!
There’s no need to explain what a brew or ale is, or why it’s so widely consumed. Some people just cannot cut these drinks from their lives. However, we have sourced a fact that might reduce the beverage’s position in your life.
One of the components of the drink is isinglass — a type of gelatin that’s taken from swim bladders of certain tropical and subtropical fish. Isinglass finings are widely used as a processing aid in the British brewing industry to accelerate the fining, or clarification, of the beverage.
Salami is a cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meat. During the process, makers hang the salami in warm and humid conditions to encourage the fermenting bacteria to grow, before hanging it in a cool, humid environment to dry out. The bacteria that grows throughout this process produces lactic acid, which makes the meat an inhospitable environment for pathogenic bacteria. This makes the food safe to eat.
That is unless meat mites, beetles, and maggots find their way to the salami, as they feed on the surface of cured meat. Only a small number are necessary to begin a damaging infestation. And no insecticides can be applied directly to infested meats, meaning that proper measures must be taken to prevent infestation.
Kopi luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. The extraction process of this coffee is what makes it so expensive — not to mention gross. The coffee consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by an animal known as the Asian palm civet.
A small to medium-sized mammal, the palm civet is native to South and Southeast Asia. Producers of this coffee bean argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms including selection – civets choosing to eat only certain cherries — and digestion.
Now, it’s time for us to ruin honey for you. Raw honey can contain spores of the bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is especially harmful to babies or children under the age of one. Why?
The bacteria can actually cause botulism poisoning that can, in turn, result in life-threatening paralysis. However, botulism is very rare among healthy adults and older children.
Casu Marzu Cheese
All you cheese lovers may very well be horrified by this next fact. What you see here is known as Casu Marzu, which can be translated into maggot cheese. If the sight of hundreds of tiny worms crawling around in your cheese doesn’t upset you, then you have an iron will.
To end up with this kind of cheese, the top half is sliced off so that flies can lay eggs inside, which then grow into larvae that consume the fat in the cheese. The final result is a cheese with a creamy texture on the verge of being classified as rotten. The cheese is eaten when the maggots are alive, as it’s considered unsafe when the maggots have perished.
We rely on the FDA to ensure that the food we eat is safe, right? However, facts like these can truly destroy our faith. Manufacturers are legally allowed to sell curry powder that has 100 insect fragments in every 25 grams.
The FDA completely allows these insects in our food. The reason is that even the most efficient modern technology cannot fully eliminate the defects. These are considered allowable defects by the FDA.
As yummy as they are, shrimps are actually one of the grossest types of seafood you could eat. They are found contaminated with different kinds of pesticides, chemicals, and cockroaches. And when we say chemicals, we mean the ones that have been banned.
So, you can imagine the extent of toxins and harm they contain. The main reason for this is the poor farmed conditions they are raised in. If you’ve ever eaten shrimp, then you’ve eaten the feces of several different animals — and humans! Are you gagging yet?
Salads are often people’s go-to meal. After all, they’re healthy and fairly easy to prepare. Just take the lettuce and vegetables, and cut everything up before drizzling the dressing. If you don’t even want to do that, you can buy the pre-packed salads, which most people do.
However, there’s also a risk with the fresh produce, as they contain all sorts of bacteria. This is more evident in the case of pre-packed salads. So, always make sure to wash your produce thoroughly.
Lemons are a perfect ingredient in almost anything. You can make salad dressing, you can marinate meats, you can add it for some zest or extra flavor in any dish, and then there’s lemon juice.
However, lemons contain high fecal content. So, next time you’re peeling a lemon, make sure to properly wash it beforehand.
Broccoli is a staple vegetable in almost any and every healthy diet plan. However, if the broccoli itself is contaminated, then what’s the point in a healthy diet plan?
There are about 60 mites, thrips, or aphids in every 100 grams of broccoli. It’s almost like you might have to call pest management to clean your broccoli so you can actually start a healthy and safe diet.
Chocolate bars are the perfect celebratory dessert — or so we thought. It turns out that chocolate bars contain an average of eight insect legs in them. We guess we’re not really in the celebratory mood, after all.
Well, we’re trying a lot of new things this year. So, with that, maybe this year we completely move away from chocolate. It might hurt, but who wants to eat insect legs?
What’s more perfect than a can of tomato paste when you’re making pasta or pizza? Little did we know, though, that the process of making tomato paste is a bit of a hassle — a hassle that we definitely wouldn’t want to undertake.
Maybe after hearing the fact that we’re about to mention, you will lean towards making your own homemade tomato paste. It turns out that canned tomato pastes contain around 45% percent of mold. In other words, almost half of the can is mold. Gross, and highly dangerous!