Do You Know What’s in Your Food?

It could be anything from arsenic and human hair to fish bladder and dog pee.

Photo: The Guardian UK

Photo: The Guardian UK

We’re living in progressive times as eaters: Tuna spines and cod sperm are on the menu, pork belly is already passé, and apparently it won’t be long until we’re all eating insects. Even the Ikea horse-meat scandal didn’t freak out folks who have been making pilgrimages to Montreal to nosh on the stuff for years.

Yet even in these adventurous days, the Guardian’s lineup of the 10 gross ingredients you didn’t know were in your food is making us truly wish we could un-read some things. So before you proceed, here’s fair warning: If you love your beer, store-bought bread, vanilla-flavored foods, and soft drinks, you might want to look away.

Still here? Let’s get into it then: From the weird to the dangerous, the list covers additives and chemicals used in food processing techniques that make Andrew Zimmern’s dining habits seem tame: Arsenic in beer and wine, human hair (of the Chinese variety) in commercial bread, beaver anal glands in vanilla- and raspberry-flavored foods (this one is euphemistically called natural flavoring on food labels), and silicon breast implant filler in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

If, at this point, you’re clutching your bottle of artisanal kombucha and thinking that non-processed foods are your best bet, we dug up another list to freak you out. (We’re just sadomasochists ’round here.) Turns out all of that natural farm-to-table and foraged food comes with its own horrors—parasites in wild salmon, mushed up mice in wine, fecal bacteria on greens, and dog pee on wild mushrooms.

Buy hey—at least we don’t live in China, where the lamb you buy might actually be fox, rat, or minx.

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