Top 10 disgusting FOOD ADDITIVES we EAT!
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Food technology has progressed rapidly in the last 50 years. As a result, today, we know a lot more about food preservation, packaging, scent, taste, and presentation. Although food additives have made a tremendous positive impact on the food industry, there are some concerning repercussions. While some food additives are plain bizarre, objectionable, and scandalous, others give a cringe feeling. Here is a list of the top 10 disgusting (and equally shocking) food additives we eat.
Warning: The following curated list of the top 10 disgusting food additives we eat may shock some readers and be offensive to others. Reader’s discretion advised.
Before we go to the top 10 disgusting food additives we eat list, let’s quickly look at what food additives are and why we need them.
WHAT are Food Additives & WHY are They Required?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food additives are substances added to food to maintain or improve the safety, freshness, taste, texture, or appearance of food. Food additives like salt, sugar, honey, vinegar etc., have been in use for centuries. However, the food additives industry has seen a boom in recent years because of the packaged & processed food industry.
We have gone a bit too far in pursuit of lowering the cost of production, enhancing flavour & texture, boosting aroma, increasing shelf life etc.
Food additives may be of natural or artificial origin and need to be tested for their health effects.
Here are the top 10 disgusting FOOD ADDITIVES we eat:
#1 Boiled Bugs:
Boiled cochineal beetles have a bright red colour, which is why they are used as a food additive for colouring in various foods, including ice creams, candies, fruit juice, flavoured yoghurt, pastries etc. It is usually denoted as cochineal extract or natural red 4 in the ingredient list.
#2 Antibiotics & Hormones:
The commonly administered animal antibiotics & hormones end up in our stomachs. Meat, eggs, and dairy have traces of antibiotics & hormones that end up in the food chain. Much of the effects of antibiotics & hormones are not known, but early studies indicate these food additives can have disastrous long-term side effects on human health.
Sand is also called Silicon Dioxide. It is a food additive used as a flow/ anticaking agent, helping absorb humidity and avoid clumping. It is commonly mixed with salt, spices, tastemakers, instant noodles, soup etc., as an anticaking agent.
#4 Beaver Castoreum:
Beaver castoreum is a flavouring substance extracted from the scent glands located near the anus of a beaver. This food additive is extensively used in candies and ice creams and is legally allowed to be labelled a natural flavouring substance (without mentioning any more details).
#5 Silicone Fillers:
We have heard of silicone implants for breasts, but these are silicone implants for nuggets! Many chicken nugget producers use dimethylpolysiloxane as a key ingredient and a food additive for producing chicken nuggets. It helps to get the nugget shape, increase weight and volume.
#6 Burnt Sawdust:
Also known as liquid smoke, this food additive is created by burning sawdust and capturing the components in oil or water. It gives a smoky flavour to food and is commonly found in barbecue sauces, potato chips, nachos, bread etc.
#7 Saltwater Injections:
Saltwater and various other food additives like monosodium glutamate are routinely injected into meat to increase weight & volume. It also helps in enhancing the flavour. It is also called Chicken Broth or plumping.
The jiggle and wobble in a jelly comes from collagen. Collagen is a thickening agent and is found in animal skins. A food additive called gelatin is derived from collagen extracted from animal body parts. It is commonly found in jellies, candies, yoghurts etc.
#10 Bisphenol A or BPA:
BPA, a food additive and a known carcinogen, is commonly used in sealants of soda cans, juice cans, puree/ paste packs and packaged bottles. It occasionally comes in contact with the liquid inside and gets mixed with it.
We hope you liked our curated list of the top 10 disgusting food additives we eat.