SOME beaver bum in your beverage? Or how about hair in your pizza?
While this might sound stomach-churning, you will have been munching on grim-sounding ingredients like these your whole life without realising.
Some act as preservatives, improve the texture of a meal or even enhance the flavour.
But learning where these chemicals and compounds come from might leave you pushing your plate away.
Getty – Contributor Secretions from the anal glands of beavers are used to derive a chemical found in ice cream flavourings
Castoreum is the sugary flavouring that’s made from secretions of glands found near a beaver’s anus.
The animals use castoreum to attract a mate and mark their territory, while we use it as a vanilla, raspberry or strawberry sweetener for drinks and sweets.
But, surprisingly it can be referred to on the ingredients list as a ‘natural flavouring’.
Beaver anal gland secretions can be found in alcoholic beverages, baked goods, frozen dairy products, chewing gum and sweets.
Also, meat products, pudding, gelatine, ice cream, vanilla flavouring and raspberry-flavoured food according to befoodsmart.com.
Getty – Contributor Ice cream and other treats use castoreum, which is found in beavers’ bums Getty – Contributor An amino acid derived from hair is used in doughy foods like pizza
Hair contains the L-Custeine amino acid — one of the main building blocks that can also be found in skin and nails.
But the derivative is also used in bread products to help extend the shelf life.
So next time you’re tucking into a pizza, remember that a chemical derived from hair is in it.
In the US, using human hair to extract the acid is common, but luckily that is banned in Europe.
Here, it is more likely to come from duck feathers or hog hair.
Getty – Contributor Pizza dough uses L-Custeine amino acid to preserve its freshness Alamy Propylene glycol, which is one of the main ingredients in antifreeze, is found in frozen foods
Propylene glycol is a key ingredient in antifreeze but shockingly it’s also used to stop fat clumping together in your ready-made cake mixes.
And you should be extra careful about making sure your dog doesn’t lick the bowl clean because propylene glycol can be toxic to animals.
Propylene glycol can be found frozen dairy desserts and baked goods as it helps thicken and enhance the flavour.
A chemical from crushed beetles is used in some foods
Cochineal beetles are often harvested by hand from cactus pads, then boiled, dried and crushed to make a vibrant red food colouring.
And although some people will have heard of this method, many may not have known that it can also be listed as carmine, E120 and natural red 4.
For those of you who are fans of Mr Kipling’s Battenberg cakes, Tesco’s website informs that cochineal is one of the colourings used.
Cellulose is one of the main building blocks of wood. It is used in some foods like tortilla wraps
Cellulose, also known as “dietary fibre” can be found in wood pulp and cotton and is used to pad out packaged bread to help reduce fat content.
Cellulose can be found in tortilla wraps, so beware when you’re having a burrito night, make sure you check the ingredients list.
TBHQ is a type of phenol that is found in petrol
Tert-Butylhydroquinone is commonly found at the petrol pump but is sometimes used to preserve our favourite high fat snacks.
Worryingly, if you have a fairly high-fat diet, it’s probable you’re consuming an unsafe daily allowance. Keep a look out for E319 on the ingredients lists.
According to Tesco’s sites, Reese’s nut bars contain TBHQ E319 as an ingredient.
Tert-Butylhydroquinone can also be found in crackers, noodles, fast and frozen foods, while it’s also used in high-concentration frozen fish products.
TBHQ E319 is found in Reese’s nut bars Carnauba wax is used in car polish as well as in some sweets like Haribo
Carnauba wax is made using Brazilian palm trees and helps to keep both foods and cars shiny.
Carnauba wax is listed in Haribo Starmix on both Tesco’s and Amazon’s website.
It’s also found in glazed doughnuts, gummy sweets and shoe polish.
Brominated vegetable oil was patented as a flame retardant but was used in food
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is used in zesty carbonated drinks to prevent the flavouring from floating to the top but can be used as a flame retardant in some plastics and furniture.
If you consume too much of the chemical it cause a syndrome called Bromism, which can cause seizures.
Citrus flavoured soft drinks, but in 2014 Coca Cola and Pepsi were among many companies who said they would remove BVO from their soft drinks after a petition was formed.
Paul Tonge – The Sun Artificial caramel colouring has been linked to intestinal problems and even cancer
Artificial caramel colouring
Also known as E510, artificial caramel colouring is a cocktail of chemicals designed to give a richer colour to foods.
Such is its scientifically-honed adaptability that it can be used on savoury meats or on sweet treats like muffins.
It has been linked to intestinal problems and is even thought to be carcinogenic.
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