Frightful Facts That Will Make You Rethink Your Food Choices

Enjoy a little spookiness this time of year? Here are a few fearfully freaky food facts that will make your nose crinkle and skin crawl.

Vanilla Flavoring Comes from Beaver Butts


Beavers, kinda cute- not too scary, right? OR ARE THEY???


Beavers secrete a substance called Castoreum from a gland on their rear end, and it’s commonly used in artificial vanilla flavoring. And we humans use this vanilla flavor in our desserts. 


While the Food and Drug Administration deems this additive safe, it’s hard not to think about it when sniffing those store-bought sugar cookies. 


If that doesn’t horrify you, we don’t know what will!


Jelly Beans Coated in Bug Secretions


Ever seen “Shellac” or “Confectioner’s Glaze” on some candy ingredient lists? It’s a resin secreted from the Kerria Lacca insect, commonly known as the lac bug. These insects use this substance to stick to trees.


It’s what gives some candy that glossy sheen. And it’s produced by picking the branches, grinding them up, and taking out the shiny substance, along with ground up bug parts. Yum!


The Shellac industry commonly refers to it as “beetlejuice.” Seriously, we can’t make this stuff up!


One final frightful thought: wood finish and nail polish also contain shellac. So yeah, the same thing protecting your nails and your furniture is on your Jellybeans, Mike & Ike’s, Milk Duds, etc. Starting to wish you had taken those raisin boxes at the bottom of the halloween bowl as a kid?…Yeah, us too. 


Rice Contains Arsenic


A toxic metal and favorite tool of ancient poisoners…it’s pretty creepy to think that there may be arsenic on your plate. 


Many foods contain some level of less toxic, organic arsenic. Rice, however, is the most common food to contain possibly harmful, inorganic arsenic. 


Arsenic is found in sediment and groundwater. Since rice grows in water and is highly absorbent, inorganic arsenic can build up in rice grains. 


Don’t panic! According to the FDA, boiling rice in water can reduce 40-60 percent of inorganic arsenic.  


Red Food Dye Made Out of Bug Juice


Carmine is a long-lasting, vibrant pigment that is used in many red food dyes.


The FDA says it’s safe, but do you know where it comes from?


Food producers make this dye by extracting the Carminic Acid from Cochineal Scales, an insect that lives on cacti in dry regions of South America. 


If something in your pantry lists the ingredients carmine, cochineal extract, or natural red dye #4…you’ve been eating bugs.



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