Not So Random Thoughts and Recipes

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Dirty Dozen & 10 Gross Ingredients in Processed Food . . .

photo credit ~

EWG (Environmental Working Group) research has determined that people who eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day from their "Dirty Dozen" list are consuming an average of 10 pesticides daily. People who eat from their "Clean 15" list, least contaminated, conventionally grown produce, ingest less than 2 pesticides a day.

Buy These Organic
  1. Celery 
  2. Peaches 
  3. Strawberries 
  4. Apples 
  5. Blueberries 
  6. Nectarines 
  7. Bell Peppers 
  8. Spinach 
  9. Cherries 
  10. Kale/Collard Greens 
  11. Potatoes 
  12. Grapes (Imported)
Lowest in Pesticides
  1. Onions 
  2. Avocado 
  3. Sweet Corn 
  4. Pineapple 
  5. Mangos 
  6. Sweet Peas 
  7. Asparagus 
  8. Kiwi 
  9. Cabbage 
  10. Eggplant 
  11. Cantaloupe 
  12. Watermelon 
  13. Grapefruit 
  14. SweetPotato 
  15. Honeydew Melon

CLICK HERE for Environmental Working Group's 'Dirty Dozen' Shoppers Guide


Fertilizer in Subway Sandwich Rolls
While chemical fertilizers inevitably make it into our produce in trace amounts, you would not expect it to be a common food additive. However, ammonium sulfate can be found inside many brands of bread, including Subway’s. The chemical provides nitrogen for the yeast, creating a more consistent product.

Beaver Anal Glands in Raspberry Candy 
The anal glands of a beaver, conveniently euphemized as castoreum, are a common ingredient in perfumes and colognes but are also sometimes used to — believe it or not — enhance the flavor of raspberry candies and sweets.

Beef Fat in All Hostess Products
While this may not bother the most ardent omnivore, others are shocked to discover that their favorite childhood treats contain straight-up beef fat. The ingredient comes included a list of other oils that may or may not be used, so it is always a gamble.

Crushed Bugs as Red Food Coloring
After killing thousands at a time, the dried insects are boiled to produce a liquid solution that can be turned to a dye using a variety of treatments. Some people worry that the coloring — often called carmine or carminic acid — could be listed as a “natural color”.

Beetle Juice in Sprinkles and Candies 
You know that shiny coating on candies like Skittles? Or the sprinkles on cupcakes and ice cream sundaes? Well, they get that glaze from the secretions of the female lac beetle. The substance is also known as shellac and commonly used as a wood varnish.

Sheep Secretions in Bubble Gum

The oils inside sheep’s wool are collected to create the goopy substance called lanolin. From there, it ends up in chewing gum (sometimes under the guise of “gum base”), but also is used to create vitamin D3 supplements.

Human Hair and/or Duck Feathers in Bread
What’s in your morning bagel? If you get it from Noah’s Bagels, it contains either human hair or duck feathers, and it’s your guess as to which. The substance, called L-cysteine or cystine, is used as a dough conditioner to produce a specific consistency. While artificial cysteine is available, it is cost prohibitive and mostly used to create kosher and halal products.

Coal Tar in Red-Colored Candy

Coal tar is listed as number 199 on the United Nations list of “dangerous goods,” but that doesn’t stop people from using it in food. The coloring Allura Red AC is derived from coal tar and is commonly found in red-colored candies, sodas and other sweets.

Calf Stomach in Many Cheeses
In the UK, all cheeses are labeled as either suitable or not suitable for vegetarians because in Britain — and everywhere else — many cheeses are made using rennet, which is the fourth stomach of a young cow. In the United States and most other countries, people are left to guess about the stomach-content of their cheese.

Sand in Wendy’s Chili
Sand is hidden in Wendy’s chili as a name you might remember from high school chemistry class: silicon dioxide. Apparently they use sand as an “anti-caking agent”.

Skin, Connective Tissue, and Bones of Animals in Jello

One ingredient that WebEcoist didn’t mention is gelatin.  
Gelatin Manufacturers of America describes gelatin as "a product obtained from partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from natural sources such as skin, connective tissue, and bones of animals." Which "include cattle bone, cattle hides and fresh, frozen pigskins".

Think about this next time you want to whip up a batch of Jello for desert . . . mmmm, mmmm!


    1. Oh, now you made me hungry for Jello and Cool Whip ...NOTE. YUCK.

    2. I shudder to think of how much jell-o we had during the summers as a kid, blagh! My mom always whipped fresh cream, never Cool Whip. I've not tried the soy whipped cream but maybe will try it sometime. Thanks for commenting Evie!