You probably remember the horror of pink slime, the ammonia-laced beef "filler" used in school lunches and Happy Meals until many food manufacturers retired the product after the loud and angry public outcry last year. But pink slime is creeping back into our burgers and tacos, joining a whole host of ingredients and additives you may not know you're eating. In the Halloween spirit, we've collected a few of the most frightening, guaranteed to give you a chill:
1. Shellac, or "Confectioner's Glaze": Derived from the secretions of the Kerria lacca bug, shellac coats many of the hard candies we know and love, especially Halloween treats like candy corn. The resinous material makes sweets like jelly beans look bright and shiny.
2. Castoreum: Next time you're having a hard day and are tempted to down a tub of vanilla ice cream, think about this; castoreum, a flavoring extracted from glands near a beaver's anus, may be the secret ingredient that gives your sweet treat its satisfying flavor. Castoreum has been used in foods and perfumes for years, in some cases listed simply and vaguely as a "natural ingredient." The good news: most industry experts agree that today worldwide castoreum consumption is very low due to the difficult process of milking a beaver's glands. Yum.