8 Horrifying Fast Food Ingredients
Care for some fertilizer with your burger?
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2012 3:05 PM CST
Would you like some plastic with those fries?   (AP Photo/Rich Kareckas,File)

(Newser) – Duck feathers, human hair, fertilizer: These are among the ingredients you may be ingesting every time you chow down on fast food. That's because the FDA has deemed certain additives to be "generally recognized as safe," even though it may creep you out to learn of them. On Mother Nature Network, Melissa Breyer runs down eight of the most disturbing:

  • Duck feathers and human hair: These two unappealing things are the most common sources for an amino acid, l-cysteine, used to make dough easier to process. McDonald's uses l-cysteine, the duck feather kind, in its apple pie.
  • Fertilizer: Ammonium sulfate is also commonly used, as "yeast food for bread," in fast food bakery products. But it can also act as a fertilizer for alkaline soils.

  • Beetles and beetle secretions: The good news? An increasing number of food dyes are made from "natural ingredients." The bad news? One of those natural dyes is carminic acid, a red food coloring derived from the dried and crushed bodies of female insects. Confectioner's glaze also includes resin secreted by beetles.
  • Silly Putty plastic: Dimethylpolysiloxane is a form of silicone used in the stretchy toy, but it also keeps fryer oil from foaming and as such, you'll find it in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish and fries … or almost anything deep-fried in a fast food restaurant.
Not grossed out enough yet? Click for the complete list.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
B McInturff
Feb 19, 2012 7:02 PM CST
Feb 19, 2012 5:33 AM CST
Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" touched on this issue. McDonald's is the chief culprit in that movie. if you eat their garbage, your going to look and feel like garbage.
Feb 18, 2012 10:30 PM CST
Ahhhh, now I truly understand the Solent Green movie! The L-cysteine that is made from human hair is usually made from Asian hair - I guess that means we all have a little Asian in us. The next time you sit down to have a desert with raspberry or vanilla flavoring in it remember this - that natural flavoring is usually made from beaver anal glands or as the fancy people call it, castoreum. mmmmm yummy. Now a raw diet is looking more and more appetizing to me.