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
8 Horrifying Fast Food Ingredients
Would you like some plastic with those fries?   (AP Photo/Rich Kareckas,File)

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. (More strange stuff stories.)

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