How many times have you tried to read the label on a food product you bought, only to see that there are too many non-recognizable words in Latin, but you ate the food anyway?

Food labels often contain very useful information about what we are eating, such as the number of calories, percentage of trans fats, the presence of healthy vitamins and minerals, and even the origin of the manufacturer. This information helps us make smart and healthy choices about what we are eating.

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However, food labeling is not always as transparent as we’d like it to be. For one, health departments and food regulation agencies such as the FDA and USDA can’t possibly inspect every single food packaging that makes it on the market. In addition to that, they can’t protect us from ingredients that we’ve never heard of before. What we can do for ourselves is become better informed about common ingredients and additions to food. Many of them might not sit so well with us once we know where they came from.

The following infographic presents 14 unusual food facts and ingredients, where “unusual” can easily be replaced with “gross”, “disturbing” or “alarming”. The fact that these ingredients are accepted and approved by the highest food regulative bodies, and that we’ve been eating these products for years, means we are safe to continue eating them, but being safe isn’t the only prerequisite for a healthy, balanced meal.

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For example, bread is among the most commonly consumed foods on the planet. Bread ingredients can vary from regular wheat, rye and barley, to specialty and organic ingredients. However, there’s one ingredient that you certainly wouldn’t expect to find in a loaf of bread – human hair! Under the veil of a pretty unfamiliar name to most people, the amino acid L-cysteine is derived from human hair and used as dough conditioner in the baking industry. This is not a unique example of a pretty weird origin of what we eat. There are many more!

“14 Bizarre Ingredients Hidden in Your Food Labels” is a collection of unusual facts about food ingredients that are either missing from food packaging labels, difficult to recognize in Latin, or don’t give away their origin. Hopefully the infographic will help you make better informed choices about your diet.

14 Bizarre Ingredients in food you might not know


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