Pink Slime and Other Weird Food Additives You Don't Know You're Eating

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Pink slime - a mix of meat trimmings washed in ammonium hydroxide and used in fast food burger patties - churned consumer's stomachs so much, McDonald's banned the slop, according to news reports.

Other fast food joints such as Taco Bell and Burger King also distanced themselves and stopped using the meat filler that takes meat offcuts, washes them in the harsh chemical and them blends them into hamburger meat.

Though the Daily Mail made a splash Friday with Naked Chef host and food advocate Jamie Oliver claiming victory over the stop, McDonald's hasn't used the pink ick since August.

At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers, Todd Bacon, senior director of quality systems for McDonald's, said in a statement. This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world.

Foodie Oliver, who advocates against fast food in his television programs, claimed victory, asking the Mail 'Why would any sensible human being want to put ammonia-filled meat into their children's mouths?

The great American public needs to urgently understand what their food industry is doing.

McDonald's denies the charge that Oliver's campaign forced the world's largest restaurant chain to change its ways.

We are always reviewing and evolving our standards to ensure we continue to serve safe, high quality food to our customers, Bacon said.

Ammonia hydroxide - similar in chemical composition to urea found in human urine - is only one of several food treatments or additives used in the food industry.

Below are some other weird food additives:

Ammonium sulfate: Similar in chemical composition to the wash for meat trimmings, this substance is used as a dough enhancer in some commercial bakers. The chemical feeds dough-rising yeast and makes a more consistent bread.

Propylene glycol: This chemical is very similar to ethylene glycol - dangerous anti-freeze. This less-toxic iteration prevents products from becoming too solid. Low-free ice cream has the ingredient; otherwise you'd be eating ice.

Carmine: Commonly found in red food coloring, this chemical comes from crushed cochineal, small red beetles that burrow into cacti. Husks of the beetle are ground up and forms the basis for red coloring found in foods ranging from cranberry juice to M&Ms.

Titanium dioxide: This whitening agent is used in sun screen, but is also added to skim milk that is normally bluish in color. This chemical doesn't have to be listed as an ingredient, so you may not know if you're drinking it or not.

Shellac: Yes, this chemical used to finish wood products also gives some candies their shiny sheen. Plus, it comes from the female Lac beetle.

L-cycsteine: This common dough enhancer comes from hair, feathers, hooves and bristles.

Lanolin (gum base): Next time you chew on gum, remember this. The goopiness of gum comes from lanolin, oils from sheep's wool that is also used  for vitamin D3 supplements.

Silicon dioxide: Nothing weird about eating sand, right? This anti-caking agent is found in many foods including shredded cheese and fast food chili.

Sources: Restless Chipotle, WebEcoist, Natural Food Finder

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