Avoid processed foods as much as you can. Always check the ingredients list on the packaging.
Ever wonder what those stories about McDonalds using cardboard or Taco Bell adding sand or Heinz sauce having no tomato were about?
There were news reports initally and for several years after that email chains claiming that the secret ingredient of many fast-food items were unnatural and disgusting items such as cardboard or sand. This has prompted the companies to address the perception – see these McDonald’s & Taco Bell website pages. So, are the reports true? Or, are they urban legends?
In Taco Bell’s case, there was again some moral skullduggery because the company claimed that they used “pure organic” silicon dioxide implying that the SiO2 was extracted from plant sources. Truth is that mass-produced “food-grade” silicon dioxide is always processed from sand. This is because the percentage of SiO2 in organic sources is not high enough to be economical. The organic sources themselves are expensive and are not voluminous like sand.
Several years ago, one fellow worker told me that she visited a factory near my hometown (when she was working as a journalist in The Hindu) where they processed hair that Tirupati temple devotees had shaved off as sacrifice. In this smelly factory, the hair was cleaned and hydrolyzed to create an ingredient that is used to stiffen ice cream. That ingredient is L-Cysteine.
Most ice creams sold in the market are not really ice creams. They are called frozen deserts as they are made from vegetable oil such as the cheap palm oil with milk added as just another flavour. Amul ensured this in a lawsuit filed against these high-priced but cheapo MNC ice-cream companies. Unlike the hard chocolate-flavour ice cream, vannilla and strawberry flavoured ice-creams tend to separate and settled down over time. The hair ingredient helps prevent this from happening.
Information for this cartoon was sourced from the book E For Additives, among others.