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Beetles, Dog Vagina Pheromones, and Other Food Additives That Will Make You Cringe

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Hold onto your stomach because you're likely to get more than a little upset about the sources of some common food additives.

We'll start with red food coloring, much of which derives its hue from the female Dactylopius coccus, an insect that's been used as a source of red dye since the time of the Aztecs and Mexican Indians. In food, it will be indicated as cochineal, carmine, or carminic acid. To make the dye, the insects are dried (either boiled, sun-baked, steamed, or cooked in an oven) and then pulverized into a powder.

See also: Cadbury Creme Eggs: Flavored With Dried Beaver Anal Glands?

You probably already knew that Chicken McNuggets weren't good for you, but did you know that they contain a silicone also used in hydraulic fluid and Silly Putty? Called Polydimethylsiloxane, it is the most widely used silicon-based organic polymer. In McNuggets, the silicone acts as a bonding agent for the wide variety of chicken parts that make up a nugget. You can also enjoy it in McDonald's and Wendy's French Fries.

And as for those dog vagina pheromones, also known as methylparaben, you'll be unhappy to know they're often found in beer and wine. The preservative helps keep alcohol fresh but has sparked debate over its harmfulness. To be fair, in addition to being a pheromone found in dogs' vaginas, it's also naturally produced and found in fruits, including blueberries.

You can check out more disgusting food additives, including sand, hair, and shellac at Thrillist, where they've rounded up 10 weird food additives yo've probably eaten today.

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