9 Disgusting Animal Parts You Might Be Eating Right Now

These harmful and unappetizing ingredients could be hiding in your food or beauty products:

1. Boiled Skin and Bones


What the label says: gelatin

Where it’s hiding: fruit jellies, marshmallows, and puddings (e.g., Jell-O)

Turns out that Jell-O was alive at one point. Gelatin is made by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones of cows and pigs in water.

2. Beaver Genitals

Castor is Beaver Genitals

What the label says: castoreum

Where it’s hiding: sweets and perfume

No, that’s not a typo. Castoreum, or castor, is a creamy, strong-smelling substance made from beaver and muskrat genitals.

3. Enzymes From Calves’ Stomachs

Enzymes From Calves' Stomachs or Rennet

What the label says: rennet

Where it’s hiding: cheese and other coagulated dairy products

Rennet is a collection of enzymes that calves need to digest their mothers’ milk. Dairy farmers use it to make cheese. Not exactly a fair trade.

4. Brain Tissue

Cerebrosides is Brain Tissue

What the label says: cerebrosides

Where it’s hiding: moisturizers

Cerebrosides are made from the fatty acids and sugars found in the covering of nerves and, when animal-derived, often include actual brain tissue.

5. Liver, Brain, and Fat

Arachidonic Acid is Made From Livers and Brains

What the label says: arachidonic acid

Where it’s hiding: moisturizers

In case the brain tissue wasn’t enough, you also might be smearing fatty acids from animals’ internal organs on your skin.

6. Bug Secretions

Confectioner's Glaze is Bug Secretions

What the label says: shellac (confectioner’s glaze)
Where it’s hiding: jelly beans and other shiny-coated sweets

Shellac is secreted from certain insects, then used as a candy glaze. Yum?

7. Duck Feathers, Hog Hair, and Human Hair

Bread with Human Hair

What the label says: L-cysteine

Where it’s hiding: hair care and bread products

Animal-based L-cysteine is produced from duck feathers, hog hair, and, yes, human hair.

8. Wood Chips

Cellulose is Wood Chips

What the label says: cellulose
Where it’s hiding: shredded cheese and chocolate milk

Got trees in your cheese? There are easier ways to eat more plants.

9. Fish Scales

Fish Scales in Makeup

What the label says: fish scales
Where they’re hiding: shimmery makeup

Some companies take beautiful, shimmery fish scales and turn them into gross, shimmery makeup.

Don’t want fish scales in your makeup, brain tissue in your moisturizers, or beaver genitals in your sweets? Try vegan today, and do better by your health, the planet, animals, and your skin (which is probably crawling right now). And save your friends from eating bug secretions by sharing this page on Facebook.

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