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Three lunch bagsIt was a smart move to pack a healthy lunch for yourself and your family instead of being exposed to the potential risks of a cafeteria or restaurant’s more processed and calorie-heavy options…right?

Technically, yes. But before you head out with that brown bag you’ve prepared with so much love, there may be a few things you need to know about some shockingly gross ingredients found in popular lunch foods, such as:

What: Beaver Anal Gland Juice

What name it goes by: Castoreum/ “Natural Flavoring”

What it can be found in: Any foods flavored with vanilla or raspberry, as well as some dairy products, such as pudding and yogurt.

Lunch alternatives: According to the FDA, castoreum, which is a brown slime that comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, is generally safe for consumption. However, you can avoid this ingredient by buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit.

What: Beetles

What name it goes by: Carmine/Cochineal Extract

What it can be found in: Yogurt, juice and some processed baked goods.

Lunch alternatives: Though there have been reports of allergic reactions caused by this bright red food colorant, it has been deemed safe for most people. However, you can also simply check labels to ensure that this ingredient hasn’t been added.

5 Icky Things You’re Putting In Your Lunch  was originally published on

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