Weird Nature Products That Most People Don't Realize Have Animal Byproducts In Them  

Crystal Brackett
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Unless you pay super close attention to every ingredient included in everything you use or consume, it's likely that you're regularly indulging in some pretty gnarly things with animal byproducts included in them. These products aren't always listed as plain as day, so unless you know every cruelty-free product on the planet, it's hard to tell which items are actually concocted from strange animal products. From meat-packing industry waste to actual human hair, these animal parts slip under the radar and into your hands, mouths, and even clothing in the most gut-wrenchingly devious ways. 

While products like gelatin might be commonly known to be derived from animal parts, the surprising things that contain animal products go way beyond the jiggly collagen mass that gelatin creates. Surprise animal products such as sugars, laundry detergent, crayons, and even foods like bread and orange juice have ground up and liquidated human and animal matter regularly used to create them or added to them as a primary ingredient.


Bread is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Products That Most People Don't Realize Have Animal Byproducts In Them
Photo: bugbbq/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Stretchy and firm doughs like pizza crust get their elasticity from L-cysteine, a dough conditioner and strengthener. Processed foods also include L-cysteine to extend their shelf life. The most commonly derived sources of L-cysteine come from duck, goose, and chicken feathers. Rumors about human hair being used as a source of these breads have been debunked as a hoax.

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Downy Laundry Detergent Uses Animal-Rendered Fat To Keep Clothes Soft


Downy Laundry Detergent Uses A... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Products That Most People Don't Realize Have Animal Byproducts In Them
Photo: Walter A. Aue/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Downy detergent makes your clothing feel soft and snuggly, and does so by washing your clothes in the ingredient Dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride. It's a mouthful to say, let alone comprehend if you don't know the scientific meanings behind the words. It's a chemical combination of horse, sheep, and cow thrown together with a mixture of ammonium. This creates a quat, or a quaternary ammonium compound, that coat your clothes in fatty lipids and make them soft and static resistant. 

Perfume Is Made From What Beavers Use To Mark Territory


Perfume Is Made From What Beav... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Products That Most People Don't Realize Have Animal Byproducts In Them
Photo:  Roco Julie/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The wonderful smell of vanilla is an easily identifiable scent not only to humans, but to beavers as well. The ingredient castoreum comes from the castor sac of mature North American beavers and the gland is "milked" for its musky, vanilla smelling secretions. These secretions that beavers typically use to mark their territories are then used in perfumes and foods to give it a pleasant aroma.


Guinness is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Products That Most People Don't Realize Have Animal Byproducts In Them
Photo:  Koolgiy/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

While some might enjoy drinking alcohol like a fish, they might not be expecting to actually be drinking fish. Isinglass is an ingredient in Guinness used to filter the beer by soaking up stray yeast while it's fermenting, but it lingers in the product long after the extra yeast has been removed. Where does it come from? Fish bladders. Guinness reportedly phased out the use of Isinglass and went completely vegan early 2017.

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