Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Naked Chef Jamie Oliver's Sundae Buzz Kill

While working on the diet section of my teacher training manual, I asked my friend Bo about hidden animal products in food (she's an expert on this).

She directed me to a recent episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution ABC-TV show, where he brings out an army of ice cream and toppings, and invites a class of 17-year-olds to make ice cream sundaes.

As they happily eat, he tells them what's actually in them.

The ingredients include human hair and duck feathers (cookie dough ice cream), beaver anal glands (cheap vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce), female lac bug secretions (candy coating and other things), and more.

Their spoons drop and so do their jaws.

All together now: EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

At one point, Oliver brings out a list of the ingredients in the sundaes.

As it unrolls, it becomes clear that it's longer than a football field (271 items).

You can see a five-minute clip from the show here.

Later, Oliver gives the students"healthy" sundaes made with just nine ingredients.

The moral of the story?

OLIVER'S: Don't eat food if it's not fresh and you don't know what's in it.

CK'S: There's no end to the terrible things they (we) do to animals --

and people.


  1. Anonymous1:45 AM

    What glands from a beaver?
    Come on, really?

    I don't believe it.

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  4. Medicinal chemistry, not food and flavor chemistry, is my specialty. But I just did a lit search and yes, there is a compound (castoreum) that is extracted from the dried anal gland sacs of beavers. It is used in inexpensive imitation vanilla (and raspberry) flavoring, listed on the ingredients list as "natural flavors." It's approved by the FDA.

    Natural vanilla from a vanilla bean is a complex mix of hundreds of different compounds, but artificial vanilla flavor (vanillin) is derived from wood pulp and the wood processing industry. So food and flavor chemists add other compounds/flavors to make it taste more like the real thing.

  5. Gail-
    Thank you providing the science to back this up!

  6. Well, I can never resist a good chemistry argument!

    I'm reading Brunton's book now, and you are 2 for 2 on the book suggestions. I'm sure I read parts of it at my grandparents' house when I was about 10 or 11. It was waaay over my head back then, but I used to stare at the pictures and read the chapter about Brama several times. It's nice to read all of it finally, and without having to worry about getting caught staring at pictures of half-naked men.

  7. Gail, I have a question.

    Who is the unlucky person to extract those glands for processing?

    And there would seem to be a large amount of beavers needed to keep up with industry.

    They are a protected species.

    So, again, I say there is a synthetic
    chemical blend that is used instead.

  8. There seems to be a market for (one would assume) domestically-raised beaver - and not just the anal glands.

  9. Well, good beaver is hard to find, but I'm not buying the beaver gland story. They are federally protected, those darn beavers!