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Better living through chemistry?

Pop quiz: Which item, whose ingredients are listed below, is food?

Item 1

enriched wheat flour – enriched with ferrous sulphate (iron), B vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate [B1], ribofavin [B12] and folic acid), Sugar, Corn syrup, Water, High fructose corn syrup, Vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, and beef fat, Dextrose, Whole eggs, Modified corn starch, Cellulose gum, Whey, Leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), Salt, Cornstarch, Corn flour, Corn syrup solids, Mono and diglycerides, Soy lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Dextrin, Calcium caseinate, Sodium stearol lactylate, Wheat gluten, Calcium sulphate, Natural and artificial flavours, Caramel colour, Sorbic acid (to retain freshness), Colour added (yellow 5, red 40)

Item 2

Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamide MEA, Glycol Distearate, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-7M, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Item 3

vegetable soap base, glycerin, honey, buttermilk powder, avena sativa (oat) kernel meal, fragrance

If you guessed item number 1 you’d be right…sort of. Number 1 is a list of ingredients in a Twinkie.¬† For a fascinating look at all 37 ingredients, check out Dwight Eschliman’s photos.

The moral of the story? If you can’t distinguish the ingredients of your food from the ingredients in shampoo (#2) or even organic baby wash (#3) you might want to rethink eating it.

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