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Food Unwrapped - do you know what's really in your food?

From ice cream, to seafood sticks, and beer - some of our mass produced, supermarket staples really do have some interesting ingredients.

Food Unwrapped has arrived on Lifestyle FOOD. This award-winning series will change the way you think about a whole host of supermarket staples from ice cream, to yoghurt, orange juice, tinned fruit, beer, and even the ever-curious sushi seafood stick.

In the series, food investigators and intrepid reporters Matt Tebbutt, Kate Quilton, and Jimmy Doherty travel the globe to unearth the truth about mass produced food, asking hard hitting questions about things we often overlook, and the fine print on food wrappers.

To spark your own culinary inquisitiveness, here are just two pretty regular processed foods, with rather extraordinary ingredients, or at least hidden components you might not expect.

Ice cream

The key ingredient in this iconic frozen treat? Surely its name alone suggests a good slathering of icy-cold fresh milk and rich double cream. However, depending on where you are in the world, and what ice cream regulations are in force, many ice cream brands skip the dairy content, and are made with other, far cheaper fatty substitutes like palm oil.

In the United States, the label ‘ice cream’ can only be applied to the specific cream infused variety. In Australia and New Zealand, the food standards code states that to be ‘ice cream’, the desert must contain no less than 100g per kg of milk fat, and 168g/litre of food solids.

And most of our beloved creamy freezer favourites from the frozen food aisle – Streets Blue Ribbon, Peters Original, and Bulla Real Dairy Vanilla for example, don’t actually fit the legislative definition of ice cream.

While the word dairy is thrown in to the mix, each of these tubs falls below the standard requirement of cream per kilogram.

As for which brands to meet the required amount of cream – you can put your ice cream faith in Ben and Jerry’s, Maggie Beer Ice Cream, Coles Vanilla Ice Cream, Connoisseur, and Sara Lee.

Beer

Beer may be the oldest, most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world – so we must be pretty clear on what it’s made of right? Water, barley, yeast, and hops. But larger, commercial brewers have another essential constituent: seaweed.

Irish moss is a type of edible red seaweed, and it is typically used as a clearing agent in the process of making large vats of bubbly beer. Added near the completion of the brewing process, the ground algae are thrown in to prevent chill haze – to basically make the beer look unblemished.

There have been health concerns raised about this red seaweed additive – which is made up of something called carrageenan. Carrageenan is a type of carbohydrate that is used widely in processed foods as a thickening agent, and is often used in place of gelatin.

Carrageenan has been linked to inflammation of the digestive system and irritable bowel syndrome.

Find out the whole truth about your food on Food Unwrapped, weeknights at 7pm on Lifestyle FOOD.

 
 

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