The Weird Ingredient That's In The Gum You're Chewing

Do you ever wonder what strange ingredients might be in the candy you love to eat? For instance, red food dye used in candy is commonly made out of crushed beetles (via Huff Post). No, this is not a joke. Likewise, gelatin made from pig parts is used in candies from gummy bears, to Starburst (via Mic). There's more bad news for vegans, because some chewing gums also contain an animal product.

Lanolin is an oily secretion that comes from the sebaceous glands of sheep so that their wool becomes waterproof. It's composed of an astonishing 170 fatty acids and is similar to the sebum produced by human skin (via Science Direct).

It has been used in a number of human applications for many years, typically in skin care products like lip balm (via The Skin Care Edit). But it's not only used in beauty products — it could be in your mouth right now. 

The use of lanolin in chewing gum

There are typically several parts to chewing gum: the bases which tend to hold standard across the brand, the flavoring, softeners, and sweeteners. Lanolin is a common component of the chewing gum base (though not the only one — resin is also common). Since no regulations require chewing gum manufacturers to disclose the exact ingredients, well, they probably won't (via NDTV Food).

There is some concern about the consumption of lanolin, and there are even sources which talk about the possibility of lanolin poisoning, which can lead to symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and rash (via Mount Sinai). However, since the amount of lanolin used in chewing gum is pretty negligible, and it has been approved for use in food products by the Food and Drug Administration, it is likely not going to cause any serious health issues in such small amounts. But you'll probably still never chew gum the same way again!