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7 interesting food industry facts you probably didn't know

wedges of cheese including stilton and brie

Whether you work in the food industry or would like to, there are probably many facets of this niche that you have never come across. There are little tips and tricks to every side of the business, some hidden facts which outsiders never learn. Here are seven interesting titbits to learn!

One burger can be made from hundreds of different cows

Sausages, patties, shredded duck pancake kits – it’s all the same. Whenever you are dealing with minced, shredded, or ground meats, they can be taken from lots of different animals. The meat is all processed together in huge batches, then chopped down to smaller amounts before being packaged.

Some foods are dyed

The ‘natural’ colour that you associate with some of your favourite foods might not be how they really look. For example, salmon raised on a farm is naturally white – it is dyed pink for sale. This is to match up with wild salmon, which eat enough shrimps to turn them pink.

Some ingredients come from unusual sources

Did you know that most sweets contain gelatin? This substance is made from collagen which is extracted from animal parts. This is why a lot of sweets are not vegetarian! Similarly, a food colourant called carmine – present in Skittles, amongst other things – is made from crushed-up beetles.

All bananas are clones

All the bananas you buy in the supermarket are actually genetic clones of the Cavendish variety, because of the fact that these fruits are seedless. This is better for consumption and sale, but means they can’t grow naturally. We could be facing a banana crisis if the clones are faced with a threatening disease!

Products can be made and packaged in different countries

You might picture a factory as a place where food is grown or slaughtered, then put onto a conveyor belt to be processed, made into the shapes you recognise, and then packaged. Actually, all of these steps can happen in different places. Not just that, but even in different countries. For example, chickens slaughtered in Thailand are often shipped to the UK in processed form to be packaged up here.

Factory workers can’t eat allergens

If a factory is designated allergen-free – for example, if it is nut-free – then employees aren’t allowed to bring that allergen onto the premises at all. There’s no snacking on nuts, not even in the canteen. The risk that the allergen will come into contact with the food being processed is too great.

Cheese is the most stolen food

Around 4% of all cheese manufactured ends up being stolen. In fact, more people steal cheese than any other type of food. We guess it does go with everything! It has addictive properties, too, due to hormones in the cow’s milk.