Jelly Beans have long since been a representation of Easter and have graced, dare I say, billions of Easter baskets over the years. But how much do you know about just how these sugary treats are made? You just may want to re-think putting these in your child’s Easter Basket this year.
Although jelly beans as we know them are not a great thing for anyone to consume just for the sugar and corn-syrup content alone but do you know how jelly beans get that pretty, shiny outer coating on them? Well after you read this you may not only never buy another jelly bean, even those super-cool, fancy-flavored gourmet beans everyone loves. So if you love jelly beans so much that you really don’t want to give them up and do not want to know how they are made you are going to want to stop reading this now and munch away but you may want this information and quick since Easter is about a week away.
Okay here we go… have you ever wondered where jelly beans get that shiny coating that covers the gooey sugar inside? Maybe you have never even thought about it like me but now that I know I will never buy or eat another one again. I have accumulated a long list of so-called edibles over the years that once I found out how and with what they are made that I have never touched again and had many a nightmare over. This is just yet another “food” that has gone on that list.
The shiny coating on those pretty colored beans is a shellac, you know kind of like the layer of coating over a hard wood floor or shelf. This particular shellac is considered GRAS, which means generally recognized as safe, by the FDA and we all know that the FDA would not allow bad things in our foods, right? Yeah right! The completely disgusting reality is that the shellac that is used to cover those brightly colored jelly beans is made from the excrement of beetles. Yes, you heard that right! The female beetles “poop” forms a tunnel-like tube on the branches of trees in Thailand and India and these tunnels are called cocoons even though they are not cocoons in the way we all know. These bugs live off the sap from the trees and leave their excrement behind and the beetle dung is heated. The raw shellac contains bark pieces and even parts of the bugs themselves and when heated begins to liquefy and the tiny pieces of bug and bark are strained out. The sticky shellac is dried out in flat sheets and broken up into flakes, bagged and sold.
Are you completely grossed out yet? Did you throw away the 5 bags of jelly beans you have already bought? The dried shellac that has been sold by the bagful is then added to some denatured alcohol in order to dissolve the flakes and make a liquid which is the shellac. Shellac is used in everything from the making of furniture, mascara, aluminum foil, hairspray shampoo and more, even fertilizer. In foods, shellac is most commonly used as a glaze made from being mixed with confectioner’s sugar and is even used on coffee beans.
As a general rule, all candies that have a shiny outer shell contains this mixture. This includes Malted Milk Balls, sugar babies and so much more that I can not possibly list them all. M&M’s are an exception to this rule and do not contain shellac. Even expensive, luxury chocolate brands like Godiva use this shellac. So it’s up to you if you want to still indulge in these Springtime treats but they won’t be in my house anymore, along with a lot of other items. This is why an organic lifestyle is quickly becoming the choice of many, many people.
It has been brought to my attention that I did not add a disclaimer stating that this is my opinion and everyone is welcome to their own opinion. I guess I figured most people know already that they have their own opinion and really didn’t need me to reiterate that fact but here it is… Guess what everyone, you have your own opinions!! I know, startling information isn’t it? I ran across this information in a magazine article and decided to write a blog post about it because it really shocked me that the FDA allows some of the things that it does to be allowed as food safe. Yes these concoctions such as the shellac go through many processes before it is added to our foods but for me that does not make it any less disgusting or anymore acceptable. I also read the information on many, many websites and even went to the local library to look up the information so I did not make this up nor did I change how the process comes to be in our foods. Yes I also do understand that food that is considered organic and grown on an organic farm still comes into contact with animal excrement and needs to be washed, which I do as I am sure most people do as well. The difference for me, the “green Person” is that it is a natural occurrence and unavoidable unless those products are grown in a “clean” environment, which soil most certainly is not, and not a process that our government deems safe yet does not disclose the information to the public nor on food labels and that should disturb most of us. Just because it “happens all of the time” should not excuse the fact that it does happen. In my opinion ( see I disclosed it’s my opinion) the government has no business allowing things to be added to our food without full disclosure and then we, the people, can make the decision to eat or to not eat those items.