There are so many food companies and vendors on the market with revolutionary ingredients and gimmicks, it’s hard to tell what foods are really healthy for you, or in some cases so dangerous they can kill certain people. The problem in many cases is that the foods or non-foods come from established vendors that have been in business for years, serving up everything from pink slime (disguised as meat) to ammonia. How are everyday consumers supposed to know what we are putting in us, won’t kill us?

Sure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other consumer protection agencies work hard to make sure foods don’t kill us, but sometimes their blind tests and the gross ingredients passed off as food don’t account for those with sensitivity issues, allergies, and just a one-in-a-million chance that what you eat may in fact kill you.

Food That Isn’t What You Thought It Was

When the Food You Love Kills You – Who’s to Blame? | Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney

When the Food You Love Kills You – Who’s to Blame? | Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney

Here’s a list of items passed off as food that might not kill you, but some of it is far from being food:1

  • Gelatin – This one will collectively freak out vegetarians everywhere. The jello-like properties that make those yummy looking deserts jiggle is actually derived from collagen, which is a protein extracted from animals. Much of the time, it’s actually a pig byproduct. Gelatin can also be found in candy, cereals, yogurts and some sour cream. Buyer beware: Always check the label!
  • Mechanically Separated Meat – This is the byproduct of what is left over after choice cuts are packaged. This can include tendon, cartilage, bone, feet, beaks, etc. Due to the danger of contracting bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) a.ka. mad cow disease, beef is no longer processed this way for human consumption, but other animals are. This is in food items like hot dogs, and Slim Jims to name a few. “Mechanically separated poultry is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue,” which then gets a tiny portion of ammonium hydroxide added as an anti-microbial agent, according to the USDA.2
  • Carbon Monoxide – Yep, this is the same stuff that comes out of the tailpipe of your car that can kill you, but it is also used to package such items as beef, tilapia, and tuna. Carbon monoxide gets injected into plastic wrapped meat after all the air is suctioned out of it. It essentially blocks the process of oxidation, where pink meat turns brown.
  • Ammonia – This household cleaner is also used by food manufacturers to kill germs in fatty, low-grade beef trims. This food process also known as “pink slime” has been in existence since 2001. McDonald’s and Wendy’s have both come out with public service announcements to dispell myths that they don’t practice this technique.
  • Saltwater Injections – It’s seemingly natural, right. But, not if it’s injected into our food. Excess amounts of salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. This is a popular method to plump meat, especially chicken.
  • Shellac – Candy eaters beware! Candies like jelly beans, hard-coated candies, and candy corn and others get this sticky coating, which comes from the secretions of an insect in Thailand known as a Kerria lacca.
  • Viruses – Huh? Yes, food vendors spray them on some meat ready to eat, before packaging. Bacteriophages were approved for use on food in 2006, because they infect germs, but not humans. They have been used to kill E. coli and Listeria.

More Foods That Aren’t Foods

Here’s another list of highly popular food products that contain more non-food products than real food:3

  • Don’t Touch my No-Eggos – Egg substitutes say they have “natural flavor,” but the ingredients would suggest otherwise: Egg whites (99%), less than 1% of the following – natural flavor, color (includes beta carotene), onion powerder, spices, salt, vegetable gums (guar gum and xanthan gum). Vitamins and minerals, including iron (ferric phosphate), calcium (sulfate), vitamin E (alpha tocopherol acetate), zinc (sulfate), calcium pantothenate, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D3, and biotin.
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! – Because it’s not!!! In a nutshell, this faux dairy product is really water with soybean oil, salt, sweet cream buttermilk, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, lactic acid, (potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA) for quality, natural and artificial flavor, vitamin A palmitate, and beta carotene (color).
  • Easy Cheese – Called a “pasteurized cheese snack.” It’s really just fillers, emulsifiers, and oil. This is the cheese-in-a-can substitute.
  • Blueberries That Aren’t Blueberries – Popular in blueberry muffin mixes. Just take a gander at these little gems that we all hoped were just freeze-dried blueberries. Ingredients include dextrose, fractionated palm kernel oil, flour, citric acid, cellulose gum, maltodextrin, artificial flavors, two types of blue and one part red to make faux little berries. Ingredients include enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid, riboflavin, and may contain malted barley flour), imitation blueberry pieces (dextrose, fractionated palm kernel oil, enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, and folic acid], citric acid, cellulose gum, maltodextrin, artificial flavor, red 40, blue 1 and blue 2), soy flour, sugar leavening (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate), soybean oil or canola, salt, dextrose, mono-diglycerides, guar gum, and artificial flavor.

Potential Liable Parties

When foods or items used in foods hurt or kill people, there needs to be a concerted effort to investigate where the wrong doing originated. The following is a list of possible negligent parties in dangerous food items:

  • Food Manufacturers – Should a food manufacturer fail to disclose an ingredient, use toxic ingredients, or nonfood ingredients, they can fall under suspicion of being negligent for causing injury or possibly even death.
  • Food Distributors – So, for instance, if they improperly store food, such as failing to refrigerate can cause spoilage or salmonella food poisoning.
  • Food Sellers – For instance, if a grocer sells an expired or recalled food, they can make consumers sick.
  • Food Vendors/Restaurants – Essentially, those who prepare the foods we eat, if they don’t store or prep it right, their products can make consumers sick or in some rare cases cause death.

Contact a Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney at Wills Law, P.C.

Whether you have a food allergy and accidentally ate food that was contaminated with nuts, or unknowingly ate processed a food with an ingredient you weren’t aware of using and it made you sick or worse, contact Colorado Springs Personal Injury Attorney Wm Andrew “Drew” Wills II. Drew has more than 30 years of experience protecting the rights of individuals, who are injured people through no intended fault of their own.

The sooner you can schedule an appointment for an initial consultation, the sooner Drew can start building a solid case to help you fight for your rights and get you the best outcome possible.

Call Drew at (719) 633-8500 or email him using the form on this page to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options. Drew has offices in Colorado Springs, but he also serves clients in El Paso County and the rest of Colorado.


1“18 Most Sickening Food Ingredients” published in, 2017.

2“You’ve Been Eating Mechanically Separated Chicken and You Don’t Even Know It” published in The Daily Meal, May 2017.

3“19 Foods That Aren’t Foods” published in the Huffington Post, July 2013.