Long ago, when Canada mattered, it provided the world with a nearly endless supply of beaver puns and maple syrup. Lumberjacks and mounties had their fill of both and the rest of the world was green with envy. Nowadays the syrup industry has been quietly hijacked by terrorists like Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth and their crew of maple fakers who can't be bothered to suck sweet, sticky goo out of trees (that sentence is so ripe with innuendo we refuse to even exploit it).
Speaking of exploitation...
Oh, they would like to still convey the image of a down-home operation involving buckets tied to tree trunks to catch the syrup that oozes out. They may even sneak some trees onto the label.
But what's in it? Most brands are just water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring and various chemicals. Yeah, you could pretty much make the shit yourself in about five minutes. Though at least the log cabin people have switched from high-fructose corn syrup to actual sugar.
"First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women."
A company in Quebec, where this impostor syrup bullshit is still taken seriously, stirred up some trouble earlier in the year when they started selling fake syrup in containers nearly identical to the ones that contain actual maple syrup, confusing the easily muddled syrup buying populace into purchasing the wrong thing. That is, the thing most people thought they were getting this whole time.
It Could be Worse...
Last year, news outlets in China claimed that street vendors selling pork dumplings were actually stuffing them with wet cardboard flavored with pork juice, just like mom used to pack for lunches after a particularly rough bender.
After the news hit, the Chinese government was quick to say the entire story was false and the reporter who had uncovered it all on hidden camera was arrested for making a up such a damaging and lie-filled tale about a country that would never allow such chicanery to occur. Shortly thereafter they made children's Tylenol out of asbestos and then oppressed a few million peasants for no reason.
Ever since energy drinks that taste like a mixture of Mountain Dew and ball sweat hit the ground running, much of the western world has been taken with herbal energy boosters, things like yohimbe, guarana and ginseng, because you can never convince an idiot that something is dangerous if it's "natural," no matter how much blood leaks from their ass after eating Hemlock salad.
"I bet all this blood in my stool is from that damn pasteurized milk."
The thing about herbal supplements, however, is that they're not regulated by the FDA, and the ingredients don't have to pass any kind of inspection for quality. It could be anything in there. It could be sawdust. It could be ground up issues of Bulgarian porno mags. And it often is.
What a waste.
Maybe not the Bulgarian porn, but according to one study in Britain of 50 different supplements sold, six didn't even have ginseng in them and one even had ephedrine, apparently because the makers wanted to scam their customers but still wanted them to have an accelerated heart rate and a chance at death.
Hey, a placebo is a placebo, right?
It Could be Worse...
Depending on where you stand on the issue, this may not be worse, but some herbal medications out of (guess where) China, reportedly for weight loss, apparently contain more than the expected amount of sildenafil. More being any at all, as sildenafil is the generic name for Viagra and arguably while humping your way to a slimmer waist line is a potential way to get results, the product probably wasn't advertised that way.
Of course the bigger question is, why wasn't it?
Making something taste like strawberries seems like a bit of a no-brainer. Now, most of us aren't naive enough to think that the Nesquik Bunny is squeezing fresh strawberries into every batch of powder. But, you know, you get some dehydrated strawberries or even the parts of strawberries other people didn't want to eat. Hell, even ground up strawberry stems wouldn't shock our jaded imagination.
But knowing big business as you do, you should not be surprised to learn they refuse to do things the old fashioned way. Strawberry flavor not only doesn't involve fresh strawberries, it doesn't involve anything that's even been in the same room as a strawberry.
In fact, strawberry flavoring (like the kind you get in fast food milkshakes) is a mix of about 50 separate chemicals and none of them have berry in the name. They include:
Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.
But it does have orris butter, the most delicious butter you can squeeze from an orris, whatever the fuck that is.
This is an orris known for its butter production, apparently.
On the plus side, amongst the many ingredients found in your strawberry flavoring are things like diacetyl. Hey, remember that one? That was the stuff that made the popcorn guy sick.
It Could be Worse...
If strawberry's not your flavor and you're more into spice, you could try to add a bit of curry powder to add an Indian flair, the only downside being that occasionally Indian spices are doctored with substances like lead chromate--which improves color--to sawdust to make it bulkier or actual dried cow shit, which if it improves anything really speaks poorly for the quality of the spice to begin with.
"And some powdered cow shit for the lady?"
Oh, and do you like wasabi, that exotic spicy green Japanese paste you can get with sushi? Well, you've likely never had it. The vast majority of wasabi is just regular old horse radish mixed with green food coloring.
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For more disturbing facts about the food you love, check out 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today. Or find about some some food lies fed to you from the Internet 7 Retarded Food Myths the Internet Thinks Are True.
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