Surprise! Candy corn's secret ingredient is … bug secretion

Candy Corn
Candy Corn Photo credit GettyImages

One of the most controversial candies has one ingredient that may make its fans rethink fighting to support it. The perennial favorite, and least favorite, candy corn, isn't just sugar and food coloring.

Along with usual in candy, sugar, corn syrup, salt, sesame oil, honey, artificial flavor, and food colorings, the treat once known as chicken feed also has gelatin and confectioner's glaze as ingredients.

But what is gelatin and confectioner's glaze?

Gelatin is made from animal hides, and confectioner's glaze, also known as shellac, is made from lac-resin, a bug's secretion.

That's right; candy corn is made from bones and bugs. Knowing this really makes you rethink that scene in “A Bug’s Life.”

The lac bug, specifically, is a parasite found in tropical and subtropical regions, Science Daily reported. The bug is known for secreting a waxy waterproof coating for itself.

Workers then scrape the secretion from plants to collect it. USA Today reported that sometimes while collecting the secretion, bugs are also scooped up.

According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, the secretion is also used in paints, cosmetics, and tons of other products.

While eating bugs may seem gross, the resin is also used in a variety of other foods. Paul Adams, a senior editor at Cook's Illustrated Magazine, shared that "It's not unusual at all."

"The lac insect produces a shiny, durable resin that's used as the basis for all kinds of coatings: the words' shellac' and 'lacquer' both come from the name of the bug," Adams said to America's Test Kitchen.

Certain types of gum, Milk Duds, jelly beans, and Whoppers all use what the bug pushes out of itself, often found under the names "confectioner's glaze" or "pure food glaze."

"It's also responsible for the glossy coating on many pharmaceutical pills, as well as citrus fruits and cosmetics," he added.

So the next time your parents put out candy corn and peanuts, it may be worth it to just stick to the peanuts, or you might be taking a bite of bugs.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: GettyImages