Otis Spunkmeyer Didn’t Duck It … Or Did They?
Posted by WriteTheCompany.com
A comment on another Write The Company post, A Different Breed of Bread, brought an ingredient called L-Cysteine into focus. It’s a dough conditioner commonly used in breads, pizzas, pastas, pastries and other baking products. After reading more about L-Cysteine, I thought I was gonna lose my cookies, so I wrote Otis Spunkmeyer to learn more about how they use it…
Dear Mr. Spunkmeyer:
After reviewing the ingredients in Otis Spunkmeyer Cinnamon Raisin Bagels (item code 26120), I see they contain L-Cysteine. I understand L-Cysteine is a common non-essential amino acid used in commercial breads. I also understand this ingredient is derived from human hair, of which I read that most is gathered from the floors of barbershops and hair salons in China and harvested there to make L-Cysteine.
First of all, that is completely gross! Second of all, it disgusting! Third of all, it’s disturbing. And most of all, it’s nauseating! Why is L-Cysteine necessary to include in your Cinnamon Raisin Bagels? How many bagels would someone have to eat containing L-Cysteine before they started coughing up hairballs? Do you get your L-Cysteine from China? If so, why is Chinese hair the hair of choice for bread products? Does it contain more protein? Is it the cheapest? Does it fall out of Asian heads at a faster clip than in other countries, making it easier for supply to keep up with demand? Or do you get yours from Japan and Germany, where I’ve also read L-Cysteine is manufactured?
I can’t stand when I find even one little hair in my food at restaurants. Now I’m on the lookout for products containing L-Cysteine. It also seems really, really wrong for someone to have more hair in their stomach than on their head. What is Otis Spunkmeyer’s official stance on L-Cysteine? Why do you use it? Better yet, why don’t you stop using it?
Can’t wait to comb through your answers!
A Representative from Otis Spunkmeyer responded with:
Thank you for your questions and concern. We have contacted our research and development department regarding your questions and this is the response we have received:
April 3, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
Certification provided to us from our vendors indicates the source of the above said ingredient is to be chicken/duck feathers.
We hope this provides you with the information you require.
<Vice President, Department>
If you have any other concerns regarding our products or questions in general, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
Final Thoughts: While it’s cool Otis Spunkmeyer didn’t duck the question, they did chicken out and duck an explanation regarding why they use L-Cysteine. To their credit, duck and chicken feathers sound way more appetizing than Chinese barbershop floor hair. On the other hand, I’m highly allergic to feathers and really don’t care for the idea of washing down my bagels with a side of Benedryl.
In addition to human hair and duck or chicken feathers, it’s been reported that L-Cysteine is also being produced from hog hair, petroleum byproducts and cow horns. Hog hair brings a whole new meaning to the term making a pig of yourself. Plus, hog hair bagels are a definite no-no for Bar and Bat Mitzvah lunch celebrations. Byproducts of petroleum can’t be good either simply because so many people already have a problem with gas. And cow horns just sound like they’re going to make the cream cheese a wee bit too crunchy.
Some news articles say duck and chicken feathers are now the preferred L-Cysteine choice over human hair from China. Maybe so, but every time I see a bald Asian, I’m still going to wonder. Even still, no matter what your religion, it’s time for everyone who eats dough products to get to the L-Cysteine Chapel ASAP and frantically pray to the Food Gods for this ingredient to go away.
Whether you’re completely grossed out or not by L-Cysteine, here’s where you can start to learn more about it:
> L-Cysteine in Bread Products Still Mostly Sources from Human Hair, Duck Feathers, Hog Hair
> True fact: A common ingredient in commercial breads is derived from human hair harvested in China
> Common Bread Ingredient, L-Cysteine Derived From Human Hair
If you don’t mind duck or chicken feathers in your bagels, consider Otis Spunkmeyer. However, if you discover a product contains something in it that makes you want to puke, one way to protest the use of it is to Write The Company.