What makes jelly beans shiny?!

 by Amanda Lanum

Easter is right around the corner! Not to overlook the real reason for the religious holiday, I read a story about the candy that's so often given out on Easter. One of my favorites is jelly beans! But that might change. Here's what I read from Albright & O'Malley & Brenner/O'Malley Media Group, LLC this morning:

How Jelly Beans are Shiny

"Most everyone is familiar with shellac as a wood-finishing product. It's often used to give furniture, guitars, and even AK-47's that special shine. But did you know that it is also commonly used as a food additive? Yep, that's why those jelly beans you gorge on every Easter are so shiny.

But what exactly is shellac? Are you sure you want to know? (If you want to keep enjoying your jelly beans, I wouldn't read any further.)

Shellac is derived from the excretions of an insect, Kerria Iacca, most commonly found in the forests of Thailand. Kerria Iacca uses its slime as means to stick to the trees on which it lives. Candy makers then come along and harvest the Kerria Iacca excretion by scraping it right off the tree. Unfortunately for you and your future enjoyment of these shiny candies, this leaves little room for quality control measures to guarantee that the insects aren't scooped up as well.

Once that happens, and it almost always does, the insects simply become part of the shellac-making process. And the candy-making process and the candy-eating process.

Don't eat candy? That's okay. You're probably eating bugs, too. During the cleaning process, apples lose their natural shine. Care to guess how it's restored?

If all of this is making you a bit queasy, it's understandable. It's not every day that you find out you've been celebrating the resurrection of Jesus by consuming handfuls of insect-infused treats your entire life.

But before you head to teh medicine cabinet, consider this. That pill you want to take to quell your nausea? It didn't get shiny on its own either."

Thanks Albright & O'Malley! Either I won't be able to eat jelly beans again... or everytime I do I'll picture those little bugs and their "excretions."

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