You won't chew your gum like you used to after reading what's inside. Spoiler alert: if you're vegan, you won't be able to eat it at all.
Chewing gum, literally “chewing gum”, is nothing more than a gum that you chew to get rid of bad breath, hunger or to relax. Strawberry, mint, with or without sugar, how is chewing gum really made?
Who invented chewing gum?
Originally, chewing gum was made from a natural extract: chicle, the dried sap of the fir tree. The Mayans were already chewing this sap like gum more than 2000 years ago. In 1866, Antonio López de Santa Anna, former president of Mexico, sold a stock of chicle to Thomas Adams, an American inventor. The latter, who initially thought he could make tires out of it, added sugar by chance: bingo, the first industrial chewing gums were born. Chewing gum arrived in France in the pockets of American soldiers the day after D-Day on June 6, 1944 and was an immediate success.
What is chewing gum made of?
Today, like many other industrial products, chewing gums contain sweeteners, flavors and other additives. A certain additive, lanolin, is used to make chewing gum as soft as you like to chew it. (At this stage, it is advisable to spit out your gum to avoid choking on it.) Surprise, this lanolin is in fact sheep sebum, directly extracted from the sheep's sebaceous glands. We suspected that we were chewing more or less dirty stuff, but this is something else.
More commonly called wool wax, lanolin is recovered after shearing sheep. It is widely used in cosmetics for its moisturizing properties, especially in creams. But the most shocking part of this story is that it is not indicated on the chewing gum package! This component is so standardized that it doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient on the package. Looking like a cow while chewing gum was bad enough, but chewing sheep sebum is not.
I'm a big fan of short stories about people – I'm a pro at tech and smartphones, serial literature, and writing in my spare time.