An important food additive used in commercial bread production is often made from human hair, says television programme Keuringsdienst van Waarde, in an episode to be broadcast on Thursday evening.
The amino acid L-cysteine is often made from grain but cheaper production methods include duck feathers and human hair gleaned from hairdressing salons, the programme found. Its researchers visited two factories in China where human hair is turned into L-cysteine.
The trailer and advance publicity for the show do not say if the researchers actually found versions of the additive containing hair is being used in the Netherlands.
However, the director of Dutch bakery ingredients group Sonneveld told the Volkskrant he cannot imagine human hair ends up in Dutch bread.
‘Almost all Dutch bakers who add L-cysteine to their bread use the vegetable-based variety,’ Cees Hack is quoted as saying. ‘Fewer than 10% use the animal-based version from China and I cannot imagine they would do business with this sort of factory.’
It is against EU law to use any form of human remains in food. If that is the case, then the Chinese companies are committing fraud and there should be an immediate import ban, he said.
When used as a food additive, L-cysteine has the E number E920.
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