Fake Labels Reveal The Chemicals In Natural Foods [Pics]

Fake Labels Reveal The Chemicals In Natural Foods [Pics]

A series of imaginary ingredient posters show that even simple, natural foods may have more scary sounding chemicals than you’d expect.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 28 january 2014

Aspartic acid. Phenylalanine. Phytosterols. All frightening sounding chemicals that might cause you to put don’t the food whose label contains them. Also, all chemicals that are readily found in an all-natural banana.

Processed foods come under heavy fire for their laundry list of chemical ingredients. While some are rightly labeled as detrimental to your health, it’s important to remember that even your simplest, most organic, all-natural foods can be broken down into similar chemical labels.




James Kennedy, a high school chemistry teacher in Melbourne, Australia, wanted to convey this fact by creating ingredient lists for basic foods that could help allay some of the fears people have over strange sounding chemical ingredients.

In an interview with io9, Kennedy described his inspiration for the project as follows:

I want to erode the fear that many people have of ‘chemicals’,’ and demonstrate that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab.

Bananas, strawberries, pineapples and more are broken down in Kennedy’s label posters as if they were manufactured foods. The posters use E-numbers and IUPAC names from nutritional websites, botany books, and scientific publications to create labels that are as accurate as possible.

Kennedy’s intent with these posters is to “show that chemistry is everywhere,” even if it might make you think twice before eating blueberries. But fear not, arginine is completely safe (mostly). Check out the posters below, and visit Kennedy’s site for the full series.


Sources: The New York Times, io9

Images: James Kennedy


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