If you have ever read the ingredients label of various hamburgers or hotdogs, you may have noticed an ingredient name sodium erythorbate. However, have you heard about the rumor that erythorbate is euphemism for earthworms. This has already caused panic among consumers of these foods.
However, where did this rumor come from, when I check through the internet, I found 2 sources. The first one is a common misspell of erythorbate – earthobate which makes people associate this ingredient with something from earth.
The other source is related to McDonalds. When asked about whether McDonalds use ground up earthworms to extend patties of their hamburgers, Ray Kroc, owner of McDonalds, responded, “We couldn't afford to grind worms into our meat. Hamburger costs a dollar and a half a pound, and night crawlers are six dollars.”
But notice he knew the price. You'd better hope the cost of worms doesn't go down. – Jill
So what is erythorbate?
Erythorbate is salt of erythorbic acid which is an isomer of Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid). It also poses similar effect as vitamin C and its salt. Erythorbate is much more efficient as antioxidant than ascorbate (salt of vitamin C) without acidic taste. So it’s added to hotdogs and hamburgers to keep the taste and appearance of meat fresh without changing the taste. It’s widely used in meat processing, beverage and cosmetics to improve antioxidant effect. Erythorbate is usually produced through fermentation of corn starch etc... Take it easy, this ingredient is not the one that makes hamburgers and hotdogs gross.