Be Careful When You Order The Beef Penis

by Alicia Lu

Citizens of Austin: don't buy that beef penis! It may be part of your regular diet, and we're not judging you for that, but the Texas Attorney General's office has filed a civil suit against a local Texas' MT supermarket for mislabeling and selling uninspected beef penis as human food. The MT Supermarket in North Lamar is being accused of taking non-inspected, adulterated, and misbranded beef penis, and repackaging and selling it to customers.

Let's backtrack a little: Yes, this supermarket labeled beef penis as food, and people bought it. The suit is requiring a manager and several employees to pay $5,000 in fines for improperly labeling the beef penis as inspected and from a credible source. Why? Do you know what eating non-inspected beef penis will do to you? Neither do I, and I don't want to find out. But let's learn more about beef penis anyway.

Beef penis is known as pizzle, an old English word for "penis." The name may be centuries-old, but it's also an effective modern marketing strategy, as pizzle sounds so much better than what it stands for. In fact, it kind of reminds me of a combination of pizza and pretzel, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Bull pizzles were originally used as a flogging instrument, like a close cousin of the bullwhip... but, somehow, over the years, it's become food. I can see the documentary now — From Flogging Instrument to Culinary Delight: The Pizzle's Journey.

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Pizzle is often dried and turned into a paste or used in soup, such as Jamaica's cow cod (another name for penis) soup, which many have said to have aphrodisiac properties. Deer pizzle is considered to boost stamina and Chinese athletes consumed it during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to improve performance. Nutrition-wise, pizzle is low in cholesterol and high in protein, hormones, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Besides human consumption, pizzle sticks are popular chew treats for dogs and can also be used to make glue.

While this case is undoubtedly shocking to the good folks of Austin, Texas, it's certainly not the first and only case of food fraud. In fact, on any given day, you could be digging in to your favorite food not knowing that it's an impostor. We hope you didn't just eat, because the following food fraud cases could make your stomach turn.

Bacon Bits

Mmm bacon. Actually, not quite. Many brands that make those crunchy things you sprinkle on top of salads and baked potatoes don't use real bacon, or meat, at all. According to McCormick's description of the product, they're actually "artificially flavored textured soy flour to imitate bacon pieces."


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Vegans and vegetarians, we hope you haven't been eating this jiggly stuff. Jell-O is made of gelatin, which is composed of collagen found in animal protein, and the source of that protein is various animal hooves, bones, and skins. Not sure if this is a step in the right direction, but scientists have looked into experimenting with human DNA to make gelatin.


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A 2011 report reveals that it can be quite easy for restaurants and manufacturers to mislead customers about what fish they're getting. Consumers receive little to no information about where their seafood comes from, and sometimes the information is incorrect. And investigations have found that many restaurants are putting more expensive fish on the menu but actually using a cheaper variety that customers can't tell apart.

Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

Not to pick on Kraft too much, but the company should be ashamed for what it's labeling as Parmesan cheese. It sneakily tries to list the only ingredient in its Parmesan cheese product as "Parmesan cheese." But then in parentheses it lists all the things that go into the "Parmesan cheese," and those include additives like potassium sorbate and cellulose, which is actually wood shavings. Kraft's Parmesan cheese is so not cheese that the company was legally forced to stop selling the product in Europe.


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Sometimes pig rectum is used in place of squid to make those crispy fried rings of goodness. Since clearly people can't the difference, as we've been happily ordering and devouring this appetizer for years now, maybe it's best not to look further into this.