“Amazing Fact #4
The common bread ingredient L-cysteine is derived from human hair.
If you read the ingredients label on a loaf of bread, you will usually find an ingredient named L-cysteine. It is a non-essential amino acid added to many baked goods as a dough conditioner in order to speed industrial processing. It’s usually not added directly to flour intended for home use. While some L-cysteine is directly synthesized in laboratories, most of it is extracted from a cheap and abundant natural protein source: human hair. The hair is dissolved in acid and L-cysteine is isolated through a chemical process. Other sources of L-cysteine include chicken feathers, duck feathers, cow horns and petroleum byproducts. While the thought of eating dissolved hair might make some people uneasy, most Western consumers ultimately have no principled objections doing so. For Jews and Muslims, however, hair-derived L-cysteine poses major problems. Muslims are forbidden from eating anything derived from a human body, and many rabbis forbid hair consumption for similar reasons. Even rabbis who permit the consumption of hair would forbid it if it came from corpses—and since much Lcysteine comes from China, where sourcing and manufacturing practices are notoriously questionable, this is a real concern. In one case, a rabbi forbade the consumption of Lcysteine because the hair had been harvested during a ritual at a temple in India.”