Doritos is a brand of flavored tortilla chips that we have all come to enjoy. But what gives it its characteristic taste?
Surely, it’s not bat poop.
Read on to know more.
Is there bat poop in Doritos?
There might be, but hold on – it’s not what you think!
The reason people think there may be bat poop in Doritos is that it contains an ingredient called guanine that is also present in many processed foods, snacks, and even cosmetics.
This sounds similar to another word guano- meaning bat feces.
Guanine, however, is derived from fish scales and is used to make products shiny or shimmery.
A similar word, guanylate (made from guanylic acid), is an ‘active ingredient’ in Doritos specifically.
This has sparked fears that Doritos might be using bat poop as an ingredient or a base for the ingredient.
Disodium guanylate is not guano or bat feces; it is an additive taste enhancer that is extracted from marine sources like dried fish and seaweed.
An active ingredient or a direct additive is used for some functional purpose, such as to maintain freshness or to prevent separation of substances, etc. It is deliberately used during the packaging, processing, or storage periods.
The fears are misplaced, since other than the similarity in phonetics, there is nothing in common between guano and guanylate.
So does that mean there are ABSOLUTELY NO BAT FECES IN DORITOS?
It’s difficult to say, actually.
Indirect additives are ingredients or substances that find their way into the item in trace amounts, as a consequence of various processes of manufacturing.
You may have come across chocolate manufacturers warning against the presence of “trace amounts of nuts” in their products simply because their chocolate was made in the same facility that also processes nuts.
Similarly, it could be possible that guano finds its way into your packet of Doritos without the manufacturers deliberately adding it.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does permit what it calls “rogue condiments” which could include rot, insects and their feces, dust, mold, and rodent ‘filth’.
This may sound alarming, but don’t worry – the FDA hardly ever finds enough concentrations of these contaminants when they test the products.
It just means that such contaminants may be present in trace amounts due to processes in manufacturing and the nature of the factory surroundings. Despite this, the FDA is very strict when it comes to rodent or insect filth, although there are no specific regulations for bat guano.
The FDA may give leeway in some instances e.g. potato chips can contain rot as long as it is under 6% of the total weight of the packet. But in terms of harmful contaminants like bat poop, it is highly unlikely that it will be present in even the smallest of amounts that could be a cause for concern.
It may just be in the air around the factory and maybe dispersed in such trace amounts that it will not even show up on a test. Even this scenario is extremely unlikely given the FDA’s safety and sanitation standards.
What are Doritos made of?
Doritos are essentially corn chips. Corn is the main ingredient, along with cornflour. Maltodextrin is also extracted from corn and is used as a thickener to increase the volume of processed/packaged foods such as soups, sauces, etc.
What are the ingredients in Doritos?
Besides corn, cornflour, and Maltodextrin, Doritos also contains other active ingredients such as vegetable oil, MSG, both Romano and cheddar cheese, milk, whey, and whey proteins, and multiple flavor enhancers.
There is also salt, different enzymes, and culture and milk solids as well.
The paragraphs below will discuss in detail the various ingredients and their properties, as well as any health effects that they may have.
Is there pork in Doritos?
Yes, there may be pork in your Doritos.
First, if the Doritos are pork or meat-flavored, the packet will clearly state if pork flavoring has been used. In that case, pork is present in the chips. For example, Late Night All-nighter Cheeseburger Chips has pork enzymes to give it flavor.
For other flavors, for which you cannot make out whether pork flavorings have been used, the packet will mention whether porcine enzymes have been used to ferment the cheese. Other animal enzymes are also used in this manner.
But of late, Frito Lays, the company which makes Doritos and is a subsidiary of PepsiCo has begun to bring out vegan Doritos options that do not use any porcine or animal enzymes to develop the cheese.
There are now about 20-25 flavors that are completely vegan and only use microbial enzymes for cheese fermentation.
If you are looking for other flavors that are not vegan but also do not have pork, you should check the packet to ensure porcine enzymes have not been used. This labeling information is widespread in the United States, but may not be regulated in other countries.
Now we will look at some key ingredients in Doritos
Doritos only has one completely gluten-free flavor — the Simply Organic White Cheddar.
The rest of the flavors have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten, which is pretty small. FDA typically lets manufacturers carry the gluten-free label if their products carry less than 20 ppm.
However, Frito Lay has not verified this fact, as they do not know how much trace amount of wheat enters their packets during the manufacturing or processing periods.
So they cannot conclude with absolute certainty that the level is less than 20 ppm. So they have refrained from saying they are gluten-free.
But overall, Doritos contains negligible amounts of gluten, so they cannot be considered gluten-free.
MSG- Monosodium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor-enhancing additive that is found in many snacks and other seasonings including Doritos. Doritos adds MSG to increase the salty, umami flavor in its different offerings.
Awareness around health issues due to MSG has been growing for several years now. MSG can cause health issues ranging from obesity, kidney problems, malfunctioning of reproductive organs, and issues with metabolism.
Most Doritos chips flavors have MSG, but Frito-Lay has released 3 flavors that do not have any added MSG. But even in these cases, glutamate and other variations on MSG are added to the chips.
For example, glutamic acid (another name for MSG) is one among the varied chemical components formed when certain ingredients are broken down. These ingredients include hydrolyzed protein and autolyzed yeast amongst others.
Hence even in Doritos packets that have no added MSG, these ingredients which contain forms of MSG still find their way into the snack.
Sugar, Salt and Trans fats
MSG, Sugar, and Salt are considered to be the ‘triad’ of unhealthy additives. Trans-fat is also considered dangerous as it increases the risk of heart disease by raising the level of cholesterol that is bad for your body.
Doritos claims to have 0 grams of trans fat and 1 or less than 1 gram of sugar across the different flavors. Sodium (salt) content is very high, though. It averages between 150-250 grams, some even more.
This article has looked into all the ingredients in Doritos and the health effects they may have. And no, bat poop is not an ingredient in Doritos, at least not in any amount that you should worry about!
I am Anand, and I am a business owner and consultant in my day job. I have spent years studying what’s inside the products we buy. ‘Feedrer’ is a wordplay on you-know-who and talks about all things food.