Beef gelatin is made by a process of boiling the bones and hide of cattle. The contaminates are chemically and physically removed from the materials before the process starts. Beef gelatin is classified as edible, technical, pharmaceutical or photographic, each representing the field of use for the gelatin. No matter the use of the gelatin, the production is monitored closely for safe manufacturing procedures.
Beef gelatin is used to make sweets such as gummy bears and other candies. It is also used to make marshmallows and ice cream. Beef gelatin has no flavour, contains no fat or sugars and is cholesterol free, making it good for use in the food industry. Gelatin is used to add volume to products, such as ice cream and yoghurt, without adding calories, weight or fat. Processing plants use beef gelatin as a binding agent in meats and other foods. Jelly would be a syrup without the addition of gelatin. Beef gelatin is marketed as a powder or in sheets, commonly referred to as leaves.
The photography industry benefits from beef gelatin due to the bonding capabilities of the substance. The paper used to print digital photographs is coated with gelatin to help the colours stay in place on the paper. Gelatin is also used in the manufacturing of X-ray film and other photographic materials. Gelatin is mixed with silver halides to create a light sensitive chemical to produce the picture image onto paper. Although the process is slightly more complicated, without gelatin it would not be possible.
Every time you light a match, gelatin makes it possible. The binding capabilities of gelatin cause the chemicals to adhere together and to the match. The binding process of gelatin is also used during building renovations to keep contaminates from becoming airborne. For instance, asbestos is sprayed with a gelatin product and then removed safely due to the contaminates binding together. Other industrial uses for beef gelatin include in the paper industry, which uses gelatin to make the paper more resistant to moisture, and as an elastic adhesive in book restoration.
Beef gelatin creates the easy-to-swallow gel cap coating on many pills. The two-part capsule is not made of plastic, but of gelatin as it is easily digested and does not interfere with the medicines in the capsule. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin E, are a liquid but when mixed with gelatin form a powder for more applications. Gelatin also adds to the shelf life of medicines and vitamins by blocking out air and light which break down the active ingredients.
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