What’s Your Natural Food Hiding: Beaver Anal Glands

I know what you may be thinking. Companies surely wouldn’t put things like beaver anal glands into things we would eat right? Well, then you probably have never heard of castoreum, which has been used extensively in perfume and has even been added to our food as flavor ingredients for at least the past 80 years. In the United States, castoreum is sometimes simply just labeled as “natural flavoring,” in many ingredient lists.

What exactly is castoreum? It is a bitter odoriferous, orange-brown, oily secretion, that is found in two sacs that are between the anus and the external genitals of beavers.

Of course, if you look it up, as it so happens, no up to date consumer list of specific foods that contain castoreum exists anywhere. Why is that you may ask? Well for starters, would you really buy food that one if its ingredients consisted of beaver anal glands? The large food industry anticipated this, and they were able to get castoreum added to foods under that innocuous, legal, and sometimes not so innocent label called “natural flavoring”.

This stuff is sadly everywhere. From things like yogurt and soda to things like ice cream, and the sad thing is, you will never know it. Of course, if you contacted them, the food manufacturers would never divulge any info about this to anyone. They would just simply tell you that they would never add something like castoreum to any of their foods or beverages. I’m sure if you pressed them however that they would shift the focus away from them and towards their vendors, who supply their ingredients.

A British chef named Jamie Oliver, who not only has a large following but as also made an appearance on the David Letterman Show just this past year made mention that vanilla ice cream was made with castoreum. The VRG or Vegetarian Resource Group contained 5 different manufacturers of vanilla flavoring was questioned to see if there was any validity to this statement. Of course, all 5 manufacturers answered with a quick no, that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla for human use.

Fenaroli’s handbook of flavor ingredients which is a $340 industry eBook that was published back in 2005, helps to show you the ingredients of reported foods and beverages that contain castoreum extract:

Reported Uses PPM (parts per million) (Fema* 1994):

                                           Usual Max
Baked Goods                     62.28 68.47
Gelatins, Puddings            43.58 47.34
Soft Candy                        37.28 44.10
Frozen Dairy                     24.39 26.26
Nonalcoholic Beverages   24.21 29.77
Hard Candy                       24.17 24.17
Chewing Gum                   18.60 42.09

This is nuts isn’t it? I mean come on, food companies couldn’t find an ingredient that gives off the right flavor they want? Nope, they think that have to cut into an animal’s bum and take out the glands, to add to our food to make it taste a certain way.

What are your thoughts about this topic? We would love to know what you think about all of this.


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What’s Your Natural Food Hiding: Beaver Anal Glands Reviewed by Unknown on 1:22:00 PM Rating: 5

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