Apr 2, 2014

Natural Flavoring and Beaver Butt

I have been wanting to write about natural flavoring for a while but I have not done it yet.  Mainly because of time constraints but I am going to do the shortened version.  Typically, I like to do lots of research for some great facts.  There will be some great facts but this will be a shorter version.  Ready?  Natural flavors can be made from the anal secretion of beavers. When I think of natural flavoring in things like strawberry or  blueberry products I think of it as being the essence of strawberry or blueberry.  I never really gave it much thought because natural to me is just that.  Natural.  Until I learned what 'natural' can mean in some instances.


A substance called Castoreum is urine mixed with an aromatic liquid used for territorial marking marking.  It is found in the castor sacs of both male and female beavers and it kinda reminds me of cats because they also use a separate sac to mark their territories.  So it is not actually their anus, it is right next to it. I think we all know where it is.  One source I found is listed here.  It really just grosses me out because I have never in a million years wondered what it might taste like if I added cat piss to my food....hmmm..... delicious?  ummm...no.  So it really is strange to me that it has been discovered and has been treated as a delightful product to add to food.

The FDA lists their definition of natural on this page and pay special attention to the paragraph that begins with the number 3. It seems simple enough, right?  It says: "the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or......" and I do not have a problem with this at all.  The definition of oleoresin, found here, is the essential oil of something found in nature.  I could go on and on with definitions but I will get to the point.

The product listed as 'natural' is listed as such because it actually comes from an animal?  Or is it because it is heated, like the definition says?  Or both?  Interesting fact:  it is commonly found in perfume.  Aromatic, right?


Honestly, natural flavors are found in so many products and when it is in a product it is not stated if it is castoreum or if it is actually a natural flavor.  I've been consuming it so long and it is in so many products that I will probably continue consuming it here and there, and will limit the number of products I purchase with natural flavoring, but it would be nice to have the option of knowing what natural flavoring comes from beaver anus.  Take a look at a few labels.  It is in ketchup, sauces, dressings, soups and much more.  I found one label that was specific about what the natural flavoring actually consisted of and I like that because I kinda like knowing what I am putting in my mouth.  See how the above label says "Flavoring" and then it lists what the flavoring consists of.  That is all I am asking for.  I just want to make informed decisions.




Duck feathers and human or hog hair are used in dough as a conditioner.  Commonly known as L-cysteine it can be labeled as non-vegetarian on the label if it is human hair as opposed to duck feathers or hog hair.  I guess it is really not a big deal since our systems can filter that out, right?  I mean, it is not like we are cats whose systems cannot filter it out so they cough up fur balls.  So that means we are good to go.  You know what I wonder?  How was it discovered that duck feathers condition dough?  And what exactly does it mean to 'condition' the dough?  I am pretty sure that I am OK with eating dough non-conditioned if I can leave that shit out.

Cellulose is a thickener or anti-caking agent.  I don't know about you but I really like my stuff without any clumps.  I mean that.  If I eat gravy (which is extremely rare) then I prefer it to be smooth and free of lumps.  I can understand why floury-type things should be not be caking up.  Shredded cheese?  Forget about it.  I love my cheese cake-free.  haha, I may be going over-board a bit cuz it is kinda funny but anyway, guess what it is?  Wood pulp.  I am not making this stuff up.  Oh ya, and it can be made from cotton and it is used to make paper and paperboard.  Why not use it to keep my cheese from clumping up?  OK, I think I may be a tad bit sarcastic now and honestly, the body can actually filter this stuff out which is why it is allowed in products.  It helps in areas we want it to, as consumers and manufacturers and it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).  Add to that that the body is amazing and can handle small amounts of things here and there.

Cellulose can also be plant based and personally, I would rather my anti-caking or thickener come in the form of something plant based than wood or cotton but that is just me.  Society, as a whole, has become so accustomed to convenience and having things that are appealing to the eye that we have forgotten how to treat our bodies properly.  We have to remember that while we can filter things out and we can still survive and live healthy lives that we should try to limit the extra filtering that we make it do.  The more stress we put on the body the higher the probability of dysfunction.

I am not suggesting that anybody bans certain companies or products, although it might be nice if we ban certain ingredients.  Or at the very least, let it be known what those special ingredients are.  Heck, I am sure more than half of the population would continue consuming it anyway.  For those of us who care what we eat and what goes into our bodies, I say we should know exactly what natural flavoring is when it is beaver sac.

What do you think of these hidden ingredients?  Post your comments below, I like 'em.

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4 comments:

  1. GAH to the dough ingredient. Human hair. REALLY.

    I knew natural flavoring was not exactly what most people think it is.

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    1. I am not sure which is worse: human or hog hair. ick!

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  2. Well, that just took away my appetite for dinner! LOL I try to stick to organic foods...but I guess beaver urine IS organic and natural. ROFLMAO

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    1. LOL!! Yes, it comes from an animal which is from nature. I guess since urine is a natural thing I shouldn't complain! hehee

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