Beaver Anal Gland Juice aka Natural Flavoring? « Health Now, Wealth Forever

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By Felicia, on February 15th, 2013

Recently my Uncle posted a link on Facebook about the 11 scariest things in our food.  I am going to write a series of articles outlining them all starting with Castoreum or Beaver anal gland juice.

“Castoreum is a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. The discharge of the castor sac is combined with the beaver’s urine, and used during scent marking of territory. Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail.” (1) This “natural” flavoring has been used as a food additive for nearly 80 years and according to Wikipedia, “the annual industry consumption is around 300 pounds.” (2) 

Gross right? It is constantly amazing to me what the FDA approves or considers GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for us to consume.  Castoreum is added to food under the guise of natural flavoring and is generally in vanilla, strawberry and raspberry flavored, processed foods. (2,3)  Of course when you look at the ingredient label, you won’t find castoreum or beaver anal gland juice but if the ingredient statement is a mile long and filled with things you can’t pronounce or haven’t a clue what they are, it is safe to assume that the natural flavoring is castoreum.

In my opinion, the only way to escape the chemicals and anal juices that the FDA has deemed GRAS is to buy local food, to buy unprocessed food and to be informed.  We are in control of what we eat, we need to stop letting the FDA dictate what is natural.  We should read the labels and if there is something we can’t explain or even pronounce it is probably something that would be considered absolutely disgusting.

Next week: Interestified Fat

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