Next time you savour a vanilla ice-cream, please bear in mind that the taste in your mouth may be anal secretions from a beaver.
The Swedish National Food Agency has come up with an idea that a beaver's anal secretions can possibly be used for creating a vanilla-like taste. The agency has also confirmed that the rumours of using beavers' anal secretions to be true, according to The Local.se.
Ulla Beckman Sundh said that it would be possible to extract natural aromas from fungi, plants and certain animals as well. If one goes by the Code of Federal Regulations, any product of heating, roasting or enzymolysis, vegetable, fruit, leaf, root, bark and so on; which can provide more flavouring than nutrition is considered natural flavour.
The agency representative informed that beavers are unlikely to be a source of the vanilla essence since the 'supply' is limited. Beavers are not bred, well, not yet. Another interesting fact is that beavers were swept off in Sweden in the 1900s. However, after it had been imported, the population of the animal went up to 100,000.
People who are in favour of using natural flavours must understand that everything natural may not be healthy. Castoreum is found in both female and male beavers. This musky liquid, mixed with urine, is used for territorial marking. On the other hand, you may be surprised to know that a significant amount of food items flavoured with raspberry, are generally made with these secretions.
FDA claims that the secretions are perfectly safe. Thus, the secretions have already been used in many food items you have already tasted, such as fruity drinks, candy, yogurt, tea and ice cream. The glaze, which is used on hard candy and donuts, is actually made of the faeces of female lac bugs.
The flip side of naturally flavoured food items is that they are comparatively more expensive. Artificial flavours are cheaper, simpler and easier to produce. However, the more expensive naturally flavoured food items do not necessarily ensure healthy eating.
So, next time you see 'naturally flavoured' on a pack, you'll know what it actually means.
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