natural flavors

What does natural flavors mean in the list of ingredients?

There is a popular concern floating around that “natural flavors” is made up of beaver anus discharge.

Before I confirm (or debunk this)…

What do natural flavors mean on a food label

The truth is “natural flavorings” found on food labels is riddled with mystery.

People trust the word natural even though it mmas no legal meaning.

And it is clear that the flavoring industry likes it this way.

Because according to the FDA, the definition of natural flavors on food labels is:

… the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

In simple speak, natural flavorings are supposed to be some extraction of real food.

Yet anonymous sources in the flavoring industry make a startling claim… There is not much difference between artificial flavoring and natural flavoring.

The odd connection between terrorism and the natural-flavoring industry

The flavoring industry actually benefited from the 9/11 attacks…

Because the Patriot Act initiated new secretive FDA rules. And these rules make it impossible to find out what exactly is in natural flavorings.

What does 9/11 have to do with revealing the ingredients in natural flavorings?

Are terrorists looking use food flavorings as a weapon?


Why do natural flavoring companies focus on smell?

The aroma of a food can be responsible for as much as 90 percent of its taste.

Both natural and artificial flavors are manufactured in labs.

Flavorings are manufactured by the same companies that make fragrances. And both flavor concoctions are created by a similar manufacturing process.

Why not just use real food instead of natural flavorings?

The food industry claims natural flavorings are cheaper to manufacture than real food.

They say there are too many people on the planet. And demand significantly outpaces supply.

But beaver anus discharge is super duper expensive to harvest.


Is castorerum really being used as a natural flavor?

Beavers excrete castoreum. It is a chemical compound that mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sac. Because it is near the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine.

As a result, millions of people across the globe might be eating castorerum. And they do not even know about it.

A beaver’s fragrant, brown slime is a slightly thinner consistency compared to molasses.

Instead of a foul smell, castoreum has a musky, vanilla scent…

In fact, castoreum is commonly used in foods and beverages to mimic a vanilla flavor…

And it is interesting to note that vanilla is the most popular flavoring worldwide.

Castoreum is one of thousands of “natural flavors” deemed “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” by the F.D.A.

But is castoreum REALLY found as an additive in our food?

It is impossible to know for sure…

Again, because the Patriot Act protects flavoring companies from revealing their ingredient list.

Side note: It would be interesting to meet the person that discovered a beaver anus’ discharge tastes like vanilla.

Update… here is a video of beaver skinning and castor harvesting (not for those with weak stomachs):

The natural-flavoring’s industry is HUGE

Why would huge food industries take the time, energy and resources to develop something so gross when lovely natural vanilla would fit the bill?

Or profit…

The natural flavoring market is a estimated to become a $6.3 billion industry by 2020.

And natural flavors have extensive usage.

They add flavor and aroma of food products, drinks, supplements – even pharmaceuticals.

The top 5 players in the natural-flavor’s market are:

Givaudan S.A. (Switzerland)
Firmenich International SA (Switzerland)
International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. (U.S.)
Takasago International (Japan)
Symrise AG (Germany)

But there is one natural-flavoring conglomerate that is looking to dominate the natural flavoring industry…

Israeli-based Frutarom is rapidly acquiring other flavoring companies. I can see Frutarom jumping to the number one spot in just a few short years.

Should we eat foods with natural flavoring?

Natural flavoring is focused on adding flavor, not nutrition.

Personally, I eat food to fuel my body. And nutrition is the fuel.

The choice (for me) is simple: I would rather pay the extra money to eat real food (with ingredients I can easily pronounce).

It is for this reason I avoid foods that list “natural flavoring” in their ingredient list.

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Markus Allen

Family man. Truth seeker. Life hacker... more about me here...


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