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What is “natural vanilla flavouring”?

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Popular brands:

This is found in far, far too many places.

Generic name: Castoreum.

Active ingredient: Beaver bum?

Can you make it? The RSPCA might have something to say.

Vegan?

No.

Halal?

No.

Ethical concerns?

Animal suffering, plus consumer rights. Basically, castoreum comes from the anal glands of a beaver, which means

A: someone had to extract it, and

B: sellers don’t want consumers to know about it.

Fact of the matter is: only two natural products taste of vanilla: vanilla pods and beaver bums. So if you see “natural flavouring”, “natural vanilla flavour”, or “vanilla flavour”, well, even just “flavour/ing” on your vanilla-tasting food, it’s probably beaver bum. Some raspberry-flavoured things too!

Health concerns?

None we’re aware of.

Alternatives:

Anything that says “vanilla bean”.


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