So, I start working for my friend, Mark Ackerman, and he makes coffee at the office. I love a good cup of coffee (just one) with some flavored creamer… or at least I did.
Last weekend I was looking over a blog by Sean Croxton and this morning, my coffee had an off flavor that I just couldn’t overcome to complete drinking the cup. (I also felt the need to share such information with my co-workers.)
So I did some research this morning and here is some of what I found… Wikipedia stated,
“Food use: In the United States, castoreum as a food additive is considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be generally recognized as safe, often referenced simply as a "natural
flavoring" in products’ lists of ingredients. While it can be used in both foods and beverages as a vanilla, raspberry and strawberry flavoring, the annual industry consumption is around 300 pounds.
Castoreum has been traditionally used in Scandinavia for flavoring snaps commonly referred to as "Bäverhojt".”
Then I moved to health.com to get their take on the issue.
“While it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” It’s natural all right—naturally icky.”
Finally, I found a bit more information “According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”
When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22
Here is the interview with Sean Croxton explaining Beaver Butt!
Whether Beaver Butt is true or not, it should be understood, that just because something states it contains “natural flavoring” that “natural” derivative may not be from what you were originally thinking…
I will now purchase products that LIST their ingredients rather than HIDING them with words like “natural”. “Natural Beaver Butt” is something I’d prefer to be CERTAIN is NOT in my coffee!