Yes, it's true.
Millions of people across the globe are eating "beaver butt" and don't even know
that they're consuming such a substance.
It's called "castoreum," and it's emitted from the castor sacs within the animal's anus.
For a beaver, this slimy brown substance is used to mark its territory, but for us
humans, it's used as an additive that is often labeled as "natural flavoring" in
the foods we eat - vanilla, strawberry and raspberry probably being the most
Why is castoreum used? The most notable characteristic (after being processed) has
to be the smell of castoreum. Instead of smelling horrible, like most people would
expect from an anally produced secretion, it has a pleasant scent, which supposedly
makes it a perfect candidate for food flavoring and other products.
The question that many people put forth would have to be "who in their right mind
actually made this odd discovery?"
Another industry that utilizes castoreum is the fragrance world. For decades, perfume
manufactures have been using it to make various types of fragrances. These anal
secretions are said to contain around 24 different molecules, many of which act as
natural pheromones. From perfumes to air fresheners,
castor sacs are quite versatile within the fragrance industry.
Is it natural?
Sure it's natural, but does "being natural" make it right to use or consume?
Many disgusting substances are considered "natural," yet eating them may not be
the best idea.
The act of labeling something so vulgar and disgusting as "natural flavoring," should
be illegal in many people's eyes, but the FDA views it all in a different light.
Having the anal secretions from a beaver take the place of a strawberry in something
like strawberry ice cream hardly seems like an efficient process. Why go through the process
of harvesting "anal secretions" when a strawberry is much easier to pick?
It hardly seems like a better option...
The food industry is a tricky business to figure out, and it will continue to boggle the minds of
many on issues exactly like this. Much like with other additives that have raised concern over
the years (aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and food colorings), castoreum is proving to be
just as questionable.
It's the deceptive labeling that seems to be the root of the problem. Instead of stating what
castoreum truly is, the FDA has allowed it to be labeled as something that sounds pleasant
As with many questionable additives in today's food market, the power lies within the people.
Read your labels thoroughly if you wish to subtract these types of ingredients from your diet.
In all honesty, castoreum is probably safe to consume, being that is derived from an animal,
but who\really wants to eat a beaver's anus?
For further information on castoreum, be sure to check out the sources section below.
Sources for this article include:
But the anal sacs are removed from beavers raised for their fur; it’s the second most valuable part of
Food use In the United States, castoreum is considered to be a GRAS food additive by the
Food and Drug Administration. It is often referenced simply as a "natural flavoring" in products
' lists of ingredients. While it is mainly used in both foods and beverages as part of a substitute vanilla
flavour, it is less commonly used as a part of a raspberry or strawberry flavoring. The annual
industry consumption is very low, around 300 pounds, whereas vanillin is over 2.6 million pounds