Where does vanilla flavoring come from? The real reason behind the viral TikTok claim about beavers and castoreum

Does the taste of vanilla in your food and drink come from beaver hips?


Lab Worldwide

The popular TikTok practice makes rounds too – and this one does not have people learning complex dances, but spitting out their vanilla lattes.


It all started when user Sloowmoee posted a video in which he told people to make a film for their reaction before and after the cast “Where does vanilla taste come from?” In the video, Sloowmoee drinks a lot of vanilla latte before asking the question, looking shocked and shouting “no more vanilla!” It showed hundreds of other clips of people doing the same while searching this query posted on Google.




So where does the vanilla flavor come from?

Yes, if you google the question, one of the top-level results is the National Geographic article from 2013 entitled “Beaver buttocks release goo used for vanilla flavor”.


Not surprisingly, this trend is quite widespread, like you know some TikTok’s goes viral.

This article explains how a chemical compound called castoreum can be used to flavor vanilla.

Castoreum is produced in beavers ’castor bags, located between the skin and the base of the tail, and yes, near the **** glands.


Something like brown slime has a sweet, vanilla-like aroma, thanks to the food of beavers bark and leaves.

Castoreum, which is produced by beavers, can be used as a vanilla flavor.

Beavers use these secretions to mark their territory, but it can also be “milked” from anesthetized beavers and used as a fragrance for food and perfume.


The US Food and Drinks Administration lists castoreum as a “commonly considered safe” supplement. Manufacturers have been using food and perfume for at least 80 years, according to a 2007 study by the International Journal of Toxicology.


However, you do not need to worry, because you probably never installed anything.


Why? Partly because it is not kosher, and partly because it is hard to find in large quantities. It is still used in some candles and perfumes, but it has probably never been eaten or drunk.


What is the origin of the flavor of vanilla in food and drink?


The answer is not very appealing – but very interesting – to both people and beavers.

Most vanilla flavoring in food and beverages is now made with the original synthetic form of vanillin. The synthetic form of vanillin – a living substance found in vanilla beans, which gives vanilla its flavor – is now used more often than natural extracts. Artificial vanillin is made from guaiacol – a fragrant oil commonly found in guaiacum or wood creosote – or lignin, found in the bark.

Castoreum “is a high-quality, old-fashioned word… representing all the strange, dirty, and perverse things they do to your diet,” says Nadia Bernstein, a historian who wrote on the subject of Vice. But what is that substance and why is it used? Bernstein wrote in 2018 that castoreum comes from castor bags near the **** glands, and “yellow oil-containing liquid in castors derives its aroma from plant chemicals concentrated in the beavers’ wild food. Mainly herbs are made with beaver. ”

When you see, he smelled a beaver that sounded like a bad idea, Joanne Crawford, a wildlife biologist at Southern Illinois University, told National Geographic: “I’m raising an animal’s tail. I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose next to its lump.’ People think I’m a nut. I tell them, ‘Oh, but beavers; it smells really good. ’”


According to National Geographic, because castoreum is hard to buy – beavers  were killed and their castor bags are “milked” – they are not widely used in food today.

“It is very rare when you find vanilla that is the extraction of beavers secretions in any of your meals today. This type is mainly used in perfumes and cosmetics, ”reports the Natural Force.




The Real Reason for Stopping it and why We use Natural Castoreum for food and drink is,

In the early 20th century, castoreum was used by flavor makers and perfumers, and by the 1960s, castoreum was a staple of beverages, cakes, ice cream, candy, and chewing gum, Bernstein wrote in his Vice essay. Tobacco companies such as Phillip Morris and Camel spray their cigarettes with dry castoreum to give them a more fragrant aroma.

The amount used in flavors such as strawberry and vanilla has been overlooked, aimed at enhancing rather than flavoring, according to Bernstein. Castoreum has never been used as the main ingredient but has helped to bring depth to the flavors found in food.

In time, however, the natural castoreum was replaced with artificial materials because it was not kosher. Bernstein said, “If food companies want to get rabbinical approval, any traces of castoreum in taste should be dismissed.”



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