For years, various food companies have been using "castoreum" to flavor ice cream and other foods. The problem? Castoreum is a fancy word for a compound from the crushed anal glands of beavers.Labeling "exudate" from the anal glands and castor sacs of beavers as "natural flavoring" is deceitful. Its safe to assume that explicit labeling of dried beaver anal gland would eliminate its use in most American foods. This could lead to the collapse of the entire beaver anal gland farming, harvesting and processing industry in the US and Canada. Individuals who derive their livelihood from the beaver anal gland industry may lose their job, as those in the "pink slime" industry have lost theirs. Who will stand up and defend the beaver anal gland industry? Perhaps, the only individuals who will defend the statement that processed beaver anal glands are a "natural flavoring" are the very same ones that believe corporations are people. If the FDA continues to allow dried beaver anal glands to be labeled as "natural flavoring, then we should rename the FDA, the Federal Deceit Agency.
|A ripe set of castor sacs and anal glands ready for harvesting... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Castoreum (pronunciation: //) is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) and the European Beaver (Castor fiber). Within the zoological realm, castoreum is the yellowish secretion of the castor sac in combination with the beaver's urine, used during scent marking of territory. Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail. The castor sacs are not true glands (endocrine or exocrine) on a cellular level, hence references to these structures as preputial glands or castor glands are misnomers.
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,Sign the petition to the FDA,
PETITION TO THE FDA: Please stop allowing "castoreum" to be considered just another "natural flavor" and require food manufacturers to include it on the ingredients. Customers deserve to know when they're eating bizarre animal products.