Have you enjoyed any juice from a beaver’s butt lately? If you’ve been drinking any fruit-flavored drinks, then the chances are that you have.
Castoreum, which is extracted from a beaver’s anal glands, is used to make artificial raspberry flavoring. Products using this flavoring include cheap ice cream, Jell-O, candy, fruit-flavored drinks, teas and yogurts.
In a recent fascinating segment of 60 Minutes entitled “The Flavorists: Tweaking tastes and creating cravings,” Morley Safer examined the multibillion dollar flavor industry, whose scientists create natural and artificial flavorings that make your mouth water and keep you coming back for more.
Specifically, he looked at Givaudan, a Swiss company that employs almost 9,000 people in 45 countries, providing tastiness to just about every cuisine imaginable. Food companies know that flavor is what makes repeat customers.
So they commission Givaudan to create what they hope will be a taste that people love, but that doesn’t linger too much, so that consumers will keep coming back for more. As Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says to Safer: “We’re living in a food carnival. The flavors are so stimulating, they hijack our brains.”
And he goes on: “We’re eating fat on fat on sugar on fat with flavor. And much of what we’re eating with these flavors, you have to ask yourself, ‘is it really food?” In addition to beaver butt juice, here are seven other flavorings and additives you may want to know about.
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