A popular Tiktok trend has been turning heads recently and this one is causing people to spit out their vanilla lattes. It all started when a user known as Sloowmoe posted a video of his reaction when he came to know, where vanilla flavoring comes from. This resulted in thousands of people making somewhat of the same trendy clips, and the search for this topic skyrocketed in Google.
So where does Vanilla Flavouring come from?
If you google this question, the first answer that’ll pop off is a National Geographic article from 2013, it explains, vanilla flavoring originates from a beaver’s butt. Aren’t we all surprised?
Usually, vanilla extracts come from vanilla pods, there are non-plant ways of creating artificial vanilla flavorings.
The article explains how a chemical compound, known as Castoreum, which is used in vanilla flavoring and scents, comes from the anal glands of beavers. This substance is produced by a beaver’s castor sac, which is located between the pelvis and the base of the tail.
This slime-like substance is brown and sticky and to mark and has a musky, vanilla scent that is often attributed to the animal’s diet of bark and leaves.
But you don’t have to worry, In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved castoreum as a food additive, which is generally regarded as safe.
Does modern-day Vanilla essence are made using beaver’s anal secretions?
The answer is No. Approximately 20 million pounds of vanilla are derived from naturally harvested, real vanilla beans every year. The extracts obtained from beaver are usually used in some candles and perfumed products, but almost never in food and drink.
The majority of vanilla flavoring that we get nowadays is synthetic. A synthetic version of vanillin, a compound found in vanilla beans, is used now more than the natural extract, which sounds more pleasant for both humans and beavers.
Text by: Ipsita Ghosh, IBTN9