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Is there castoreum in your nondairy milk substitute beverage?

Is there Castoreum in your nondairy milk substitutes listed as vanilla-flavored, even if you're buying the beverages because you want unsweetened beverages? Turn that nondairy milk substitute carton over. On the back, it probably will say, "natural flavors," not real vanilla bean or vanilla bean extract. Your eyes and brain only see the big letters printed on the front of the container that says 'vanilla,' but you aren't taking the time in the supermarket to read the back label in small print that doesn't say anything about vanilla, but only 'natural' flavor. Castoreum also is used not only for vanilla flavoring, but also for raspberry flavoring in foods and beverages instead of real raspberries, and also listed as 'natural' flavors.

Is there castoreum in your nondairy milk substitute beverage?
Anne Hart, photography.

Castoreum can be made to taste like vanilla or raspberry flavor and aroma. Maybe it's time to add your own flavors, whether it's some type of fruit, cocoa, or your own organic vanilla bean you buy from a natural food store or health store, a flavor you know by the ingredients label is from a plant not from an animal or not made synthetically and passed off as natural because an animal's anal secretion sacs do come from nature. If you're trying to eat low on the food chain or vegan, know what 'natural' flavors refers to in your processed nondairy milk substitute product, dessert, or other food product.

You probably just got beaver anal secretions in your nondairy milk that smells and tastes like vanilla, but isn't vegan and is not vanilla as you were told by the word 'vanilla' on the front of the container. You may wish to see, "Beaver anal secretions a vanilla substitute in some foods | www.ajc." Castoreum is the exudate from the castor sacs of the mature North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) and the European Beaver (Castor fiber), and is used as vanilla flavoring in beverages, and some nondairy milk substitute beverages labeled as natural flavors. See, "Castoreum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." You also may wish to check out the article, "Beaver-Based Alternative to Vanilla Flavored Processed Foods."

So it turns your favorite nondairy milk substitute into something not vegan after all, even when you carefully chose the unsweetened version of your beverage. Instead, choose the unflavored version. At least all it has are added vitamins and minerals and too high an amount of added salt for the salt-sensitive person such as hypertensives whose blood pressures are raised by eating too much salt in what they think is an unsweetened beverage. See, "Beaver Butts Emit Goo Used for Vanilla Flavoring – News Watch."

If you're vegan, you're in for a surprise about Castoreum. The way to find out is to ask the manufacturer whether Castoreum is used in any given product as vanilla flavoring, listed as natural flavors, and has the audacity to print on the front label in big letters that the product is vanilla or vanilla-flavored. Why use the word vanilla if there's no natural vanilla bean extract in the beverage or dessert product? See, "Carmine - 18 Grossest Food Ingredients -"

Why not list the word "natural Castoreum-flavoring which creates a vanilla taste and scent, usually stronger and more pronounced than the product would be if it had a tiny bit of vanilla extract from vanilla bean in it. You could add your own vanilla, just as you can add your own sweetener. See, "Beaver anal secretions a vanilla substitute in some foods."

Thanks to the manufacturer, this family's favorite nondairy milk's vanilla flavoring is plant-based

An email was sent to the manufacturer asking what type of vanilla flavoring is used in the unsweetened version that's labeled as Vanilla, say, as compared to the unflavored and unsweetened variety. The email address and name of the consumer representative is removed from this email to preserve privacy. Here's the reply regarding what type of vanilla flavoring is used:

Here's the consumer response reply I received concerning my favorite brand of nondairy milk substitute, which I will continue to buy and have used for a number years:

From: WhiteWave Consumer Response
Sent: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 4:01 PM
Subject: Regarding Case #:1856426

Thank you for your recent email to Silk®. We appreciate your interest in our products.

The federal regulations don't require us to say 'vanilla' on the label, just natural flavor. The flavor in Silk is a natural vanilla flavor. There are 3 types of vanilla flavors, type 1 is pure vanilla extract, type 2 is natural vanilla flavor, and type 3 is natural and artificial or just artificial vanilla flavor. Our flavor is a type 2 flavor, which includes vanilla, so those with sensitivity to vanilla should consult with their PCP (Primary Care Provider/Physician/Practitioner) before consuming Silk products.

Castoreum is not found in Silk products as it is animal-based and not kosher.

We hope this information is helpful.

Thanks again for contacting the Consumer Affairs Department.

Consumer Response Representative

Ref: N1856426

People buy unsweetened nondairy milk substitutes because of health reasons

And certain types of natural flavors in various products aren't necessarily vegan. Usually, they come from the secretions of animals or insects. Castoreum comes from the anal secretions of beavers, and the red coloring carmine comes from crushed red insects. Anal secretions from beavers can be used as a vanilla-like flavoring in food. See, "Vanilla-Scented Beaver Butt Secretions Are Used - Business Insider ."

If you're vegan and you buy vanilla-flavored nondairy milk substitute, for example, various types of nut milks or grain milks that say "natural flavorings" on the ingredients label, but 'vanilla' flavored on the front to catch your eye when the container is on display, is the beverage made with real vanilla bean, or is it made with the secretions of beavers' anal glands, for example, the secretion called Castoreum, which can be used as a food additive. When it's done being processed, it smells like real vanilla, but isn't. It isn't vegan, folks. It's from a bevear's anal gland. Before processing, the beaver anal gland extract has a distinctive odor.

For those against animal cruelty, the beaver is sacrificed to have its anal gland squeezed for it's secretion to be used as 'natural' vanilla flavoring in many types of foods. It's called natural flavorings because it comes from nature, from the beaver, not from a vanilla bean. See, "Your Vanilla Ice Cream May Actually Smell Like Beaver Butt | TIME."

So buy the beverage unsweetened and unflavored. At least if it's unflavored, you can add your own vanilla bean extract that you know comes from a plant, the vanilla bean. Manufacturers aren't going to use expensive vanilla bean to put in nondairy milk substitutes. Chances are they'll put something less expensive to keep the price of the beverage similar to the price of dairy products. You may wish to check out, "Is “Natural” Vanilla Flavoring Really From Beavers' Anal Glands."

The taste will tempt you because if you don't know you're not eating vegan in nondairy milk substitute, you won't catch on to what "natural flavorings" really refers. See, "Beaver butts emit goo used in vanilla flavored foods | Fox News."

According to, the FDA says the anal extract secretions of beavers are GRAS, meaning it’s “generally recognized as safe.” You won’t see this one on the food label because it’s generally listed as “natural flavoring.” Most people's eyes will not weed out the words "natural flavorings" unless they know what the flavoring is and from where it originates.

Back in 201, chef Jamie Oliver talked about Castoreum on "The Late Show with David Letterman." No, it's not a rumor. Ask the chemists who work with these vanilla tasting and vanilla-scented ingredients that take the place of expensive vanilla bean, which you can buy and make your own vanilla flavoring to put in your unflavored milk.

You can check out the consumer blog Savvy Saving Bytes information about Castoreum. Or you can read a food industry eBook published in 2005. There is a list of foods and beverages that may contain Castoreum extract. The list includes alcoholic beverages, baked goods, gelatins/puddings, ice cream, soft candy, chewing gum and other liquids and desserts that contain Castoreum. See, "Daily Kos: Beaver Anal Glands = Natural flavoring?"

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