The beaver's anal gland secretes Castoreum which can be used as a food additive.
According to Health.com, while it sounds downright disgusting, the FDA says it’s 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.”
Consumer blog Savvy Saving Bytes wrote about Castoreum and found a food industry eBook published in 2005 that lists foods and beverages that may contain Castoreum extract. The list includes alcoholic beverages, baked goods, gelatins/puddings, ice cream, soft candy, chewing gum and more.
So the next you see "natural flavorings" listed as an ingredient on your favorite baked good or vanilla ice cream, try not to think about just how natural that flavoring might be.
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