Use casstoreum, a natural flavoring, in dishes that have  strawberry or  vanilla flavors. However, it’s not a synthetic plant, nor is it a peculiar-sounding one. It is the term for a discharge from beaver anal castor sacs. In addition to food, this ingredient has been utilized for millennia in soaps and medications. However, “castoreum” isn’t a stated ingredient in  strawberry syrup or ice cream. Frequently, it falls under the category of “natural flavorings.”

Beaver Sac Excretion Used to Create a  Vanilla Flavor

But you don’t have to worry about consuming a lot of castoreum without realizing it. “A long historical use of castoreum  extract as a flavoring and fragrance ingredient has resulted in no reports of human adverse reactions,” the FDA stated, indicating that it is safe. However, businesses steer clear of it for many reasons. It keeps their items from being approved as kosher, to start. More significantly, using beaver sac excretion is expensive.

University of Minnesota flavor scientist Gary Reineccius states, “You need tons and tons of material to work with in the flavor industry.” “It’s not like you can raise beavers in fields and harvest them. They are scarce in number. Thus, it turns out to be an extremely costly product and not very well-liked by food manufacturers.

“Happy to be a Castoreum”

In a similar vein, Bryn Mawr College scientist Michelle Francl reassures the public that due to the high expense, there is no possibility that any form of beaver excrement is hidden in food. particularly in contrast to large-scale crops that can be farmed and harvested, like  vanilla orchids.

However, specialized goods like the Swedish liqueur bäversnaps may contain casstoreum. In some instances, the special element is marketed with pride. The material is extracted by catching, killing, and then grinding up the castor glands from the beavers. Castoreum is extracted with alcohol using a process akin to that of extracting  vanilla from plants.

Usage in Medicines

Unexpectedly, this sac discharge has been employed historically as a flexible treatment. It was put to soaps and lotions and used to treat fevers, mental ailments, and upset stomachs. Cigarettes contained it for a time to intensify the lovely scent. Salicylic acid, the component in aspirin that causes pain, is present in casstoreum. Despite how disgusting its source may sound, this material has applications.

At the height of the fur trade, which nearly wiped out the beaver population in North America and Eurasia, castoreum was discovered. Actually, the species was in danger of going extinct in the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe and North America, respectively.

How Beavers Utilize Their Excrement Sac

Naturally, secretion of sacs benefits beavers directly. They utilize it to demarcate their territory, albeit this is often the responsibility of the males in the family. Because the aroma of each beaver’s sac varies, they also utilize it to identify family members. Their fur and tails become more slippery and water-resistant due to the chemical.

It’s Safe to Eat Your Vanilla Ice Cream

The pleasant  vanilla scent comes from their diet of leaves, bark, and other wildlife fragments. However, you shouldn’t be concerned if your food contains castoreum hidden under the benign-sounding term “natural flavorings.”

According to Reineccius, “food companies will find anything else to create a  strawberry flavor or to substitute for  vanilla.” “Using just two compounds, it’s actually not that difficult to make a basic  strawberry flavor that you would recognize.”