Getting around with blinders on

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I suppose I can be accused of walking around with blinders on. While shopping I always look at ingredient labels, however, I tend to scan and look for the major offenders; pork, gelatine, alcohol, vanilla extract etc. Now, I realize the more I look into things, the more I NEED TO LOOK into things.

Today I came upon a product classified as a natural flavoring, Castoreum. Basically, this is made from the anal glands of a beaver. Ewwwww! This is not spelled out on labels, it just sits unassumingly in the classification on a label as natural flavoring if used in a product.

The term natural flavorings seems to be one item that needs more investigation. According to the FDA:

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

Elaborating on this will require a book, so I won't go there but you can learn a lot more by visiting the FDA website and the Health & Human Services website.

Perhaps it's time for us to request an update in labeling regulations.

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