Claim: Castoreum, a secretion produced by beavers, is used as a food additive.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, February 2013]
Another reason we may want to forgo artificial 'foods' ... Have you ever
wondered where artificial raspberry, vanilla or strawberry flavor comes
from? These are the dried perineal glands of the beaver. They contain
castoreum — a food additive usually listed as ‘natural flavoring’ in the
ingredient list. Castoreum is the exudate from the castor sacs of the
mature North American Beaver, it is a yellowish secretion in combination
with the beaver's urine, used during scent marking of territory. In the
USA, castoreum as a food additive is considered by the FDA to be generally
recognized as safe, often referenced simply as a “natural flavoring” in
products’ lists of ingredients.
Origins: Castoreum (or castor, not to be confused with the oil of a castor bean) is a yellowish, unctuous substance with a strong, penetrating odor, secreted by beavers from castor sacs located in skin cavities between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Male beavers spray a mixture of castoreum and urine when scent-marking their territory. Castoreum is used in the perfume-making industry, and processed forms of castoreum are also used as food additives; in the latter case primarily as enhancers of strawberry and raspberry flavorings used in products such as iced trea, ice cream, gelatin, candy, fruit-flavored drinks, and yogurt. Castoreum as a food additive is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS).