Did Ya Know – What Are Natural Flavorings?

Did Ya Know is a new series to introduce you to some interesting facts! Areas to be covered (but not limited to) food, health, exercise crafting, garden and maybe politics (this could be dangerous).  Today's Did Ya Know is about Healthier Eating.

Mr. Charmer and I have incorporated healthier eating and lifestyles changes into our diet/life for several years now. To us it's a continuous process.

Since going gluten free I've "learned" how to read labels to make sure gluten in not included and started seeing over and over again under ingredients "natural flavors"!

What are natural flavors?  It's sounds like it would be from a "natural" food item, wouldn't you think?


But would you have thought it could be from a beavers anal glands?  Well it can be, do you know how they get beaver butt....yes they kill them!

How can this be?  The FDA states...

"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."

This means the food industry can use anything that's found in nature!  That covers a pretty big scope we would never think of, like...

Casteoreum: which is extracted from the anus of beaver butt

Shellac: which is extracted from the anus of beaver butt

L-cysteine: an amino acid sourced from human hair and duck feathers

Carmine: comprised of ground red beetles

Bacteriophages: viruses added to lunch meats to prevent other viruses

Other Natural Ingredients: rodent hair, insect feces, bone char and mold



Mr. Charmer and I are now staying away from labels that lists under "ingredients"  Natural Flavorings!  We're NOT eating this cute little guy anytime soon!


Do you want to eat beaver butts, red beetles, mold, duck feathers?

I sure hope not!

Partying with these lovely ladies:

Savvy Southern Style



  1. You probably already know I'm into healthy eating and natural health, too - so I've heard about these things. I'm with you - I'll pass on the beaver butt and other gross things!

  2. Thanks. I've got to start reading the labels really carefully.

  3. That's not very appetizing, no! Good grief! I always took Natural Flavoring to mean a sort of fruit juice or something!

  4. That's really shocking! So next time I must be alert as what are the composition of each product before I eat. For sago pearls, easily available in an aisle of Asian product....

  5. This is terrible! Do you know off hand of any other common foods that have "Natural" ingredients?


  6. Ewwww! Ewwww! And ewwww!!!!!! How disgusting! Thank you so much for this info, Cathy!!!! You're a lifesaver, girl! :)

    xoxo laurie

  7. Oh God! Never again. Shocked and how!

  8. Oh my... Poor beaver!

  9. OK, so I clicked on this from a linky party and was unsure if it could be a spam link, hehe! But the title made me curious. Really interesting...and sad. Not something I want to eat, either! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Yes, it is shocking. Keep reading those labels!

  11. OK, this is disgusting! You're right - natural flavoring always implies or is interpreted as coming from the item. Like orange juice would be naturally flavored with oranges, right? Apparently not! Beaver butts? Roaches? Mold? This should not be allowed! No wonder so many foods we eat make us feel sluggish, boated and just plain blah! Even some fresh foods do this. They better not be putting beaver butt in my chocolate! We're working on a healthier eating program too and I will sure be looking at the ingredients. I don't like packaged food to begin with and this will certainly make me look even closer at labels! Hugs, Leena

  12. Never would I think natural flavoring would come from a Beaver butt or any one of these things!

  13. Hi, Cathy, I knew about carmine but I didn't know about beaver butt. Well, it is natural. Gross, but natural. :) Linda

  14. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says:

    Oh my, that's not good!

  15. Oh My Heavens, that is scary!! and shocking all at the same time.
    We are being poisoned daily...................ewwwwwwwwwww and yuk!


  16. That's disgusting! I'm heading to my pantry to check some labels....

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