Feeds

THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

Eager Swedes probe butt-scuttle scuttlebutt

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Sweden's food watchdog has confirmed to horrified netizens that, yes, ooze from beavers' back-passages is used to add a vanilla flavour to cakes, ice creams and drinks - and has been for years.

A yellowish secretion called castoreum is extracted from the animals' scent-laying anal glands, and is sometimes mixed into perfumes and stuff we eat. It's an alternative to vanilla beans, vanillin, conifer tree extract and other sources of vanilla flavour, and is "generally recognised as safe" by the US authorities. The arse milk is typically collected after skinning the beaver and drying out its scent sacs over burning wood.

Although the ever-handy anti-rumour archive Snopes declared earlier this year that this is all true and not a lie, the Swedish National Food Agency has seen fit to confirm the origin of castoreum this week.

And be aware that this sweet substance is normally labelled "natural flavouring" on the side of packets.

"Natural aromas can be extracts from plants, fungi, and in some cases animals. The labelling provisions do not require that the kind of flavour is indicated, with the exception of coffee and quinine," said the agency's Ulla Beckman Sundh.

She stopped short of calling for beaver farms, and added: "As far as I know the beaver is not an animal which is bred, so supply is not that great."

Last year saw the price of ice cream inch up due to a vanilla pod shortage caused by poor crops in Mexico and India.

Sweden's beaver population was wiped out by hunters about 200 years ago when the creatures' backside juice was used in medicines.

Beavers - otherwise found romping in North America, Scandinavia and some parts of Europe - use castoreum to mark their territory and scare off competitors. Sadly, in the human world, it's customers that are likely to be scared off if they know the truth - unless they choose to disbelieve. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE
Examining the frothy disconnect in indie cafe culture
Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay
Stump up via tat bazaar, do a good thing for ill kids
Check your Clungene, Irish women warned
Have a quick shufti, you may not be pregnant after all
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.