Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beaver-Butt Juice, Crushed Beetles, Calf Tongues in Our Food, Oh My!

As creative as some people think I am, I really do not make this stuff up.

An excellent article in the November/December 2007 issue of VegNews magazine ("Code Red: Deciphering the Discombobulating Language of Food Labels") discusses crap that is in our food that the government permits without us being notified.

Vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike should be horrified that certain ingredients are not specifically spelled out for us on our food labels.

According to the article, the Code of Federal Regulations "permits food manufacturers to list a gaggle of ingredients as 'natural' flavors, so long as they are derived from 'nature' without undergoing excessive physical processing conditions during development, such as extreme temperatures or pressures."

WARNING: Don't read the following while (or shortly after) eating!

One such ingredient the federal code covers is castoreum, which is literally extracted from a beaver's anal glands. According to VegNews, the pungent, creamy substance has been used for more than 80 years in baked goods, condiments, and candies. Can you say "gross," boys and girls!

The article goes on to discuss other crap that might be in our food without us knowing it, such as carmine or cochineal, which is the ground-up carcasses of beetles. The additive is said to be used as a coloring in processed foods.

Consumers should be revolting about the practice of food manufacturers not informing us about what is really in our food. Not sure if letters to our representatives or FDA would do any good in changing the law, but feel free to spread the word (instead of a beaver's butt) about this topic to others.

Be sure to order a back issue of the November/December 2007 VegNews magazine to read the in-depth article which gives a detailed list of what is what.