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Author Topic: Are beaver balls employed to flavor berry sodas?
megaira
The Red and the Green Stamps


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This kosher site claims that castoreum (spelled castorium on the site), derived from beaver sex glands, is used in some berry flavored drinks. I've also heard it's used in orange soda.

The encyclopedia says: "Both sexes have scent glands located in a pouch in the anal region. The musky secretion, castoreum, which may function as a sexual attractant, was once believed to have medicinal properties, and the glands, or castors, were of commercial value. "

This page says it's been used in medicine.


The FDA says:

It's ok in pharmecuticals.

But, it's also in the directory of food additives.

And, "generally recognized as safe for their intended use, within the meaning of section 409 of the Act"

Section 409 appears to indicate:

quote:

"Section 409, applying to additives, requires that only uses that may be demonstrated to be "safe" be permitted. Soon after this section's addition to the FFDCA in 1958, the agency officially defined "safe" as meaning "that there is a reasonable certainty in the minds of competent scientists that the substance is not harmful under the intended conditions of use" but recognized that absolute safety could not be definitively guaranteed (21 CFR 170.3). "

But I haven't found anywhere that it can't be used in actual food.

Is it possible? I think it's a stretch, but if so what nut sat down and thought "hmm, I wonder how beaver balls might work as a beverage flavoring?"

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I think the cost of using them would be prohibitive. Consider how many gallons of soda are made, and how many beavers you would need to have even a tiny amount of beaver gland derivative in each soda can.

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fyregirl
Xboxing Day


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Meg, that is the funniest thread title I have read, I think ever.

Thanks, I needed that.

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Tallon Roe, Supersized Beastie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Good point. It would take an awful lot of beavers to make the amount of berry-flavored cola that we consume. I have no doubt that this is what was used, but nowadays, with the amount of said soda produced, I imagine the big soft drink companies have found a cheaper, more plentiful replacement.

-T.

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Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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What we need now are some comments about how beaver tastes.

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Fools! You've over-estimated me!

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nerdymcnerd
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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You owe me a new job cause after that outburst I may get fired [lol]

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oh pleeze
It's So Cheesy (to Fall in Love)


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^has beaver-like teeth.... [Razz]
quote:
Originally posted by Giant Radioactive Troodon:
What we need now are some comments about how beaver tastes.

maybe this'll help:

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/6470/wildp50.html

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op

i'm taking the afternoon off to stalk my previous boss who fired me for taking afternoons off.

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TB Tabby
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Ah...an old-school urban legend. This one's right up there with the worms and cow eyeballs in the Big Macs.

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Kamino Neko
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by TB Tabby:
Ah...an old-school urban legend. This one's right up there with the worms and cow eyeballs in the Big Macs.

Except, of course, for the fact that Castoreum is, according to the FDA, used as a food additive.

FDA Food Additive Status List. (PDF file) Castoreum is listed, though as 'Miscelaneous', not in any specific usage.

A more specific cite on the production and use of Castoreum.

It's apparently also used in cigarettes.

Tengu 'Mmm...beaver' Nekogami

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Merry Merry-go-round, Funky Funky Playground

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megaira
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:

It is used to add depth and naturalness to artificial vanilla, maple, chocolate and berry flavorings.

Every little kid that's ever had a vanilla frosted chocolate cupcake at a birthday party...possibly ate beaver ass extract.


The funny part is that most of us go "eww" at the thought of kopi luwak coffee, but mmmm, vanilla creme soda....

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die daagliks phosdex
Monster Mashed Potatos & Grave-y


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Some interesting historical perspective:

Gerald K. Carlson, in "...Two for a Horse:" A Pictorial History, Grave and Comic, of Patent Medicines (1962), notes where oil of almonds were frequently used for the "wild cherry" flavour in numerous "cherry pectorals" as were common in the salad days of patent medicines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Wistar's Balsam of Wild Cherry easily comes to mind.

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"Nie lees die hoofopskrifte--lees die daagliks phosdex in plaas ..."

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Il-Mari
We Three Blings


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Dave Barry would no doubt note that 'Beaver Ass Extract' would make an excellent name for a rock band.

Anyway, I'm sure there's an artificial way of producing it, ones that's used in most of the industry today (but Jews wouldn't want to take the risk of it being natural, thus the kosher warnings).

Eric Schlosser talks about these kinds of things in Fast Food nation in a section on the differences between 'natural' and 'artificial' flavors and colors as they are listed on packaging. One of the examples he uses is some type of red dye that comes from the carapaces of some insects and the use of which allows a manufacturer to say they use 'natural colorings', but the same dye can be produced in a lab for less money, but even though it's chemically indistinguishable from the extract from the beetle carapaces, products using this would have to state they use 'artificial colors' (this section includes many examples of how 'natural' compounds can be manipulated to make various flovorings and colorings, the point being that there's no real chemical differences between 'natural' and 'artificial' adjectives on food labels) .

So in conclusion, if you don't wanna drink beaver ass extract, you're probably better off looking for sodas with 'artificial flavors and colors' on the label.

- Il-Mari

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When you mix faith with science, you serve neither and weaken both.

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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This thread is fun and ridiculous at the same time!

If beaver castors were really used for the products mentioned there would have to be an industry for raising beavers for this purpose; and there isn't. Or thousands of scraggly-bearded fur trappers would be sending beaver balls to Pepsi and Coca-Cola Corporations; and they aren't.

Sometimes just calmly thinking through the reality of the real world blows Urban Legends into the weeds.

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Joostik
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Il-Mari:
... some type of red dye that comes from the carapaces of some insects ...

That would be Natural Carmine or Cochenille.
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Kamino Neko
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Barns & No Bull:
Sometimes just calmly thinking through the reality of the real world blows Urban Legends into the weeds.

Right. So, let's do so, shall we?

The FDA and its Canadian equivelant both generally regard Castoreum as safe to use as a food additive. It's on the FDA's '"Everything" Added To Food in the US' list. (IE, read the bloody links.)

Now, do you think that shallac and carmine don't exist because there's no huge beetle ranching industry?

Skepticism means also being open to the idea something might be true.

And Il-Mari - you just need to look for kosher stuff to avoid Castoreum. Beavers aren't kosher.

Tengu Nekogami

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Merry Merry-go-round, Funky Funky Playground

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Joostik
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Beavers aren't kosher
In mediaeval Europe, beavers were declared "fish" (like wales and dolphins and such). This meant you could eat them on fridays.
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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Joostik:
quote:
Beavers aren't kosher
In mediaeval Europe, beavers were declared "fish" (like wales and dolphins and such). This meant you could eat them on fridays.
I think the church would have reversed such ideas on that long ago though.... I mean perfectly average priests believed that Satan was an active participant on society and was corrupting the youth and making them into whitches.

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Tengu Nekogami:
quote:
Originally posted by Barns & No Bull:
Sometimes just calmly thinking through the reality of the real world blows Urban Legends into the weeds.

Right. So, let's do so, shall we?

The FDA and its Canadian equivelant both generally regard Castoreum as safe to use as a food additive. It's on the FDA's '"Everything" Added To Food in the US' list. (IE, read the bloody links.)

Now, do you think that shallac and carmine don't exist because there's no huge beetle ranching industry?

Skepticism means also being open to the idea something might be true.

I'm not sure what you meant by all this. One has to be highly skeptical that beaver glands are being used as an ingredient in millions of gallons of soft drinks annually worldwide.

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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From Unethical Use of Rare and Threatened Plant and Animal Products in the Aroma Industry
quote:

Castoreum.  Castoreum qualities are ethylic extracts of the accumulated dried material collected via secretory glands in the abdominal pouch of the Siberian beaver Castor fiber and the Canadian beaver C. canadensis living in Alaska, Canada and Siberia.  Russian and Canadian commercial products were available in former times (e.g., from the Hudson Bay Company), and at the present time castoreum products are still available from Internet traders and certain perfumery companies (e.g., some in France).  Castoreum was once used in perfumery to give leathery animal notes to chypres and to other perfumes.  In spite of progress in understanding the chemical composition of castoreum, no synthetic replacement or reconstitution comes close to reproducing the in-perfume effects produced by the authentic material. 

I found a Belarus company that sells it. US$2000 for 20 kilos--but they admit they only have 2 kilos on hand The European beavers are protected under CITES--the international endangered species treaty. Some countries prohibit import of castoreum from European beavers. .

In 2003, the US imported a whole 2 kilos (about 5 pounds) of "AMBERGRIS, CASTOREUM, CIVET AND MUSK" for pharmaceutical use--I can't find how much was castoreum. It came from the Netherlands & looks like a single shipment worth $5000.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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Joostik
The First USA Noel


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quote:
I found a Belarus company that sells it. [...] The European beavers are protected under CITES--the international endangered species treaty. Some countries prohibit import of castoreum from European beavers.
In Latvia (which borders Belarus) beavers have already become a pest in recent years and have to be hunted to keep numbers down. I guess the same might be true for Belarus.

quote:
In 2003, the US imported a whole 2 kilos (about 5 pounds) of "AMBERGRIS, CASTOREUM, CIVET AND MUSK" for pharmaceutical use--I can't find how much was castoreum. It came from the Netherlands & looks like a single shipment worth $5000.
The Netherlands have beavers--a couple of dozen or so. They have been reintroduced recently from: Latvia, again. Don't think they are used for the production of castoreum, though.
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