People are only realising vanilla ice cream ingredient contains beaver’s urine
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. We all know the song.
Now after this one eye-opening revelation, you might be a little bit sceptical of eating vanilla ice cream ever again.
Sweet castoreum has been used in vanilla flavourings for 200 years, but it has one disgusting source.
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The substance comes from a beaver's castor sacs, located between the pelvis and base of the tail, reports National Geographic.
Because of its location, castoreum is often a combo of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions and urine.
But it's worth noting the substance accounts for a tiny percentage of the vanilla flavouring found in our foods.
While true vanilla comes from vanilla pods, it is an expensive ingredient so a cheaper alternative is often used.
Back in the late 19th century, that alternative came from the poor beaver.
Eventually it was found a similar vanilla flavouring could be obtained from certain tree barks, leaving the beavers.
According to professor Robert Chilcott, beavers are only responsible for 6% of vanilla flavouring used in the market.
The academic from the University of Hertfordshire told The Conversation: "Beavers can heave a sigh of relief.
"Their contribution to the food industry now accounts for a tiny fraction of natural vanilla flavouring and tends to be limited to luxury foods and beverages."
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While centuries ago, castoreum was taken from dead beavers, these days live animals are instead "milked".
But extracting the substance from a living beaver isn't an easy job.
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