Grew up loving vanilla flavoured cookies and cakes? Well, we’ve got news for you and it is definitely not pleasant. 

Vanilla flavour is anything but innocent. 

Because if you love vanilla essence, you’ll probably love sniffing beaver’s butts too. 

While some companies use vanilla extracts from vanilla pods and beans, some use a cheaper alternative that is lowkey gross.  

They use castoreum, which is the anal excretion that beavers emit to mark their territory. 

Castoreum comes from the beaver’s castor sacs – located right between the base of their tail and their pelvis.  

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Castoreum has been used in vanilla, raspberry and strawberry flavouring for 80 years now. According to National Geographic, since castoreum is FDA approved, in some cases, manufacturers don’t have to list castoreum on the ingredient list, and may instead refer to it as “natural flavouring.”

However, over the years, the use of it as flavouring has reduced and it is instead used in perfumes. It is cumbersome to extract, especially since the beaver’s in most cases need to be ‘milked’ for it. Now, less than 300 pounds is produced every year, which makes its way throughout the market.


So you can probably drink your vanilla lattes in peace, but always remember that you’ve probably had beaver anal secretions at one point in your life.