“Natural flavors” are anything but


Finding an ingredient listed as “natural flavorings” may very well be one of the most confusing, misleading and costly issues we face today with truth in labeling practices.

In fact, as a Vegan this is especially troublesome because companies are not required to list the source of the flavorings, whether from animal or plant.

So, let’s go over some definitions and then I’ll give some examples of typical natural flavorings and their sources as well as other hidden animal sources in our food supply.

Let’s start with the official definition as stated in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (Title 21, Section 101, part 22):

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional”

Both artificial and natural flavors are made by flavorists in a laboratory by blending either “natural” chemicals or “synthetic” chemicals to create a desired flavor and as you can imagine, it truly is a science.

Gary Reineccus, a professor in the department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, says that the distinction between natural and artificial flavorings is based on the original source of these often identical chemicals.

Natural flavorings basically just means that before the source went through many chemical processes, that it originally came from a natural source as opposed to artificial which has no natural origin.  So, if it came from nature, then is it natural and if its natural does that translate to better for you than its artificial cousin?  Not always.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Wine clearly comes from grapes.  Grapes come from a vine.  So, should we assume therefore that it’s Vegan?  Nope.  According to research conducted by the Vegetarian Journal, a clarifying or fining agent makes wine clear by removing proteins from the wine.

Depending on the type of wine and the desired flavor, different types of proteins are used.  Some clarifiers are animal-based, while others are earth-based.  Common agents include egg whites, milk, casein, gelatin and isinglass (prepared from the bladder of the sturgeon fish).

Bentonite, a clay earth product, serves as a popular fining agent.  The main problem here is that the ingredient list (if one even exists on the label) will not state the clarifying agent as an ingredient because it is removed from the final product.

Some consumers might assume that if a wine is Kosher that it ensures that animal-based clarifying agents are not used but this is not so.  The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations stated that all their Kosher certified American-made wines do not currently use gelatin, isinglass or egg whites.

As far as international Kosher wines go, the Orthodox Union states that wine could theoretically be certified even if egg whites or gelatin were used because they are removed from the final product. If in doubt about your favorite wines, contacting the company directly seems to be the only way of knowing for sure.

This chemical is derived from a gland taken out of beaver and is located very close the beaver’s anus.  I know it may be hard to believe but after a lot of processing, it is considered a legal “natural flavoring” and will be listed as such in an ingredient list.

Common foods that might contain castoreum are raspberry, strawberry and vanilla flavoring, ice cream, soda and yogurt.

Below you’ll find a list of reported foods and beverages containing castoreum extract according to Fenaroli’s Handbook of Flavor Ingredients published in 2005:

Reported Uses PPM (parts per million) (Fema* 1994):

Food Category

Alcoholic Beverages

Baked Goods

Gelatins, Puddings

Soft Candy

Frozen Dairy

Nonalcoholic Beverages

Hard Candy

Chewing Gum

Some of you may recall the media frenzy around Starbucks just a few months ago when a certain Vegan journalist got a tip from one of their employees that they had replaced an artificial coloring agent with Carmine in their Strawberry Frappuccino’s.

Natural Red #4 is made from the cochina beetle.  These beetles are dried, ground up, processed and added to foods that are designed to have a red coloring or food that is supposed to be red but lost its coloring during processing.

To their credit, Starbucks responded by removing Carmine and replacing it with tomato extract the following month.
Chewing Gum, Maple Syrup and E numbers

Most chewing gums innocuously list “gum base” as one of their ingredients, masking the fact that petroleum, lanolin, glycerin, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate, petroleum wax, stearic acid (stearic acid is used as a binder in foods and its source may be either animal or vegetable.  It is also used in butter flavoring, vanilla flavoring and candy).  Furthermore, many brands list glycerin and glycerol as ingredients, both of which can be animal derived.

Maple syrup is sometimes treated with a very small amount of animal fat, butter or cream to reduce foaming but most modern producers use synthetic compounds according to the Vegetarian Resource Group.

Basically, if you want to know then ask the company what kind of de-foaming agent they use.

What about when a “natural flavor” has an E number?  Here are the numbers you will want to avoid:
• E120-cochineal(red food coloring made from crushed beetles
• E542-edible bone phosphate
• E631-sodium 5’-inosinate
• E901-beeswax
• E904-shellac
• E920-L-cysteine hydrochloride

Should a Vegan always assume that if a company lists “natural flavorings” that they are doing so because they have something to hide?

Although some, in fact, do not want it publicly known that they’re using crushed beetles or beaver glands, others may simply want to protect their recipe from being duplicated by the competition.

“Natural flavorings” have been listed on everything from Quaker Oat Bran Cereal to butter spreads and everything in between.  I say this because you could honestly make yourself nuts over what’s lurking around in your packaged food and drink.

Rather than getting overly obsessed about it, avoid purchasing a lot of pre-packaged, processed foods and for the ones you really love, call the company.

While companies do not feel they have to divulge the specifics of their natural flavorings, I do think they should state whether the natural flavoring is from a plant or an animal or something synthetic.

But, if a business truly feels if it takes something weird to give something a flavor, close your doors and get a life.


Source: www.happycow.net

To learn more about Hesh, listen to and read hundreds of health related radio shows and articles, and learn about how to stay healthy and reverse degenerative diseases through the use of organic sulfur crystals and the most incredible bee pollen ever, please visit www.healthtalkhawaii.com, or email me at [email protected] or call me at (808) 258-1177. Since going on the radio in 1981 these are the only products I began to sell because they work.
Oh yeah, going to www.asanediet.com will allow you to read various parts of my book – “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”, containing a wonderful comment by Mike Adams.
In Hawaii, the TV stations interview local authors about the books they write and the newspapers all do book reviews. Not one would touch “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Why? Because it goes against their advertising dollars.

Hesh Goldstein
When I was a kid, if I were told that I'd be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would've thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30's.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a "plastic" community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, " let's become vegetarians". I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, "okay"! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, "The Little Kitchen".

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I'll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to "The Little Kitchen". Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, "Let's make a deal. You do our tax return and we'll feed you as well". So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, "Hawaii". Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called," Mr. Natural's". I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at "Mr. Natural's." To make a long story short, that's exactly what happened.

So, I'm working at "Mr. Natural's" and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle - it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka'anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn't really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that's exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I'm asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn't thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, "You expected anything less"? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, 'enchilada's at "Natural's" tonight'. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That's when they found out I was an accountant and "Down to Earth" was born. "Down to Earth" became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD's that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii's premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn't refuse. She said," If you want to be with me you've got to stop working on naked women". So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a "chicken" or "egg" or "fish" or "pig" or "cow" was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view www.healthtalkhawaii.com and www.asanediet.com.