bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Artificial vs Natural: Would you like beaver anal glands in that?

Apparently Loblaws has pledged to remove all artificial colours and flavours from it’s President’s Choice products. You might think that this is fantastic news and a step forward for health. I’m not quite ready to throw the celebratory party myself. I’d like to know what they’re planning on replacing them with. Obviously they’re going to be using “natural” flavours and colours as just leaving foods as they are would be dull and unappealing. Natural does not equate to healthy or safe. Arsenic and mercury are natural, for example. Do you really want to eat them though?

What are some “natural” substitutions that Loblaws might consider using? The first one that pops in my mind is castoreum (thanks Yoni, I always think “beaver anal glands” whenever I see “natural flavour”). Check out the above link if you want to know about more unappealing things you might be eating in your “food”. There was also that whole kerfuffle recently about Starbucks allegedly using ground-up beetles (aka cochineal) to give their strawberry frappuccios their pretty pink hue. Frankly, I’m not all that bothered about the ground-up beetles (although I can see why strict vegetarians and vegans would be) but I’m not particularly keen on beaver anal glands.

If you want to know what you’re really eating, check out the list of permitted natural colours in Canada on the CFIA website and go from there…

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