Where does vanilla flavoring come from? If you ask an average TikToker, they are upset since they just realized it comes from a beaver's bum.
The whole hysteria started when TikTok user Sloowmoee urged his followers to look up the age-old question regarding vanilla.
In a viral video, Sloowmoee recorded himself looking the question up in real-time. His reaction says it all: he didn't like what he learned.
So, what's so controversial that it shook the TikTok universe this week? Let's find out!
No more vanilla for TikTokers
The message, once again, got lost in translation among social network users. Mixing beaver and this popular flavor comes from something called castoreum. The substance comes from a castor sac placed between the animal's pelvis and the base of the tail.
The slimy, brownish substance often mixes with the beaver's urine when they mark the territory. And yes, it was used to create certain flavors back in the day, but no need to worry about it now.
You should be worried that most vanilla flavors come from synthetic additives, not genuine vanilla. If you think that beaver's behind is gross, at least that substance was natural, or as we kids call it today, organic.
TikToker's don't know what they're missing
Now that you know that you're not eating beaver's bum's rejects, it's time to expand your knowledge. Castoreum used to be quite the delicacy back in the day.
In 2013, Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist from Southern Illinois University, told National Geographic:
"I lift up the animal's tail. I'm like, 'Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum.' People think I'm nuts. I tell them, 'Oh, but it's beavers; it smells really good.'"
Getting this flavorant from a beaver isn't an easy task. You have to put the animal under anesthesia and 'milk' the glands of a beaver, so you know it's good.
"You can milk the anal glands so you can extract the fluid."
"You can squirt [castoreum] out. It's pretty gross."
Thanks, but we don't want to.
Castoreum is still listed as safe on the FDA website
Though rare, it's not impossible to find castoreum in our foods. Castoreum is still listed by the US Food and Drug Administration as being "generally safe to use." It adds that this substance "can be used as a modifier in vanilla flavors" and "natural fruit, meat and vegetable flavors."
If you genuinely don't want to have any suspicious beaver businesses in your foods, you must learn to read the labels.
Though castoreum isn't nearly as popular as it once was, TikTok users were still disturbed by what they learned after looking up the origin of vanilla flavoring.
Stop panicking, like this TikToker:
"I'm gonna go cry now."
"Scarred for life."
Of course, we have to cancel vanilla now:
"That just RUINED VANILLA for me."
The best statement after the Google search comes from Sloowmoee, who stated:
"TRIED TO MORDOR ME"
"NO MORE VANILLA"
"THAT IS — AHHHHHH."
Talk about being overly dramatic...