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Get Set for a Healthy Winter Season


While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we’re most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold.

Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. However, some cause serious health problems. People who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and more severe complications than nonsmokers.

Colds usually cause stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. There is no vaccine against colds, which come on gradually and often spread through contact with infected mucus.

Flu comes on suddenly and lasts longer than colds. Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Young children may also experience nausea and vomiting with the flu. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it.

Flu season in the United States may begin as early as October and can last as late as May, and generally peaks between December and February. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.
  • Between 1976 and 2006, the estimated number of flu-related deaths every year ranged from about 3,000 to about 49,000.
  • In the 2013 – 2014 season, there were in the U.S. 35.4 million influenza-associated illnesses, 14.6 medically attended flu illnesses, and 314,000 flu hospitalizations.
  • Prevention Tips

Get vaccinated against flu.

With rare exceptions, everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against flu. Flu vaccination, available as a shot or a nasal spray, can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

It’s ideal to be vaccinated by October, although vaccination into January and beyond can still offer protection. Annual vaccination is needed because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may need to be updated, and because a person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu. These people include:

  • young children under 5 years, but especially those younger than 2.
  • pregnant women
  • people with certain chronic health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease)
  • people age 65 years and older

Vaccination also is especially important for health care workers, and others who live with or care for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Since babies under 6 months of age are too young to get a flu vaccine, their mother should get a flu shot during her pregnancy to protect them throughout pregnancy and up to 6 months after birth. Additionally, all of the baby’s caregivers and close contacts should be vaccinated as well.

Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through contaminated surfaces, including the hands. FDA says that while soap and water are best for hand hygiene, alcohol-based hand rubs may also be used. However, dirt or blood on hands can render the hand rubs unable to kill bacteria.

Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life.

Practice healthy habits.

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise.
  • Do your best to keep stress in check.

Already Sick?

Usually, colds have to run their course. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

Here are other steps to consider:

  • Call your health care professional. Start the treatment early.
  • Limit your exposure to other people. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay hydrated and rested. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products which may dehydrate you.
  • Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

In addition to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, there are FDA-approved prescription medications for treating flu. Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

Taking OTC Products

Read medicine labels carefully and follow the directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine.

Choose OTC medicines appropriate for your symptoms. To unclog a stuffy nose, use nasal decongestants. Cough suppressants quiet coughs; expectorants loosen mucus; antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing; and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.

Check the medicine’s side effects. Medications can cause drowsiness and interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other. It’s best to tell your health care professional and pharmacist about every medical product and supplement you are taking.

Check with a health care professional before giving medicine to children.

See a health care professional if you aren’t getting any better. With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

Signs of trouble for all people can include

  • a cough that disrupts sleep
  • a fever that won’t respond to treatment
  • increased shortness of breath
  • face pain caused by a sinus infection
  • high fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you’re producing, after feeling better for a short time.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Step away from the lightener – reminder as Xmas creeps up


 just another ongoing rant 

So,  the heat is turnt up all over the country and this is about the time when some folks start to do stuff to themselves… right? in what seems to be a great vehicle for both comedy and exposure of an awful practice that non-white men and women do is back in the news ~~ skin whitening. What made me sad among the obvious is how comical it is but, Comedian and  risk-taker, Nick Cannon created a new character named, “Connor Smallnut.”  I have to admit seeing him in WhiteFace was concerning as I heard myself gasp! Why? We don’t like folks in “blackface,” felt this cannot be good, but it actually exposes what seems to be a growing practice in the US … skin whitening, specifically by non-whites.

Here we are in 2020 people, and those pictures above are from 2/11/2018!  I saw a picture of Sammy Sosa in a cowboy outfit …no problem but looking at the photo apparently his skin is still being bleached and though I am no expert it doesn’t look like the skin is holding up …

My problem years ago as stated, again and again, is when the industry says lighter brighter whiter is better and gets you more work!

In October of 2013, disturbing news regarding skin whitening popped up and now, I find myself having to update my post from 5/28. I get a lot of digital news and while going through it, out pops an article … not the first, this was an attempt to voice a personal experience, knowledge of Skin Whitening products, how widespread it is, and who may be using it to improve their careers. I admit… I wondered what Century are we in and will common sense prevail.  I welcome all those willing to shine a light on this terrible practice and maybe a jab or two at those promoting this awful practice. However, I did find that folks continue to pull MJ into the skin whitening practice and I would like to say and clear up something ~~  MJ did have vitiligo … the end.

In 2009, reports were that Asians spent an estimated $18 billion a year to appear pale. Today, this Billion dollar business is … in my opinion taking advantage of women of all races, their personal insecurities in an industry that has created among other things bobbleheads, eating disorders, height/weight anxiety,  liquid diets, long hair syndrome and many more creative ways that make folks unsuredoubtfulhesitantself-conscious, making them reactive not proactive. Apparently, otherwise reasonably smart folks believe lighter brighter and whiter is more likely to increase your status as well. I will say it again, it is sad and very disturbing

I have to ask why after reading that in the year 2013 well-known entertainers are using Skin Whitening products to cross over for more acceptance or work.  It would be easy to say … FYI, you’re still who you were before bleaching your skin but the practice begs the question … are you getting more work, more hits on your site and more folks are hitting on you … what?

because …

No matter how light you go your personality is only as good as your authenticity …

~ Nativegrl77

Foods … they say are good for our skin


READ: 10 Foods That Can Help You Get Amazing Skin

Some skin experts, like New York City-based facialist Joanna Vargas, are incorporating them into treatments to help repair the damage caused by the sun and pollution. And even if your budget doesn’t call for a spa day, you can still enjoy these benefits at home.

READ: Can Chocolate Give You Youthful Skin?

To find out how we can detox this autumn for glowing, healthy looking skin, we investigated some of the best foods to eat this season and how they can be the post-summer treatment you need right now:

(Thinkstock)

Pumpkin
Pumpkins

Dr. Stafford Broumand, associate clinical professor of plastic surgery at New York‘s Mount Sinai Medical Center, highly recommends pumpkin for your best skin ever. “Pumpkin has a high content of vitamin A and retinol is a derivative of vitamin A,” says Broumand. “Using this ingredient in its natural form delivers great benefits, such as exfoliation, repairing sun damage, post pigmentation, as well as improving texture and tone.” Create a face mask with pureed pumpkin, organic honey, a hint of lemon juice, and vitamin E oil for soothing results.

(Thinkstock)



YAM MANIAYams

“Yams contain a compound called diosgenin, which is a natural plant-derived steroid that is thought to have both anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-aging properties,” explains Dr. Julia Tzu, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University. “In some laboratory studies, it has been found to increase cellular collagen production.”

Beet It
Beet It (Photo credit: B.D.’s world)

(Thinkstock)

This root vegetable, which is at its most tender until October, features fiber, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. They may also be the secret to getting your glow on this fall. “Beets reverse dull skin by stimulating the lymphatic system, removing waste from our cells,” says Dr. Jayson Calton. “Beets can also brighten your skin because they increase the oxygen-carrying ability in the blood, adding brightness to the skin.” Calton recommends savoring beet juice or a roasted beet salad this season.

(Thinkstock)

Cranberries
Cranberries (Photo credit: oschene)

Cranberries

Forget the canned versions. The tangy berry is best savored alone, especially if you’re looking to give your dull skin a much-needed boost. “I like cranberry for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, they are rich in nutrients,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. If snacking on bitter berries aren’t your thing, consider looking for skincare products that feature cranberry.

(Thinkstock)

Pomegranate
Pomegranate Fruits. Español: Una granada, frut...
Pomegranate Fruits. Español: Una granada, fruto del granado (Punica granatum). Eesti: Granaatõun. Français : La grenade, fruit du grenadier. Русский: Плод граната. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fruit will improve your skin smoothness, elasticity, and overall look,” says health coach Lori Shemek. “Pomegranates can also help reduce acne, sun damage, and fine lines with its powerful antioxidants, which also reduces skin inflammation.” Add them to nearly any dish for an flavorful meal.

(Thinkstock)

Apples
English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...
English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Apples contain many bioactive compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Tzu. “Studies have even demonstrated anti-cancer properties of apples, including those of the skin.” Go apple picking this autumn for a fun workout and enjoy the fruits of your labor all season long.

(Thinkstock)

Carrots Julienne.

As with other seasonal foods, carrots feature beta-carotene, which can help protect skin against damage caused by wrinkle-causing ultraviolet rays. “Make a mask out of carrots to help alleviate blackheads and dark spots,” suggests Calton. “Simply boil carrots until soft and then mash. Add in honey, olive oil, and lemon. Leave on the face for about 15 minutes and rise. It’s also great for wrinkles.”

(Thinkstock)

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain high levels of collagen boosting vitamin C,” says Shemek. “Eating this cruciferous veggie can not only give you skin that has better elasticity, but skin that feels younger and more youthful looking.” If the idea of eating these mini greens makes you uneasy, take note that the way you prepare them determines how tasty they will be.

(Thinkstock)

Plums hanging
Plums hanging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plums

“Plum mixed with yogurt and honey in a mask will improve elasticity and correct any sun damage that we’ve suffered from summer,” Vargas says.

(Thinkstock)

Pears_1Pears

“Pears are full of fiber and that means a slower release of sugar into the blood,” says Shemek. “Sugar means wrinkles and sagging skin. Pears are also high in vitamin C, which is a critical nutrient for collagen growth necessary for wrinkle-free, firm skin.”

Injectable Skin Lightening Products: What You Should Know – repost


 

So, it’s June of 2020, are you using skin lightener brightener whitener still ? oh, is it still avail because year after year …skip a few this stuff gets recalled … wonder why?

In September 2014, U.S. Marshals seized a variety of unapproved, improperly labeled and potentially harmful injectable drugs being marketed as skin whitening products, including the Relumins Advanced Glutathione kits and Tatiomax Glutathione Collagen Whitening kits shown above.

09/02/2015 01:00 PM EDT

Injectable skin lightening products are unapproved, untested drugs that could potentially cause harm, FDA warns. FDA has not approved any injectable drugs for skin whitening or lightening.

“These products pose a potentially significant safety risk to consumers. You’re essentially injecting an unknown substance into your body—you don’t know what it contains or how it was made,” says In Kim, a pharmacist at FDA.

Read the Consumer Update to learn more.

Related Consumer News

Beaver Gland Castoreum Not Used in Vanilla Flavorings According to Manufacturers ~ a follow up ?


by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

“…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:
(1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)
(b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.
(2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/
Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

The contents of this blog, website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

– See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf

by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

“…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:
(1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)
(b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.
(2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/
Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

The contents of this blog, website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

– See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf

beever-sac-400x400Posted on June 17, 2011 by The VRG Blog Editor

VRG Research Director

A reader wrote to The VRG in April 2011 about a comment made by British chef, Jamie Oliver, on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mr. Oliver said that vanilla flavoring in ice cream is made with castoreum, a substance derived from beaver anal glands. The reader asked us if there was any truth to this statement.

The VRG asked five companies that manufacture both natural and artificial vanilla, vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, powders, and flavors. All five unanimously stated that castoreum is not used today in any form of vanilla sold for human food use.

One company, in business for ninety years, informed The VRG that they have never used castoreum in their products. “At one time,” we were told by a senior level employee at this company, “to the best of my knowledge, it was used to make fragrance and still may be.”

Companies directed us to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which they all said they follow strictly and exclusively: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=169.175

To quote the CFR, Title 21, Part 169, Subpart B, Section175 (cited as 21CFR169.175) on this point:

   “…[v]anilla extract is the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans. In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume…The vanilla constituent may be extracted directly from vanilla beans or it may be added in the form of concentrated vanilla extract or concentrated vanilla flavoring or vanilla flavoring concentrated to the semisolid form called vanilla oleo-resin. Vanilla extract may contain one or more of the following optional ingredients:

   (1) Glycerin. (2) Propylene glycol. (3) Sugar (including invert sugar). (4) Dextrose. (5) Corn sirup (including dried corn sirup). (VRG Note: spelling appears exactly as is from the original.)

   (b)(1) The specified name of the food is ‘Vanilla extract’ or ‘Extract of vanilla’.

   (2) When the vanilla extract is made in whole or in part by dilution of vanilla oleoresin, concentrated vanilla extract, or concentrated vanilla flavoring, the label shall bear the statement ‘Made from ___’ or ‘Made in part from ___’, the blank being filled in with the name or names ‘vanilla oleoresin’, ‘concentrated vanilla extract’, or ‘concentrated vanilla flavoring’, as appropriate…”

Section 177 of this subpart in the CFR Title 21 specifies requirements for vanilla flavoring:

“…[v]anilla flavoring conforms to the definition and standard of identity and is subject to any requirement for label statement of ingredients prescribed for vanilla extract by 169.175, except that its content of ethyl alcohol is less than 35 percent by volume.

(b) The specified name of the food is Vanilla flavoring.”

A major ingredients supplier that sells both natural and artificial vanilla extracts, concentrates, distillates, and flavors to many food companies told us this about some of their vanilla flavorings: “The flavor itself contains proprietary information that cannot be shared but it’s made from a combination of raw materials, such as vanillin, vanitrope, heliotropin, and maltol.” (VRG Note: All ingredients in this list are either all-vegetable or synthetic.) We were also informed by this company when The VRG asked specifically about castoreum in food ingredients: “…It’s not a common raw material that is used and we don’t use it, so I can safely say that our natural vanilla flavors do not contain any animal juices. All vanilla extracts are free of it, too, wherever you go.”

What is true is that castoreum is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and so approved for use in foods by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (A few other animal-derived ingredients including ambergris (whale-derived) and musk (civet-derived) also have GRAS status and so may be ingredients in products intended for humans): http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=582.50

According to G.A. Burdock in a 2007 article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, “Castoreum extract… is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years. Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).”

When castoreum occurs in a food, it does not have to be listed by its name. It is considered a “natural flavor” and may be so designated on a food package according to the CFR: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=501.22

Readers who are doubtful of a particular brand listing “natural flavors” as ingredients are encouraged to call the food’s manufacturer and specifically request detail on which “natural flavor(s)” is/are present in the food.

 For updates on vanilla flavor and other food ingredients, subscribe to our free e-newsletter at http://www.vrg.org/vrgnews/

Readers may wish to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients available at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=8

 To support VRG research, go to https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

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– See more at: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/06/17/beaver-gland-castoreum-not-used-in-vanilla-flavorings-according-to-manufacturers/#sthash.W09gMLrl.dpuf by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS