30 January 2009


A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.
(excerpted from
Eric Schlosser's book 'Fast Food Nation' via rense.com)

But are "natural flavors" healthier? Not necessarily. To be considered natural, they just need to be derived from natural sources. So a single chemical substance may be extracted with powerful, toxic solvents. When a food product lists "natural flavors", you have no idea what it is, what plant or animal it is derived from, or what chemicals were used (and may still be present in trace amounts), or what changes were induced in the substance. Of course, some natural flavors ARE quite safe. Vanilla extract, for example, is just an alcohol tincture of vanilla beans. That is, if it was produced ethically.

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