In the United States, "natural flavoring" can include all sorts of strange things, such as fluid from beaver anal glands, which are often labeled as castoreum; crushed cochineal beetles; and derivatives of human hair or duck feathers, sometimes labeled as l-cysteine, which is often used in baked goods. Other food additives include silicon dioxide — basically sand — which is used as an anti-caking agent, and a type of red coloring that is derived from coal tar.
More facts about food additives:
- One of the reasons why natural flavoring is so popular in the food industry is that it only takes a little to flavor foods, and it is very cheap. For instance, it costs $1 US Dollar to flavor 200 cans of Coke®.
- Castoreum is also used to flavor cigarettes; is used in perfume, where it makes a leathery smell; and is used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures.
- Some chewing gums and vitamin D supplements are made from lanolin, which is a waxy grease that is secreted by sheep. Lanolin also is used in cosmetics, is used to waterproof things that might corrode and is used to lubricate certain parts of brass instruments.