Are Your Kids Eating Secretions From the Anal Glands of Beavers?

There’s been more candy eating and gum chewing in our house this week than after Halloween.

Partly because of the candy throwing at the July 4th parade in Ashland and partly because my mother-in-law was just here for a visit (note to Susan: this is not a criticism of you in any way. We had a wonderful time and want you to come back soon).

My kids aren’t just swallowing loads of refined sugar (linked to the huge increase of juvenile diabetes among children in the United States) and hydrogenated oils (so taxing to liver, heart, and other organs it’s considered by some to be a poison), they also maybe eating secretions from the anal glands of beavers.

This ingredient, used as a flavor enhancer in raspberry and other candies, is called castor or castoreum, and it’s been used as a food additive for decades. It’s made from the anal glands of beavers and considered non-toxic by the FDA for human consumption.

So many unanswered questions: Where are the beavers whose anuses are being harvested? And how do you extract the castoreum?

Maybe I don’t want to know.

Then there’s the gum. The bright blue shit the kids have in their mouths is actually made with plastic. Read Fake Plastic Fish’s excellent article on plastic in chewing gum for more information.

It’s summer. Magnolias are blossoming. Strawberries are ripening. We have fennel and oregano and parsley growing wild in the yard and bright yellow buds on the tomato plants in the garden. The long tentacles of lemon cucumbers are reaching out for a trellis to wrap themselves around.

But my kids are eating the anal glands of beavers and chewing on plastic.


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on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 at 7:55 am and is filed under kids and food.
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