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Chemical Warfare with “Natural Flavor”

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I am so happy I don’t have to watch the news on TV everyday to know if something exciting is going on in the world. You see – I am a firm believer in if there is something I need to watch or know – someone will tell me. And that’s just what happened to me this week when my friend Ami posted a link to the 60 mins video featuring Givaudan – a company founded in Switzerland that is responsible for overloading the American food supply with “flavor”….

I highly recommend reading the transcript when you have time if you haven’t already seen it – it is startling to say the least. Givaudan is the largest flavor manufacturing company in the world. They pride themselves on making flavors that are irresistible – starting from mother nature, taking something as simple as a strawberry and then destroying everything mother nature intended for it. In the clip – you will witness outrageous acts of smugness from the Givaudan scientists – a lady so happy that she can chemically reproduce hundreds of variations of raspberry flavor and smiling when she says she can make whisky taste more oaky with one of her concoctions. The whole place is “cloaked in secrecy” because they don’t want you to know what they are selling you in their “natural” flavor (the words you will see on a back of food packaging) or who they are selling to. There is nothing pure about the flavors they produce – strawberry and vanilla can come from a “beaver’s backside,” according to the Givaudan scientists.

What are companies like Givaudan doing to our food supply? It might be ingenious chemical wizardry to them. But I call it WARFARE. Is it too far to say they are using chemical warfare to slowly kill us one by one…? Let’s look at the definition of Chemical Warfare….”warfare using chemical agents to kill or injure or incapacitate the enemy.” This really could be true. The uninformed public is the enemy, getting injured and incapacitated – one tastebud at a time.

The natural and artificial chemicals that flavor manufactures engineer are contributing to what David Kessler (former head of the FDA) calls a “food carnival” in your mouth. The inability to stop eating because the flavors they have synthesized trick your mind into wanting more and more. They don’t want you to have the full essence of the strawberry – they want you to only experience the best 1 millionth part of the taste – so you get “addicted” and keep having to go back for more and more, searching continuously for gratification – eating more of that product which in turns fills Big Food Companies pockets. The Big Food Companies are “hijacking” your taste buds one by one.

Most of us know artificial flavors derived from petroleum aren’t good for us, but with the words “natural flavor” food chemists and companies can put whatever they want in your food that is “generally regarded as safe” including excitotoxins. Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG – which are known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins are some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. Ever wonder why you can’t just eat one chip? Or one cookie? Or why you remember a taste of a product so distinctly and crave uncontrollably? Excitotoxins can be to blame. Excitotoxins overexcite your cells literally until they die or are damaged causing “injury” and “incapacitating” you with disease. When consumed over time, excitotoxins can cause nerve disorders resulting a myriad of diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. And lots of other side effects too – like obesity, migraines, fatigue and depression.

I walked into a conventional grocery store today. The first product I picked up had this “natural flavor” in it – and then the next product I picked up did too – and the next one. WTF? It was pretty freaking scary. Why do Americans eat more calories than any other industrialized nation? It’s not because we have more money or are more hungry. It’s because our food supply is chemically produced and enhanced with these “natural flavors” along with extra fat, extra salt and extra sugar and it’s EVERYWHERE and we are being TARGETED. You can’t escape it – you want salad dressing on your salad? You want a little mustard or mayo on your sandwich? Would you like some salsa with your chips? Those products I found today all have “natural flavor” added to it.

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A lot of people think you shouldn’t blame these food companies, flavor chemists, or anyone else for people’s inability to stop eating and from getting obese – but when companies practice this type of trickery – you can’t help but realize we are all at a disadvantage. How much do you have to research and know about your food in order to trust it?  Can we expect all people in all income levels to have the time to find and understand this knowledge? Shouldn’t we be able to trust the mustard the grocery store down the street is selling to us? It’s amazing we can’t trust something labeled “natural flavor” – it sounds so simple, friendly and well natural… but really can be so deadly.

So you have a choice. You can let the food companies and flavor factories conduct chemical warfare on you. Or you can treat them like the enemy and stop buying their products. Don’t let them injure or incapacitate you. VOTE with your Dollars – not just once in a while but always when it comes to food. Your health is the only thing you’ve got. Next time when you see labels like the ones above and see those brands. Run as fast as you can in the other direction. Drop the bag I tell you! Just drop the bag and run! And share this information with your friends and family too.

Treadmill Tokyo Better

With the greatest possible health to you and your loved ones,
Food Babe

P.S. I would LOVE to hear what you think about Givaudan and companies like them. Open the debate here or on my Facebook Fan Page


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154 responses to “Chemical Warfare with “Natural Flavor”

    1. Just read your blog – you are brilliant. I want to be friends with you 🙂 We have very similar philosophies on Food – it’s a great thing when you find someone so much like you 🙂

  1. You need to post a more recent picture. If you are so much like me, you look fantastic for someone in their 70s. Also, despite losing about 50 pounds in the past 5 months, I still have another 90 to go to regain my girlish figure. My daughter, who lives 700 miles away, is losing lots of weight on a commercial diet. I told her we need to visit soon, while we can still recognize each other.

  2. Great minds think alike (and post the same video!). I just left a comment on my own post about what would be at stake for these food scientists to realize the long term implications of what they are doing. Not simple. IAlso, it’s easy not to take personal responsibility when you’re a cog in a huge machine. That’s the problem with multinationals corporations.

    I never ate a lot of processed food, and for the last 2 years almost none. I wrote a post on how bad that kind of food tastes to me now and how bad it makes me feel. Never ceases to surprise me!
    I’m going to check out your blog 🙂

    1. Ruth – Thanks for stopping by – I can’t agree with you more. Eating unadulterated whole foods has changed my life. My husband and I cook a lot because its so hard to avoid poisonous gut bombs when you eating out.

      I’m glad we found each other. I have been searching for more like minded blogs out there – if there are any others you follow shoot me an email to [email protected].

  3. GREAT POST! i can’t recall where i read this, but recently i read an article about the making of orange juice. it said they extract something like (oxygen or nitrogen) to keep it from going bad. then they store in huge vats and it has no flavor left. when it is time to package…voila, they add the “natural flavor” of orange back in! i haven’t had orange juice since because i feel betrayed. but i had no idea it was so widespread. i’m with ya…we have to quit buying this garbage!

  4. Just wanted to thank you for pointing out that we really can’t blame individual people for eating this junk & becoming overweight, not when they’re up against truly ingenious multinational corporations. Not when the junk is literally addictive, either.

    It’s so sad the way we tend to blame our overweight brothers & sisters rather than banding together to fight these creepy companies & their govt. friends. Blaming individuals is easier, though. Work out more! Eat low fat! Eat teeny portions! Better yet, why can’t you just be a better person? Then you wouldn’t be fat!

    Nicely written post. Found you on Fight Back Friday & looking forward to reading more!

    1. Angie – Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I can’t agree with you more. We all need to band together to fight these creepy companies! Welcome to my blog – I hope you are here to stay! 🙂

  5. I knew that flavours and colours were bad, and have been avoiding them for the past few years, mostly because I think they are used to conceal inferior ingredients, but I didn’t realise that they were also addictive. I also didn’t realise that “natural flavours” could be processed flavours, I feel totally betrayed by the industrial food industry and the govt departments that should be controlling this! There’s not much processed food in our kitchen as it is, and this just strengthens my resolve. The worst thing about this time of year is having to eat out for Christmas functions and not know what’s in the food! My husband and I prefer to eat at home because we have so many delicious real food options there.

  6. Ahh, so refreshing! Someone who will tell the truth. I think you are also funny 🙂 I enjoyed reading this and I totally agree! We all need to be label readers and stop eating out! We save so much money by eating at home AND we’re healthier because of it.

  7. I use to work for a company who sold legal document services and upon doing my job I discovered that there was a lawsuit against Gividian. Some of the workers who were responsible for making and packaging the flavored popcorn, 90percent of those workers had lung cancer from breathing the flavored popcorn..very scary…they ended up wining and proving the case. So my question is why are they still allowed to sel the flavored popcorn????? The same flavor that gave workers cancer?

  8. The more I research food..the scarier it gets. We are off dairy, going back to basics to do some decent gut healing from all the rubbish I have consumed and given my children. It horrifies me that when you walk into a supermarket, that there is ONE TINY AISLE with the banner “Natural Foods” what does that say to you about the other aisles…..WTF is going on out there, with congress turning down the proposed bill to label GMO foods….Have you seen the labels on some formula cans – FIRST ingredient – 49% corn syrup. These corporations are literally getting away with murder..

      1. If you haven’t researched baby food/products, prepare yourself. I am terrified for this generation of children, sadly they’re all lab rats.

      2. You’ll soon learn that EVERYTHING in formula has either corn or soy. It’s crazy! There is a great cookbook called Nourishing Traditions, that offers a recipe for homemade formula.

  9. I have grown SO weary of the phrase ‘natural flavor’ (or ‘flavors’) which appears on the label of almost EVERYTHING – and I don’t care if you shop at Costco or Whole Foods.

    Isn’t the purpose of listing ingredients to indicate what the (food) item is made of? And thus the incredibly insulting contradiction of listing something in such a vague manner. Why not just say “plus some other stuff…” At least this would be a more open admission.

    And that’s my primary concern – what are these ‘natural flavors’ and what are they made of? Many consumers will likely accept it on face value based on a ‘false or misplaced’ sense of trust in the manufacturers AND in those who dictate and enforce labeling laws. I say ‘false or misplaced’ because we have been duped before with hydrogenated fats [remember how they were originally excluded from the nutritional breakdown..?]. So forgive me if I’m a tad skeptical when I see this nondescript phrase.

    This looks like little more than another ‘labeling loophole’ and as a result, any number of things can be included in our foods because any number of things can technically constitute a so-called ‘natural flavor.’ It’s likely that a preservative is a necessary component to protect the substance, yet that will not appear on the label. Same goes with added sweeteners and coloring. And I’m willing to bet that not all, but some food manufacturers are going to fully exploit this lapse in disclosure. The average person is likely to view it as ‘flavors derived from a natural food source.’ I used to think that when the mystery ingredient first appeared on some product labels many years ago. I remember inquiring about it and several manufacturers stated that it was a ‘proprietary blend of flavors derived from natural food sources.’ I took them at their word, yet that was then. A more current and accurate description could very well be ‘flavors that mimic a natural food source.’ And pay attention to what order the ingredient appears on certain labels.

    Is anyone really looking out for us, like the FDA..? The more I learn the more I wonder.

    1. The FDA is not worried about the health of Americans. Michael Taylor, who used to work for Monsanto, is now our Deputy Commissioner of Food at the FDA(talk about a conflict of interest). I have learned a lot about our government through my research of food and it all comes down to politics and money. Our forefathers are surely rolling in their graves right now…

      1. Couldn’t agree more! Did you vote for the BIGGEST hypocrite liar Nobama? I hope not. He promised ‘immediate’ GMO labeling on his campaign trail but nothing happened. He then plugged in Michael Taylor in charge of approving GMO into our food supply. Just to clarify he does NOT need anyone else’s approval to mandate GMO labeling; all is needed is a directive from him to FDA.

  10. This video is beyond disturbing!! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m on a journey to 100% clean eating and this information is one strong kick in the backside and a powerful persuader to commit to eating clean!

  11. I have always thought of ‘Natural Flavours’ as an addictive (note the u in flavours, yes we have this kind of deception going on in Australia too). If it really were natural and belonged to any of the given ingredients, it would not need to be a separate item in the ingredient list. It is extremely challenging to buy number, flavour and preservative free food – but I keep trying! Good on you!

  12. Food Babe – Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this information! A HUGE public service for all of us. While I never fully trusted big food companies, after the things you’ve shown me (here, Chik-Fil-A and their “chicken”, Whole Foods with GMO’s, etc), I am going to exercise even greater caution when choosing my family’s food. It’s incredibly disappointing, though perhaps not shocking, that by far the main driver of decisions in the food industry is PROFIT, seemingly at the expense of any public health or ethical concerns. I had retained a bit of hope that companies usually do the “right” thing, but I’m afraid I just can’t trust them anymore. It has almost reached the point where the average American has lost the freedom to choose to eat healthy; most of the options out there are saturated with addictive and unhealthy chemicals.

    I’ve shared your blog with others who also appreciate the information you give us. And I am going to make my kids (both teens) watch the 60 Minute segment you linked above.

    Thanks again! I’m a HUGE fan!

  13. You know what bugs me? I switched from ground beef to ground turkey for occassional things like meatballs and meatloaf, but I can’t even find ground turkey that doesn’t have “natural flavor” added to it. Not even at the nearby “healthier” store. Maybe Whole Foods has it, but I am not close to there and I would hate to even see the price there. It’s so weird. I asked the butcher at my grocery if they could grind some for me and they don’t have it.

    1. See if you have any local farmers that you can buy from. Check out sites like I had the same problem and didn’t think there were any farmers within close proximity until I started searching. There are 2 within my area and 1 located 2 hrs away that has a local buyers club (sorta setup like a CSA). Between the 3, I have an abundance of choices (cutlets, ground, etc…) and they also sell other meats and produce. And there are some farmers on that site that will ship anywhere in the U.S.

  14. What about “natural flavors” in organic foods such a ketchup? Same stuff as in conventional foods?

    1. I have bought Heinz Organic Ketchup for many years and when “natural flavors” first popped up on my radar as a concern for hidden MSG and other chemical flavors, I contacted them to inquire about exactly what they mean by natural flavors. Here is their response:

      “The natural flavorings listed in our ingredient statement consist strictly of dried spices and herbs. The exact ingredients included under the Natural Flavorings in Heinz Ketchup are
      considered proprietary because recipes cannot be patented. However, we can confirm that Heinz Ketchup is MSG-free.”

      I was satisfied by this and a friend of mine who’s a hard core natural foodie and real foods nutritionist said along the way she had to learn to distinguish between the “natural flavorings” that are okay and those that are actually chemical based.

      When in doubt, if you’ve got a favorite product, ask the manufacturer.

      1. they stated “msg-free”- but they didn’t state
        “no excito-toxins, etc” -IF IT SAYS NATURAL FLAVORS WHATSOEVER- ITS NOT- its EXCITOTOXINS (and frequently MSG!!!) by the way, i couldn’t see the vid (maybe because i’m in Thailand?)

  15. Dear Foodbabe,
    I found your blog after I googled “conventional coffee + toxins”. I’ve only tasted Starbucks coffeee once and it was so strong to my nervous system, I suspected it had added MSG or other excitotoxin.

    You are indeed right when you pronounce the manipulation of our taste and smell ‘warfare’. That’s the correct term. The same goes for ‘perfumes’ we get exposed to at the malls. These chemicals are but a chemical assault to our hypothalamus, the master gland that regulates our neurological, endocrine and immune homeostasis. They affect our hormones, some of which regulate our fertility.

    I can’t find the webpage right now, but I recently read that scientists are already designing products that can manipulate our genetic perception of smell – mind you, without our knowledge or permission!

    I am writing to let you know how glad I was to find your website. I have a first hand experience of chemcal sensitivity, and feel strongly about those issues. My age and illness prevents me from engaging in the battle the way you do, but I strongly support initiatives such as yours! I hope many will follow in your footsteps, also here in Europe where I live. I pray the scientists will convert back to sanity and stop the chemical madness, before they’ve destroyed the genetic adaptivity of future generations. Keep up the good work!

  16. An interesting thing is that the beaver glands are actually nothing new- It’s called castoreum and has been around since antiquity. The Romans loved that stuff(Of course, they loved garum, too- fish fermented and high in natural MSG). Funnily enough, ‘Castor Oil’ is called that because it was a replacement for castoreum medically. So really,

    I wouldn’t be scared of the beaver glands, though- the scary thing is that these days, most ‘vanilla’ flavoring actually comes as a byproduct of wood pulp from the paper industry, or from petrochemicals.

  17. As someone who pledged 100 days of real food on January 1, I’ve been carefully monitoring everything going in my body, striving to eat only whole foods and eliminating processed foods.
    One question I had recently is in regards to La Croix. It is carbonated water with “Natural Flavor”. Of course warning bells went off when I read this, but their website specifically addresses this question and they say: “The flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the fruits used in each of our LaCroix flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors.”
    So what say you Food Babe?

      1. If their “natural flavors” are strictly essential oils extracted from the fruit, I think that is what it would say in the ingredient list. We encourage everyone to call the company and ask questions and tell them what you want! Good luck.

  18. Food Babe…what mayonnaise brands do you recommend if Hellman’s/Best Foods is not a good one? I recently switched from light because of your updates and those of 100 Days but now I guess I need to switch brands?

    1. Whole Foods has many types other than Hellman’s, just have to do a little label reading to find out for sure. The ingredients seem good to me in The Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise, and it is delicious, especially the Latin Lemonaise. My mom makes her own mayonnaise, and it seems fairly easy to do, though I don’t know how long it keeps, important for me since I use it so seldom. You can google recipes, here is one:

  19. I am allergic to perfume thus all artificial flavoring and the FAKE natural stuff there are over 500 in the food we eat. Warning to the wise pay attention to your body if you consume natural flavors you may be surprised that it is making you feel sick. It is difficult to eliminate them, they are everywhere, even in good quality products. I wish they would have to label added ingredients truthfully. For chocolate lovers look for baking chocolate it is your best bet! My Question Can it be organic if it has been flavored with natural flavor from a source other than naturally occurring flavor/spice.

  20. I buy a lot of ORGANIC products that list ‘natural flavors’ as an ingredient. How do we know what is safe if even organic products say this. I also have an organic gmo free product that says it as well.. Just curious how to know what natural flavor is bad..

  21. This supposedly “investigative” journalist didn’t ask some obvious questions. Like, “where are the chickens?” that are supposedly at least partially responsible for the chicken flavor in the “crusty, fatty chicken” flavoring? And, even more pressing, “Where do they get the beavers?” from whose “backsides” they create vanilla and strawberry “natural flavoring”?

  22. How about “Nature Identical Flavours”…supposedly they are molecularly identical to the naturally sourced flavour but produced in a lab – eg Nature Identical Vanilla instead of vanilla from a vanilla bean. AAARGH. You think you are doing the right thing by your family then POW!

  23. This so bothers me! Even worse, it starts in baby food! I have a 15 month old and try as I can to make her own food it doesn’t always happen. I have to study every single packet…why can we not just keep it simple… even some of the “organic” food has natural flavor…

  24. I have recently been on the research trail for a better, healthier way to feed my family. I am a food scientist/technologist turned stay-at-home mother. I must say, when I worked I used companies just like this one, if not this exact one. I am appalled! Out of college, the technology seemed so cool and you felt like you were making a difference in the food world. Oh how right I was! What is being manufactured and grown today is not food! Food is what our grandparents and their ancestors consumed. Thank you for your thought provoking insights!!! Keep them coming, my journey has just begun!

  25. Ugh! I was checking some of the products in my kitchen and even found “natural flavor” in my dog’s food!

  26. I want to share this Givaudan video like a youtube vid…. how do I download it or find it on youtube? I tried to find it. Great work, BTW!!!

  27. Love LOVE LOVE THIS!!! if only everyone knew more about this, the world would be saved! Dont be fooled by the false advertising and misleading food labels. Thanks for sharing this. If only I could have seen this when I was writing my english papers. Darn!

  28. Are natural flavors always bad? What if they are on my organic soymilk purchased at whole foods? How do I know when natural flavors are ok? I’m *so* confused! I definitely eat “real food” 90% of the time. But as I’m artificial/gluten/corn free and low sugar, my options can get limited.

  29. Thank you for this! I have attempted to research and write about this in the past but it is all so convoluted and ridiculous. There is no “natural flavour” tree, therefore as far as I’m concerned, the flavours just aren’t natural.

  30. Im bummed I thought sun chips were a good alternative for school lunches, what do you recommend?

    1. If you don’t make your own, read ingredient labels and buy the brands of Potato Chips that contain less than 5 ingredients. A simple chip should only be: Potato, Sunflower oil (or any kind of oil to fry them in), Salt.

  31. “Natural Flavor(s)” make me physically ill (think flu-like symptoms). I avoid it at ALL COSTS!!!

    My question is – when the Team goes off to a citrus grove to taste flavors…uh…why not become farmers and sell the REAL THING, then?

  32. Great post as always! Reminded me of the book “the end of overeating” by David Kessler. Jaw dropping how companies manipulate minds and bodies through food (if you want to call it that) just to make a profit. It’s sickening….literally and figuratively. Again, great post and keep up the awesome work!

  33. I buy mostly organic and locally grown food and I find it extremely difficult to find all natural products even when they are labeled organic and cost more, almost everything has the dreadful natural flavour ingredient on their label. I work and have a busy life like most people nowadays and it’s so time consuming to always check for labels and go to a few different stores for simple products such as jam, chicken stock, sauces, etc. How are we supposed to fit cooking like our grandmothers into our modern days busy schedules. We’re supposed to evolve and better ourselves and the world around us, but I find that the world gets more and more misleading with time and we’re fatter and more ill as big companies just want to make more and more money without considering the consequences. Thank you food babe for being a champion an trying to make a difference, it’s not easy.

    1. I have a similar problem as well. What does one do in the ‘busy’ world we live in now and people are needing to work to survive? I am unable to work due to the Rheumatoid Arthritis I have, but I do have family members of a husband and some of my children are needing to work. We all work around everyone’s schedules here at home and with cooking to eat nearly healthy as possible. Places such as the Farmer’s Market (local organic produce) comes in handy as well as shopping at small organic stores.

  34. Ironically, the ad that played before the video was for Scotts Weed B Gon… gross.

  35. Been a vegan for years, my family followed suit. Great article everyone should read!

  36. Thank you SO much for this post. I’m reading more & more like it everywhere, & I’m committed to teaching others the truth about the fraudulent and conspiring practices of the food & personal care industry. I’ve been planning to do a post on this type of subject soon, & I’ll definitely share your website with my readers. It’ just saddens me to no end, that we can’t trust anyone these days. If we could only go back to the way things were… our great grandparents had so much the advantage to us when it comes to what we eat & what we use. No wonder degenerative diseases are multiplying in epidemic proportions! I’m teaching a church group next Sunday about keeping our God given temples healthy (mind, body and spirit)… Nutrition is one of the biggest factors I’m going to reiterate, because it affects EVERYTHING. It may sound crazy and fanatical to some, but I am a true believer that so much of the world’s problems could be solved (physical health, mental/emotional health, economics, crime, etc…) if we would just change what we are putting in and on our bodies as well as what we’re breathing. It’s just messing us up all the way around. Money is more important than human life. It’s time to throw out pride and greediness & return to HEALTH CARE – instead of SICK CARE.

  37. I read about a similar company in Fast Food Nation, and I was very interested in it. I tried to stop eating flavored items for years, but it seems like they pop up in everything. I recently found them in my cranberry juice. 🙁 I hope soon I will live somewhere with more food choices and I can eliminate them completely!

  38. My wife bought a pack of innocent-looking ground beef patties last night from Kroger. They were labeled “Homestyle Beef Patties” 80% lean 20% fat ground chuck. She thought they were a bargain because they were 10 patties for $10. We thought they were just 100% ground beef like we have bought for years, just convienently already formed into patties. They were non frozen in a clear shrink wrapped package. A stamp said “product of USA and Canada. First of all when I grilled them, I was shocked at how much they shrunk! That tells you how much fat and water were in them. I joked that we would be having “sliders” tonight instead of full size hamburgers. I ended up eating two since they were so small. In the middle of the night, I woke up with a horrible pain in my stomach and terrible acid reflux. This rarely ever happens to me unless I accidentally eat something with MSG in it (monosodium glutumate). I ended up being up all night terribly sick. First thing this morning, I read the labels of everything I ate. What could have caused such a reaction. Then there it was, in tiny little print on the back of the ground beef package. I almost missed it. Ingredients; ground beef and natural flavorings. What the heck is natural flavorings? If its good quality meat, why do they need “natural flavorings” ? I’ll tell you why, to disguise poor quality meat and extend the shelve life. I noticed how bright red the meat was!
    I called the Kroger 800 number and asked what the ingredient was. They had me on hold for a long time. Finally she came back on and asked for the bar code again as it was coming up as chicken not beef. I read her ever number and description on the package. I was then put on hold again for several minutes. This time she came back and said that she had spoken with a “meat specialists”. (Why do we need a meat specialists? We used to have good ole down to earth butchers.) she said that the specialists told her that they add a rosemary extract solution to the meat to enhance the color and protect the flavor. Ok, first of all why is this necessary? Next why would it not just say rosemary? And why did it make me so sick? We have rosemary in our spice rack, it doesent make me sick. I think the secret words here are “extract” and “solution”. And according to what I have read “natural flavorings allows them to include many other chemicals under that title. Why can’t we just get real food any more??????

    1. I contacted 2 companies whose products I regularly use about their “natural flavor” ingredient. Amazing Grass — “The ingredients in our ‘natural flavors’ are derived from foods like fruits, vegetables, spices, cacao etc. All our natural flavors are organic compliant (no GMO’s, not irradiated, no pesticides, herbicides etc.), vegan and Kosher. Essentially ‘natural flavors’ is how we are required to list the flavors we use in any of our products. There is no MSG in our products.” Also I contacted White Wave which makes Silk Almond and Coconut Milk — “In an effort to protect their proprietary formulas, the suppliers of our natural and artificial flavors do not divulge their active contributing ingredients. However, we can tell you that as a food manufacturing company, we are committed to producing safe, high-quality products. We accomplish this by following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in all of our production facilities, and use only ingredients approved by the Food & Drug Administration.
      Our natural flavors are not artificial; the primary component of the flavoring is a natural source. They are synthetic; both artificial and natural flavoring ingredients require the addition of other compounds to create the desired flavor profile. In addition, some of our vitamins are created synthetically. We hope this information is helpful”

      1. Their answers were non-answers. They stonewalled you. They all do that when asked about their natural flavoring.

    2. Randy…I totally feel your dismay! Why DO they need to add anything,especially something that should be a single ingredient food,like beef?! This whole ‘natural’ ingredient thing,makes me sick…and I did’nt even know how much. Preservatives,additives,nitrates&more. Why do foods even need most of the things these companies add? WE don’t need OR want them,but the people that make our foods these days don’t care if we all die from their ‘naturally’ poisoned food…as long as they get our money,first. Smdh&ugh.

    3. Why would you think pre-packaged meat patties from Kroger ( on sale, no less) would be worth eating?

  39. These comments are just the choir patting you on the back. I think you are doing a great job, but where are the challengers to sharpen you? I want hear the arguments against your assertions.

    1. The reason there are no arguments made here is because there are no valid arguments to BE made. The only parties that will defend the use of these chemicals are the companies that take advantage of the naivete of the consumer and who exploit our human physiological drives!

    2. I think you are right to be concerned about what goes in your food and what role natural and artificial flavors play in it, but you article is pure hype (i.e. fear mongering). Worse, some of your statements are factually incorrect or misleading. In particular, your definition of “natural flavors”: they are certainly NOT allowed to come from petroleum byproducts (even those that are generally regarded as safe). Why don’t you cite the actual FDA definition?

      Although excitotoxins may be unhealthy, you should at least discuss dosage and how it compares to the excitotoxins found in many natural foods like seaweed, yeast, etc.

      If you want to make a useful contribution, you should at least attempt to define what “bad” is.

      How about: does the flavor come from a beaver’s butt? (I’m not a vegetarian, so I think this is a perfectly acceptable source for vanilla flavoring.)

      Better: does it include some chemical (at some quantity) that one’s body would not normally encounter by eating the natural source itself? For example, if it contains MSG from seaweed, is it more potent than simply eating the seaweed itself? This is something I would like to know more about.

      Maybe you should ask if the FDA definition of “natural flavoring” allows the chemicals derived from natural sources to undergo chemical reaction (creating a new kind of chemical), and if so, what kind of reactions? The answer is “yes” because they can be cooked. Is this bad? Are there other kinds of reactions they may undergo? Can this result in a chemical that could not be made in a kitchen using standard cooking techniques? And remember, just because they’re “chemicals” does not mean they are bad for you in any way.

      Another definition of “bad” can be how people are manipulated by their food. But this is somewhat orthogonal to natural and artificial flavorings — if apple pie manufacturers were restricted from using flavorings, they would still try to manipulate people into buying their pies by choosing apples that will bring people coming back for more. (Honestly, I don’t know why they don’t use crabapples more because they are delicious!) Is it possible to create a real addiction (in the medical sense) using just flavorings?

      1. i personally do NOT think a beaver’s butt is an acceptable source for flavoring food. regardless of whether someone is a vegetarian or not! i also am terrified by the role technology is playing in ways that great effort and trickery is being used to try to cover up. i just had a huge tumor removed for the second time, that came back bigger and scarier right after i took a cross country trip to move my boyfriend in with me and we ate nothing but mcdonalds and fast food all the way from cincinnati to portland. in my mind, the tumor came back with a vengeance either due to the stress that living with the a*hole had brought on, or from the food i ate during that trip. so its the stress or the food. and the more i learn about the food we have been duped into eating, the more food and stress become one and the same. how could ANYONE conscienably fight the public’s right to know whats in our food? our health, our childrens health and the earth’s health is at stake! the really ironic thing to me is that i quit heroin cocaine etc just to find i am being poisoned in another much scarier way with the complicity of my own government, under a president i wish i had never voted for! there are SO MANY PEOPLE in this country and world who choose to poison and destroy themselves, that there is NO need to spray chemicals from the skies and eradicate every possible source of natural healthy food and withhold these truths from the public. this and related issues have literally traumatized me. the first few weeks after finding out abt monsanto, i cried almost literally nonstop and could BARELY sleep at all for at least a couple weeks. every morning i awaken to a nightmare.

  40. Ms. Vani & Assistant, obviously you don’t feel the need to respond to bbb’s analysis since I’m sure you’ve answered it sufficiently for your self and all of your current followers. Clearly I’m a little slow in the food game (for whatever reason), but WHEREVER there is money to be made, there’s a game (that I do know; however, my naivete or ignorance didn’t allow me to accept such callousness in the food industry-BABIES TOO!) Please respond to “bbb”. thank you.

  41. I noticed “natural flavors” were in most packaged foods these days. It can include glutamates as byproducts of fermentation. I buy Heinz mayonnaise, which does not list natural flavor as an ingredient, instead of Hellman’s, which does. I buy Berman’s mustard instead of French’s. If a company hides ingredients under that natural flavors rubric, I look for an alternative that doesn’t, or just eat something else. If you eat at restaurants…how many products do they put in the food that has Natural Flavors? It’s ubiquitous. We need much stricter laws requiring identification of these ingredients. Too bad if it reveals the secret stimulant that they believe makes you crave their product more than the competition’s. Oh, wait…that’s just a fantasy. Corporations write our laws and regulations, I forgot for a moment.

  42. I do not feel BBB is worthy of a reply. I have been researching and studying “food”
    for over 20 years. keep up the great work “Food-Babe” . The book “beating The Food Giants” kicked off my quest.

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