TikTok users may have ruined vanilla for life after discovering where the sweet flavouring actually comes from.
The latest trend in the bizarre world of the ‘ TikTok For You’ page sees users filming their reaction before and after googling where vanilla flavouring comes from.
Those who find out are visibly mortified by what they’ve uncovered – and it’s not difficult to see why.
It turns out the process of vanilla flavouring involves a slightly grim process involving the backside of a beaver – make sure you’re not eating while you read what follows…
Where does vanilla flavouring come from?
According to a report, the compound present in vanilla flavouring comes from the bum of a beaver.
The compound, castoreum, is extracted from the beaver’s sacs – the area located between its pelvis and the base of the tail.
The slimy brown substance is often mixed with urine and secretions from the anal glands.
“I lift up the animal’s tail. I’m like, get down there, and stick your nose near its bum,” Joanne Crawford, wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University, told National Geographic.
“People think I’m nuts. I tell them, oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.”
The sweet scent of the substance is due to beavers’ diet of bark and leaves – the animals use it to mark their territory.
Castoreum is not easy to extract, but for those who “milk” beavers for it the struggle is worth it.
Where did the TikTok vanilla flavouring trend come from?
The trend was kickstarted by Sloowmooe – the TikToker’s viral video now has over half a million views.
In the clip, he can be seen drinking a vanilla latte before googling the origins of the flavouring.
“No more vanilla!” He shouts at the camera before ending the video.
Luckily for vanilla fans, about 94% of vanilla flavouring used in food and drink these days is synthetic, and made artificially.