My mom sent me a link to Food Renegade which currently has a post about “pure Vanilla Extracts” which contain corn syrup:
Turns out, the FDA labeling rules for what constitute a “pure” extract are simple. According to the FDA, the label “pure” means that the vanilla flavor comes only from the extractives of the vanilla bean. In other words, the vanilla flavor is not artificially created using wood pulp or beaver glands. Also, to be called “pure vanilla extract,” the FDA requires the product to have been made from at least 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon. More alcohol is fine, and often results in a much richer flavor. But it can be no less than 35% alcohol.
So this sort of labeling shouldn’t surprise anyone and it underscores the importance of being an educated consumer and reading product labels. But what’s that about “beaver glands”? Well beaver glands one source of “natural flavoring”:
Vanilla and raspberry [ice cream] flavors might be enhanced by “castoreum,” a mixture of the anal secretions and urine of beavers. It’s also found in perfume.
The FDA-approved product is categorized under “natural flavoring,” so you won’t know if you’re eating it.
It is probably wise for everybody to be wary of any product with “natural flavoring” in the list of ingredients. As for the other 10 ingredients in the story above, I can say I ingest none of them because I do not consume any of those products.