Have you ever enjoyed a “naturally flavored” berry soda? Did you know that the delicious “natural” berry flavor could actually be made from a beaver’s sex gland secretions? This ingredient is technically called “castoreum,” but few (if any) companies put the proper name on their labels, instead simply calling it a “natural flavor.” Ingredients such as these are one of the many reasons why it’s essential to be an educated and thorough label reader.
From chicken feathers to beef fat, beaver “secretions” to wood pulp, from a calf’s stomach lining to plastic by-products, many of the ingredients that pass as safe and ethical for consumption are, in truth, unpalatable to both body and mind.
Personally, I will not put anything in my shopping cart, on my body, or in my body without reading the label and understanding what is in the item first. I happily adopted this practice after becoming vegan and recognizing that knowing what is in the products I purchase is not an inconvenience, but rather, a right that we should all be exercising. I think every vegan, heck everyone, should be a label reader and researcher and here are some of the reasons why.