Natural Flavoring. It can't be a bad thing, right? Well the truth is most likely not but what is "natural flavoring" and where do you find it?
Well the last part first. Almost everything! Processed foods both vegetarian and non vegetarian alike you will find natural flavor and like I said, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Think of it like Grandmas sweater she knitted you, on it's own not bad, mix it with some 13 year-old kids and it's a different story.
But the problem I have with it is, what is it? Natural flavoring must be obtained from plant or animal materials and can not be synthetic. What this means is that at some point the natural flavoring came from something in nature.
Okay, stay with me on this. The natural flavoring that is on your favorite process foods (anything that you, yourself don't make) can be made from any number of things 50 or 60 or 80 different materials and many of these materials are there as binders or to allow many different materials to mix and stay together, among other reasons.
Again, like I said, not necessarily a bad thing. And think about when and where that processed food that you love so much is made. Oxygen can be best friends to food but it can also be a destroyer. When the manufacturer of your favorite tofu product for instance, finally gets the perfect flavor, oxygen becomes the jealous ex, and seeks out to destroy that flavor and so the manufacturer will add natural flavor to ensure that the flavor that they were going for, will still be there when you eat the tofu. And without natural flavoring many of our favorite products would taste like nothing by the time that we ate them.
So again, what's the problem. What is it? For every ethical and honest processed food manufacturer, there is many more unethical. More businesses are willing to take short cuts in order to hit their goals. And this is my issue. With nothing more then a generic term, who is to say that what I am eating. Is there an agency that regulates and checks to see Natural Flavoring is actually just that, Natural.
No. Nope. Nein. Chan eil. By the time that all of the Natural ingredients are processed often using oil and tar, there is very little of the original plan or animal materials. Again, bad? Most likely not. We eat a shit load of different types of oil and tar every year and if you smoke forget about it, it's like you are pouring oil and tar directly into your lungs.
But there is no control, there is no one checking to ensure that Natural Flavoring isn't a product that is found more in the outhouse then out in the forest. So what can't food manufactures just label it? Because most likely you wouldn't buy it if you knew. Not all companies are bad, but a lot are. This is my problem.
So what can be done. Do some homework. Find the ethical companies and the unethical. Avoid the one and run to the other.