People are only realising vanilla ice cream ingredient contains beaver’s urine

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. We all know the song.

Now after this one eye-opening revelation, you might be a little bit sceptical of eating vanilla ice cream ever again.

Sweet castoreum has been used in vanilla flavourings for 200 years, but it has one disgusting source.

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The substance comes from a beaver's castor sacs, located between the pelvis and base of the tail, reports National Geographic.

Because of its location, castoreum is often a combo of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions and urine.

But it's worth noting the substance accounts for a tiny percentage of the vanilla flavouring found in our foods.

While true vanilla comes from vanilla pods, it is an expensive ingredient so a cheaper alternative is often used.

Back in the late 19th century, that alternative came from the poor beaver.

Eventually it was found a similar vanilla flavouring could be obtained from certain tree barks, leaving the beavers.

According to professor Robert Chilcott, beavers are only responsible for 6% of vanilla flavouring used in the market.

The academic from the University of Hertfordshire told The Conversation: "Beavers can heave a sigh of relief.

"Their contribution to the food industry now accounts for a tiny fraction of natural vanilla flavouring and tends to be limited to luxury foods and beverages."

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While centuries ago, castoreum was taken from dead beavers, these days live animals are instead "milked".

But extracting the substance from a living beaver isn't an easy job.

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