B.A. Relfe enlightens us on commercial substitutes for vanilla

I noted Susan Hanna’s comments about checking for additives in food in her recipe for mustard-roasted chicken and thought I should share some info I read in the January 2014 National Geographic magazine. In a small column “A Question of Taste” the question is asked “where would dessert be without vanilla?” The International Dairy Foods Association says that it’s a key ingredient in countless confections the number one being ice-cream. Tim Ecott, a vanilla historian, says “most store-bought sweets are flavoured with a synthetic version derived from other plants,
wood, OR EVEN COAL TAR. Though chefs prefer natural extracts people don’t seem to care.” As far as I know coal tar is carcinogenic and such use should be noted on the ingredient label.

It really is time people started to think about what they put in their stomachs!

B.A. Relfe
Clayton, On