BRITS have been left disgusted at a little-known ingredient found in some up-market ice creams.

Sweet Castoreum has often been used in vanilla flavourings – and has a VERY horrifying source.

The revolting substance mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, which are located between the pelvis and the base of the tail.

The revolting substance mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, which are located between the pelvis and the base of the tail.

Because of its close proximity to the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine.

Nowadays, however, castoreum accounts for a meagre six per cent of vanilla flavouring used in the industry.

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Robert Chilcott, professor at the University of Hertfordshire’s centre for research into Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology said syntheti vanillin accounts for about 94 per cent of all vanilla flavouring used in the food industry – which is around 37,286 tons.

He told the academic website, 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."

Extracting the gooey stuff from a live Beaver is not the easiest of tasks as the animals need to be milked first.

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And some are seemingly unperturbed by the stomach-turning process.

Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University described the National Geographic: ‘I lift up the animal’s tail.

"I’m like, “Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum”.

"People think I’m nuts…I tell them, 'Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good'."

Beavers use castoreum to attract a mate and mark their territory, while we use it as a vanilla, raspberry or strawberry additive for the beloved dessert.

Beaver anal gland secretions are also found in alcoholic beverages, baked goods, chewing gum and sweets, among others.

But on products adorned along supermarket aisles, castoreum is euphemistically described as a "natural flavouring".

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