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"Natural butter flavor" -- what is it, really?

Isolda Jan 31, 2011 03:54 PM

Every time I buy cookies or some other packaged baked good that contains this, they are nasty. Too rich, almost rancid tasting. But I love natural, I love butter, and I love flavor. So what's "natural butter flavor" made of and why do I hate it?

  1. kaleokahu Jan 31, 2011 06:31 PM

    Isolda: Most "butter flavoring" is a compound called diacetyl. It is made by big chemical companies like Chemtura (really, that's their name), and can cause a terrible lung disease if inhaled. Chemtura just agreed to pay $50 million to settle 347 claims against it. See, http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/88/i36/8...

    7 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu
      Isolda Feb 1, 2011 01:29 PM

      I'm pretty sure this is not it. There's a difference between the "butter flavoring" you'd find in microwave popcorn, and the "natural butter flavor" found in all-natural commercially produced baked goods, such as certain Pepperidge Farm cookies. I don't eat most processed foods unless they claim to be all natural (exception: Doritos), but am finding that anything with natural butter flavor, obviously added to enhance the taste of the butter that's in there, doesn't do it for me at all.

      1. re: Isolda
        sophistimom Mar 12, 2014 01:48 PM

        Hahaha! Everything I try to eat is all natural, too. Except Doritos, of course!

      2. re: kaleokahu
        ferret Feb 1, 2011 01:43 PM

        2 addenda:

        1. If there's a connection between diacetyl and lung disease it's for people exposed to it on a constant basis, not occasional consumption.

        2. The article you cited notes that it was discontinued as a popcorn flavoring additive in 2006.

        1. re: ferret
          amyzan Feb 2, 2011 02:58 PM

          Actually, there's more to the story: http://thepumphandle.wordpress.com/20... Certainly, most consumers wouldn't have cooked and eaten enough diacetyl flavored popcorn to have bronchitis on the level of workers in the plant. But, while this blogger is rather political in his assessment, there are points to be made about the safety of some food additives. Ultimately, in the market, we must often make decisions for ourselves in the absence of adequate regulation to protect public health. It's smart to educate oneself.

          1. re: amyzan
            ferret Feb 2, 2011 03:04 PM

            Let's not forget that diacetyl is a naturally-occurring flavor component of butter, as well. If you're going to avoid it in flavorings then you might as well skip butter too.

            1. re: ferret
              kaleokahu Feb 2, 2011 04:04 PM

              ferret: "...then you might as well skip butter too." And certain white wines subjected to malolactic fermentation.

              But I'll take what naturally occurs in butter over what Chemtura is synthesizing every day.

              1. re: ferret
                amyzan Feb 2, 2011 07:37 PM

                I'd rather eat kombu kelp than ingest monosodium glutamate. Just because you can break down a food into chemical components, does not make synthesized chemicals necessarily comparable in every way. Your logic eludes me completely.

        2. f
          ferret Feb 1, 2011 01:39 PM


          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret
            kaleokahu Feb 1, 2011 02:36 PM

            ferret & Isolda: This has diacetyl in it. http://www.kitchenkrafts.com/pop_arti...

          2. d
            DeppityDawg Feb 2, 2011 08:05 PM

            Diacetyl is a flavor component of fermented/cultured butter. Do you also notice a difference between sweet cream butter and "European-style" butter? That could explain why you don't like the taste of butter flavoring.

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