I never really knew what was meant by "natural flavours" when shown on a packaged food item. "Surely it means that the strawberry or other flavour is from a natural source, like a strawberry?"
Yeah, um, no, not so much.
Thanks to a post from Tanya Alekseeva at Better Raw on Facebook, I found out some pretty disgusting news about certain "natural flavours".
Yes, they are natural. Natural from a beaver. (Not all, but at least some.)
See, they take the castoreum, the excretion that makes the scent when the beavers mark their territory, and use it to make vanilla, strawberry and raspberry "natural flavours".
Of course, it's not listed as such on packages. When your package says, "natural flavours", it could really mean anything. Only way to know for sure would be to contact the company and find out just what is in their natural flavours--but they're not required to tell you. And if you're vegan, it's clear that some of these "natural flavours" will be problematic.
Since this kind of thing is in processed foods, avoiding such "food" in the first place is probably the best thing you could do!
While you're at it, you might consider having a look at fragrance products you use. Chanel Cuir de Russie, for example, is but one perfume that uses castoreum!