Author Topic: Vanillin- Good or bad??  (Read 12900 times)

Offline tkmuskrat

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Vanillin- Good or bad??
« on: February 10, 2009, 07:04:51 AM »
I was doing some research on this, and wanted to share what I found, since there was not much detail on it when I did a search on here :)
 
 if you bought it from Mexico or somewhere out of the country, it could be bad...

http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/mexicanvanilla102908.html

Quote
Tourists tempted to pick up bargains south of the border should beware of one bargain that isn't always a good buy—so-called Mexican "vanilla." This flavoring product may smell like vanilla, taste like vanilla, and be offered at a cheap price. But it's often made with coumarin, a toxic substance banned in food in the United States.

In addition to being sold in Mexico and other Latin American countries, the coumarin-containing product has appeared on the shelves of some U.S. stores. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers not to purchase this product.

Pure vanilla is made with the extract of beans from the vanilla plant, a type of orchid that grows as a vine. Mexican vanilla is frequently made with the extract of beans from the tonka tree, an entirely different plant that belongs to the pea family. Tonka bean extract contains coumarin, a compound related to warfarin, which is in some blood-thinning medications. Eating food containing coumarin may be especially risky for people taking blood-thinning drugs because the interaction of coumarin and blood thinners can increase the likelihood of bleeding.

http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/vanilla.htm

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Natural Vanillin
Vanillin is an organic crystal that forms on the outside of the vanilla bean and it is the compound that gives vanilla its characteristic flavor.

Artificial Vanilla Flavoring
U.S. manufactured artificial vanilla is produced from synthetic "vanillin", Lignin Vanillin, which is made from a by-product of the paper producing industry.  This by product is chemically treated to mimic the flavor of vanilla.  The product help take care of a ecological problem with paper producers and created an "affordable" vanilla flavoring for the public.

The other synthetic common in Mexican artificial flavorings is Ethyl Vanillin derived from coal tar.

other info:
http://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia2807.html
http://www.groupsrv.com/hobby/about203175.html
http://www.vanilla.com/html/facts-mexican.html
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchentable/msg0116484529474.html

a quick search on coumarin (the main concern of foreign "vanilla") turned up this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coumarin
Quote
Coumarin is a chemical compound (benzopyrone); a toxin found in many plants, notably in high concentration in the tonka bean, vanilla grass, woodruff, mullein, and bison grass. It has a sweet scent, readily recognised as the scent of newly-mown hay, and has been used in perfumes since 1882. It has clinical medical value as the precursor for several anticoagulants, notably warfarin, and is used as a gain medium in some dye lasers.

Quote
Coumarin is moderately toxic to the liver and kidneys, with an LD50 of 275 mg/kg—low compared to related compounds. Although only somewhat dangerous to humans, coumarin is a potent rodenticide: rats and other rodents largely metabolize it to 3,4-coumarin epoxide, a toxic compound that can cause internal hemorrhage and death. Humans largely metabolize it to 7-hydroxycoumarin, a compound of lower toxicity. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has established a tolerable daily intake of 0.1 mg coumarin per kg body weight, but also advises that, [if] this level is exceeded for a short time only, there is no threat to health.[2] For example, a person weighing 135 lbs or about 61 kg would have a TDI of approximately 6.1 mg of coumarin.

from what I have read on various sites, Vanillin can be "natural", but if bought out of the U.S. it could possibly have coumarin (or coumaridin?). It could also be made of other sources, other than from Vanilla, like from pine trees and such. And while I would probably have to consume a lot to hurt me, I don't like the thought of something like that in my food  :-\

My mom got me some Mexican Vanilla, while in Mexico,  and it says its coumarin free, but not sure if I should believe it?  ??? I would be making my own vanilla or buying pure vanilla, but it is a huge bottle...hate to waste it!

Anyone have any other info on Vanillin?
Kristie M.

wife to Al, SAHM of 5

Offline aireachail

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Re: Vanillin- Good or bad??
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 11:57:59 AM »
I'm in the same boat... we bought some Mexican vanilla too. A big bottle.

I wonder if it would actually be a health hazard if it was only consumed occasionally and in small quantities?



Offline tkmuskrat

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Re: Vanillin- Good or bad??
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 12:31:22 PM »
I am thinking it would be okay, in the small amounts...but I think its good info to know for the next time :)  From what I read, the Mexican vanilla that is sold in the US is safer, because it does not contain coumarin, however, it usually has other ingredients like caramel coloring, corn syrup and other things.

since it was a gift, I am reluctant just to toss it, though I wouldn't be wasting my money lol.
Kristie M.

wife to Al, SAHM of 5