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“Real” vanilla in ice cream? A frequent reason for complaint by food inspectors

In Germany, the public perception of vanilla ice cream or vanilla flavoured ice cream is described in the guidelines for ice cream of the German Foodstuffs Book Commission.

Only if vanilla beans, vanilla extract and/or natural vanilla flavour are used to achieve the vanilla flavour, an ice cream may be described as “vanilla ice cream” or a vanilla flower may be depicted on it (see Guiding Principles for Ice Cream No.

Vanilla is a popular and expensive ingredient. For this reason, vanilla flavors are often used. These flavors are not obtained from vanilla beans, but are produced chemically-synthetically or biotechnologically. The term “vanilla” does not apply to these products. The use of artificially produced vanilla flavours must be indicated by the words “with vanilla flavour”.

It is very difficult for the consumer to distinguish between real and artificial vanilla flavours. Insufficient or incorrect labelling will mislead the consumer. This is a common reason for complaints from food controls.

The CVUA Sigmaringen has been investigating vanilla flavours in ice cream since 2016. In 2016, 4 out of 12 samples used the term “vanilla ice cream” although vanillin (not from vanilla) was used. Also in 2017, 12 out of 22 samples were labelled as vanilla ice cream, although no natural vanilla flavours were detectable.

In our Tentamus laboratories we regularly carry out tests for the use of real vanilla. We provide you with fast and reliable results. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

BAV Institut
T +49 781 969 470


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