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Artificial Versus Natural Vanillin

The use of synthetic vanillin in flavors that will be added to alcohol beverages is subject to certain TTB limitations. However, vanillin made with certain natural processes is not treated as "synthetic vanillin" for purposes of TTB’s review of formulas for nonbeverage products. It is TTB’s position that vanillin made from vanilla beans is not "synthetic."

The following companies have voluntarily shared letters from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that the processes for the manufacture of vanillin as submitted to FDA for the products that are specifically identified below have been determined to be natural processes. For TTB purposes, this means that when submitting a formula for a nonbeverage product containing vanillin made with one of the following processes, the vanillin ingredient need not be identified as "synthetic vanillin," but may instead be identified as a natural flavor.    

  • Advanced Biotech for their products ABTVanforalland ABTVanforall Plus
  • Apple Flavors and Fragrances for their product VanilAFF
  • Axxence Aromatic GmbH for their product Natural Vanillin ex Ferulic Acid Product Code #310745
  • Comax Flavors for their product VANI-MAX
  • Ennolys for their product Ennallin®
  • Kunshan Asia Aroma Corp Ltd. for their product Vafecid
  • Premium Flavor Systems (PFS) for their product PurVan
  • Solvay SA/Rhodia Operations for their product Rhovanil ® Natural
  • Symrise for their product Symvanil
  • Xiamen Bestally Biotechnology Co., Ltd for their product Bestvanil

This applies only to the specific processes submitted by the companies listed above and not to any other processes for the production of vanillin. The companies involved have authorized TTB to publish our determination on the TTB website. For further information about what FDA considers a natural process for FDA purposes, please contact the FDA.

When a drawback formula contains vanillin as a natural flavor the source should be specified (e.g. vanilla beans or one of the products listed above). Vanillin not made from either vanilla beans or one of the processes specified above constitutes "synthetic vanillin" for TTB purposes and should be identified in drawback formulas as artificial with a limited ingredient notation.

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2017
Page last updated: September 7, 2018
Maintained by: RRD