Tracyj Posted 24 May 2010 , 2:36pm
post #1 of

A friend brought me back a large bottle of vanilla from Cozamel, Mexico. The label says Pure Natural Vanilla. Old Fashioned. No Coumarin.

I can't find any information on the web. It smells WONDERFUL! Hardly a trace of alcohol smell. From everything I have read online, it should have a high alcohol content and be amber in color. I have never had an amber colored vanilla??

Can I trust a label from Mexico? According the web, Mexico isn't very strict on label laws.

17 replies
brandy7909 Posted 24 May 2010 , 2:51pm
post #2 of

maybe use it for yourself first before serving it to others?

Tracyj Posted 24 May 2010 , 2:53pm
post #3 of

I have tried it myself. It was great. But I'm a bit uneasy about the validity of the label proclaiming "no coumarin".

pat-a-cakes Posted 24 May 2010 , 2:57pm
post #4 of

From what I know of Mexican Vanilla it has a different taste to it. My sister uses it in her home baking and it always tastes like there are other spices in it, but it is just the taste of the Mexican Vanilla. Sorry I can't help on the labelling part though.

LindaF144a Posted 24 May 2010 , 3:10pm
post #5 of

Well here is a link of some interesting information.

http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/8487

I know that Mexican chocolate is chocolate with cinnamon. And cinnamon is a widely used spice in Mexican cuisine.

HTH

Margieluvstobake Posted 24 May 2010 , 3:12pm
post #6 of

I buy several bottles every time I go to Mexico. The bottle is labeled "Mexican Vanilla Totonac's". It is 33.2 oz. I have been using it for years. It smells and tastes great. I also give it as gifts. No one that I know of has had any problems.

tigerhawk83 Posted 24 May 2010 , 4:43pm
post #7 of

Coumarin does not come from cinnamon in Mexican vanilla - some folks will make "vanilla" out of tonka beans which have a vanilla-like taste. It's the tonka beans that have the coumarin.

Can you "prove" the label is correct - no. Does an ingredient list only show vanilla beans and alcohol - then label is probably correct. Is there no ingredient list? I would use it and not worry - I LOVE Mexican vanilla and I buy a clear version whenever I get a chance and am down there.

Have seen a website for Mexican vanilla that states their products meet FDA requirements and are bottled in the US if you want to be extrasure - it is www.mexicanvanilla.com

luddroth Posted 24 May 2010 , 5:00pm
post #8 of

I LOVE Mexican vanilla. It definitely has a different taste and I think it's wonderful. Go ahead and try it!

gladysrdz24 Posted 24 May 2010 , 5:06pm
post #9 of

We buy cases of mexican vanilla called La Vencedora and in the 7 years we have been in business we havent had any problem! We actually get compliments on our sweet bread and alot has to do with the kind of vanilla you use. Anyways as somebody else suggested try it for something in the home and then if its to your liking then you can use it for cakes for somebody else. hth

BlakesCakes Posted 24 May 2010 , 11:53pm

YOU ARE SO WISE TO BE WARY!!!! It's one of those products that may be OK, but then again, it may not, so why chance it?

Mexican vanilla is a slippery slope. The issue has been use of the tonka bean--a source of coumarin, a blood thinner.

Just because a baker "hasn't had any problem with it" doesn't mean all is well. If someone already taking a blood thinner or who has issues with this blood thinner, eats something with courmain in it, it could be harmful to them. They wouldn't know it was in there and the baker might never hear about the problem.

"The FDA is advising consumers to be cautious when buying vanilla in Mexico and other Latin American countries, to look for vanilla bean on the labels ingredient list, and to not buy the product if it says tonka bean or has a vague ingredient list or no list at all."

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048613.htm

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_93.html

I've been to Mexico 5 times. Every time, I've passed up lovely smelling, cheap vanilla because I don't want the risk.

My MIL is on blood thinners and I'd chase down and ruin ANYONE who knowingly, or unknowingly, caused her a moment of worry or harm.................

Rae

pat-a-cakes Posted 25 May 2010 , 12:15am

Great information BlakesCakes! That would definitely put an end to the thought of using it for others if that was me. Why take a chance when you can't be sure.

Narie Posted 25 May 2010 , 12:18am

If it is cheap, it more than likely uses the tonka bean for flavoring. Tonka beans are cheap, Vanilla beans - even in Mexico- aren't. The danger is not for the average person. But it can be very serious for people on blood thinners. I have a large bottle of Mexican Vanilla in my cupboard which I suspect isn't real vanilla. I use it with caution.

rainyone Posted 25 May 2010 , 12:21am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

YOU ARE SO WISE TO BE WARY!!!! It's one of those products that may be OK, but then again, it may not, so why chance it?

Mexican vanilla is a slippery slope. The issue has been use of the tonka bean--a source of coumarin, a blood thinner.

Just because a baker "hasn't had any problem with it" doesn't mean all is well. If someone already taking a blood thinner or who has issues with this blood thinner, eats something with courmain in it, it could be harmful to them. They wouldn't know it was in there and the baker might never hear about the problem.

"The FDA is advising consumers to be cautious when buying vanilla in Mexico and other Latin American countries, to look for vanilla bean on the labels ingredient list, and to not buy the product if it says tonka bean or has a vague ingredient list or no list at all."

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048613.htm

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_93.html

I've been to Mexico 5 times. Every time, I've passed up lovely smelling, cheap vanilla because I don't want the risk.

My MIL is on blood thinners and I'd chase down and ruin ANYONE who knowingly, or unknowingly, caused her a moment of worry or harm.................

Rae




People on blood thinners probably have more to worry from other foods/herbs/vitamins that are known to thin the blood. Things like garlic, vitamin e , green tea,onions , parsley, gingko, celery etc that are known to thin the blood. Basically people on blood thinners or who are at risk for bleeding should be getting their blood checked for PTT and INR's rather then worry about a small amount of vanilla or these other foods. Yes Mexico has regulations that are more lax then we have but anyone who has heard horror stories about nasty food establishments or other shoddy businesses know that can happen easily here as well. Big brother isn't watching all the time.

BlakesCakes Posted 25 May 2010 , 1:02am
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyone



People on blood thinners probably have more to worry from other foods/herbs/vitamins that are known to thin the blood. Things like garlic, vitamin e , green tea,onions , parsley, gingko, celery etc that are known to thin the blood. Basically people on blood thinners or who are at risk for bleeding should be getting their blood checked for PTT and INR's rather then worry about a small amount of vanilla or these other foods. Yes Mexico has regulations that are more lax then we have but anyone who has heard horror stories about nasty food establishments or other shoddy businesses know that can happen easily here as well. Big brother isn't watching all the time.




I'm sorry, but I really fail to see the point here....

And I'm trying really hard...........

to figure out why, if a person who is on blood thinners has to think about all of these common things--and my MIL DOES watch every one of those very carefully--WHY, if we aren't being "watched by Big Brother all the time" we shouldn't take it upon ourselves to remove one small thing that they DON'T have to worry about???

Does not being "watched" somehow make it OK to add to even one person's cummulative risk load?

Even though these (poor) people have to be pin cushion tested to death at Coumadin Clinics-- and are held responsible for their own compliance with diet and medication--, I still don't see how using what could be a potentially adulterated product is justifiable.

Beyond individuals already on blood thinners--who should know "what to look for" when there is a problem, there is also a small percentage of the population with "high normal bleeding times"--basically living at the "edge" of a bleeding disorder--who wouldn't even know that they could be at risk for a problem if exposed to a product containing coumarin..........

Rae

rainyone Posted 25 May 2010 , 4:40am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes



I'm sorry, but I really fail to see the point here....

And I'm trying really hard...........

to figure out why, if a person who is on blood thinners has to think about all of these common things--and my MIL DOES watch every one of those very carefully--WHY, if we aren't being "watched by Big Brother all the time" we shouldn't take it upon ourselves to remove one small thing that they DON'T have to worry about???

Does not being "watched" somehow make it OK to add to even one person's cummulative risk load?

Even though these (poor) people have to be pin cushion tested to death at Coumadin Clinics-- and are held responsible for their own compliance with diet and medication--, I still don't see how using what could be a potentially adulterated product is justifiable.

Beyond individuals already on blood thinners--who should know "what to look for" when there is a problem, there is also a small percentage of the population with "high normal bleeding times"--basically living at the "edge" of a bleeding disorder--who wouldn't even know that they could be at risk for a problem if exposed to a product containing coumarin..........

Rae




but how do you know that anything you use is what it says? here or in mexico. At some point we have to take a chance.

They have to be pin cushioned regardless of what they eat/drink. They have to make sure that the dose of rat poison is effective. Yes coumadin is warfarin and the same thing that kills rats. My mom is on it as well as well as I administer it very often to my patients in my day job as an RN

I personally would use a mexican vanilla that was labeled as not having Coumarin in it. Are you as worried about cinnamon- should we not be baking or eating that as well? It can also have a fair bit of coumarin in it as well. It seems more natural to be more concerned about that then the possibility that the bottle would be mislabeled and your mil would ingest very small amounts ( as in a tbsp in an entire recipe)

mamawrobin Posted 25 May 2010 , 4:55am

I love it. My uncle use to bring it to my grandmother years ago. I have a friend that gets it for me two or three times a year. I put a couple of tablespoons in a pot of simmering water and it makes my house smell soooooo good.


I also use it for baking but only for personal use. It's not that I don't trust it, it's just that I don't get it very often and I try to make it last until I get another bottle or two. If I used it in everything I baked I'd be out in a couple of weeks.

BlakesCakes Posted 25 May 2010 , 5:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyone



but how do you know that anything you use is what it says? here or in mexico. At some point we have to take a chance.

I personally would use a mexican vanilla that was labeled as not having Coumarin in it. Are you as worried about cinnamon- should we not be baking or eating that as well? It can also have a fair bit of coumarin in it as well. It seems more natural to be more concerned about that then the possibility that the bottle would be mislabeled and your mil would ingest very small amounts ( as in a tbsp in an entire recipe)




Let's see:
The FDA discovered that Mexican producers were taking the cheap route of using tonka beans, containing coumarin, rather than the much more expensive vanilla beans. The FDA began to examine imports of Mexican vanilla, including bottles imprinted with the disclaimer "Does Not Contain Coumarin", and found that many DID contain coumarin.

The FDA decides to warn the public to be wary--just don't bother with it because it may be OK, but it may not. Basically, they don't want "fake" products in our food supply, nor do they want coumarin in our food supply, where it can be avoided.
They can't police every bottle that gets back into the US via the tourist, but they try to at least give people a heads up.

If it could be a problem, GIVEN WHAT I KNOW, then NO, I DON'T "have to take a chance" because I have many, many, many OTHER options that DON'T HAVE THE SAME RISK.

As for the cinnamon, yes, there can be an issue with it, too. Cassia cinnamon, the kind of cinnamon often found in grocery stores and in supplement form, naturally contains coumarin.

But, of course, a coumadin patient who understands their dietary restrictions well would KNOW enough to regulate their cinnamon intake, wouldn't they? With the vanilla issue, they wouldn't have the option to KNOW to be careful, would they???

The alternative to Cassia is Ceylon cinnamon, available at some gourmet and health food stores. It's coumarin content is very minute, compared to the Cassia (which has been banned from being imported in Germany because of this issue).

Rae

Kerris Kitchen Posted 2 Mar 2013 , 4:11am

I know this is like three years later, but I found this while looking for an answer myself. I found that some Mexican Vanilla's are FDA approved, so I'd just google the brand of vanilla and see. I know the one I have (La Vencedora) is FDA approved as safe and coumarin free.

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