Well, you can forget about actual strawberries.
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian ran a story on fast food ingredients in 2006. Ingredients in a fast-food strawberry milkshake typically include milk fat and nonfat milk, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, Allura Red AC (known as FD&C Red 40 in the U.S.), and artificial strawberry flavor.
And what’s in artificial strawberry flavor?
Yummy chemicals like: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.
Allura Red AC, also known as FD&C Red 40, by the way, is not recommended for consumption by children in Europe. It has a warning label which states “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Norway. But our F.D.A. says it’s safe for American kids. It’s the most commonly used artificial red food coloring used in the U.S. It is suspected of causing hyperactivity in children.