Being Brave

working on research project

my work area: the dining table

My Thesis

Last week, I  submitted a paper to the Journal of Food Science. My hope is they will publish my research paper, GRAS use of Flavor Substances: Risk Management. In 2013, I began a this research project as part of my curriculum for a Masters in Food Safety. At the time, I did not realize how difficult it is to choose, justify, conduct research and write a paper. Blogging is much easier than publishing a scientific peer reviewed research paper. Blogs require the writer to click the publish button and there is no reformatting and peer review. Therefore, because it is much easier to post a convincing opinion on the web than publish a peer reviewed scientific paper, social media wins the war on science.

Drop Everything

Originally, my goal for the research project was to pass the class and complete the Masters. However, as my project evolved and utterly consumed me, I realized what I was doing was important to me.  Everything in my life suffered because of this obsession. My family didn’t understand why I never had time for them and my friends got recruited to review rough drafts rather than join me for coffee. In the end, my professor, who rejected my original project proposal and whom I had to convince to sponsor me, gave me an “A” and told me I really need to publish.

I didn’t want to pursue publishing, I need to get caught up in my life, complete work tasks, spend time with family and enjoy myself. Did I have the energy to edit and re-write my project in the style for publishing?  I need to be done with my research project and publishing was giving me a headache.

What if?

I need to be done with it, but I am also afraid.  What if my paper is rejected? What if I isolate myself from my peers? (flavor scientists talk about food and not risk management) Worse yet, what if the paper is published and then criticized?

With afraid comes excited. What if my peers review the paper and support my work?  What if other flavor scientists want to discuss the project and are interested in it?  What if the paper is published and leads other research?

I’m being brave and attempting to have my research published. It would have been easier to take the “A” and move on, but I’m hopeful being brave is the right choice. Two ladies inspired this bravery: a gal named Lauren Hill, who chose to make a difference with the last days of her life and Leanne Brown, who self published to make a difference. Thanks ladies for the inspiration!





  1. Martin Baldan says:

    Good luck with that paper, Susie! And, please, will you tell me when it’s published? I’d definitely like to see it.

    It’s surprisingly hard to find clear-cut maximum recommended daily intakes for flavoring substances. In the EU, EFSA writes a report on each substance group (the “Flavoring Group Evaluations”) , but its conclusions are always a “yes/no” answer for a specific application rather than a specific limit. In order to have a glimpse of the reasoning behind, you have to wade through a forest of decision trees, with their TTCs, NOAELs, mTAMDIs and the like. I asked EFSA about this (they provide a question form). After 15 working days they said they needed another 15 working days to answer. When they finally answered, they basically said I had to ask DG SANCO. Duh. ;p

    • Susie Bautista says:

      Hi Martin: Nice summary of my paper! It’s extremely difficult to determine use that is determined to be safe: assay, use level and specific application. I can’t wait to share and further discuss. It’s difficult waiting.
      Thanks for reading,

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