Petitions, Checklists and Headaches

Petition Granted Earlier this month, FDA granted a partial petition to not allow the following synthetic flavor substances in food. In parentheses are the flavors I remember using them in. beta Myrcene ( mango, orange, mint) Methyl Eugenol (raspberry) Ethyl acrylate (rum and egg nog) Pulegone (mint) Pyridine Benzophenone Checklists These substances are on customer's "checklists". Checklists are disclosures food manufacturers need from ingredient suppliers before they buy flavors. They are helpful communication tools. Usually, there is a column for the flavor developer to disclose the amount added and another column for disclosing the amount present. The amount present is how much is added as part of an ingredient … [Read more...]

Acetaldehyde and Flavor

My Fear Acetaldehyde FEMA 2003 is an aroma chemical that I am scared of. Why? Because I did not follow standard lab safety protocol. I sniffed a bottle of acetaldehyde 100% (neat) directly. (Never, never smell a bottle directly in a laboratory!!! Use the "wafting technique". ) What happened? I nearly passed out and I fell into a chair. I felt sick, had trouble standing up and lost my sense of smell for awhile. This is my only encounter with neat acetaldehyde (20 plus years ago). Now, I avoid it like a child avoids a burner after touching a hot stove. I am afraid of it. Confronting my Fears Occasionally, I decide I have to use acetaldehyde because it is important in good flavors. Many flavors benefit from acetaldehyde: whiskey flavor, … [Read more...]

Cran-Raspberry La Croix

Flavors and Pesticides Does anyone else think it's fascinating that essential oils can be flavors as well as pesticides? Some people find it alarming. This week, a law firm in Cook County, Illinois alleged that LaCroix was adding pesticide chemicals such as linalool to their products. They also allege that the "all natural" label on La Croix is fraudulent. This made for an eye-catching news headline in USA Today: "LaCroix faces lawsuit for allegedly including cockroach insecticide in its sparkling water"   I looked into the status of linalool with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is the federal agency that regulates pesticides and administers the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The status of … [Read more...]

Safety and Quality Decisions

Angry Bosses I've faced lots of angry bosses. Angry because sometimes they have to make difficult risk decisions. Tough Situations: Informing a new manager that products are out of compliance with tax regulations. Receiving a customer complaint because the flavor ruined their product. Receiving a customer complaint that product is spoiled. Notifying "the most responsible person" (boss) at food-producing business that: Your product tested positive for pathogens. Your product is associated with consumer illness. You received potentially harmful product from a food manufacturer. In general, the common link between all these encounters is respect for the boss who is responsible for making a difficult decision … [Read more...]

Hacked

FlavorScientist.com got hacked. I am angry, frustrated and sad about this. The Hack People searching the internet eager to find more information on slime scents, fruit punch or cherry flavor were maliciously sent to a website where they could purchase cheap Viagra.   WordPress plug-ins provide an option to pay $150-$300 to fix redirect hacks, but the outcome is questionable. Correspondence with these plug-in developers are one-sided. I am leery of plug-ins which provide options to pay but no in-depth details on outcome. Have they fixed this problem on other websites or are they just preying on my vulnerability and desperation? Finally, my husband (computer guru) intervened and flavorscientist.com is now "clean". You should not be … [Read more...]

A Little about Lemon

Lemon flavor is great tasting, simple and environmentally friendly. The lemon oil we use to formulate flavors is extracted from lemon peel by cold pressing it from the rinds. Lemon Oil Typically this oil contains: Limonene: 75%, Citral 10%, as well as Terpinene, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Heptanal, Octanal, Nonanal, Decanal, Undecanal, l-Linalool, alpha-Terpineol and 4-Terpineol. Citral, however, is the characterizing component of lemon oil. Most people say Citral reminds them of Lemon Pledge®. Flavor chemists carefully select oils that are desireable, fresh and juicy, and not flat, like furniture polish. Stability of Lemon Flavor Lemon flavor has a reputation for being unstable. This is primarily because of Citral, which is … [Read more...]

Too Good to be True

I lost my innocence at age 27. It was the day I realized what is on a food label may not really be what is in the food. Is it natural or artificial? When the analytical tests showed that the "natural" food flavor I was trying to copy was actually artificial, I was shocked. Now, I look back and think how unreasonable I was. People lie to make money, it exists in every market and food is no exception. When it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. The only way to know if a food flavor has artificial chemicals added is to run an assay on Gas Chromatography (GC), Mass Spectrometer (MS) or perhaps to do Carbon Isotope Testing.  Even then, a person skilled at cheating and lying can may still be able to hide the truth. Although, … [Read more...]

I put chemicals in people’s food

I put chemicals in people's food. I have been shamed for this, but the shame I have given myself hurts more. July 2005 My two year old was having a MRI  "to rule out anything". The MRI went over the scheduled 15-10 minutes. Finally, after over an hour, the MRI was complete and the doctor asked me to sit down. He told me my toddler had a mass in her head and that he is admitting her to the hospital. I asked to use the phone to call my husband. I told him calmly to get to the hospital, I heard him running and he was short of breath. Then I called my mom and could barely talk through the sobs. She got angry with me for not being able to talk; then she got upset. We were both hysterical. I thought that a toddler … [Read more...]

Being Brave

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, … [Read more...]

Antifreeze added to food and drink?

More than one application Amyl acetate is a fairly inexpensive flavor chemical that smells like banana. I took a small bottle of this aromatic chemical from my flavor lab to use at home. Why? Because Amyl acetate is also a spot and stain remover. Some dry cleaners refer to this spot remover for paint or ink as "banana oil". When I found out a chemical I used to make food flavors was used as a dry cleaning chemical, I was alarmed. Then, once I realized I could  inexpensively and quickly salvage my children's paint stained school clothes with a small bottle of  "banana oil", I relaxed. Chemicals or ingredients that are safe to use in food are found in non-food applications. Recently, I discovered a flavor carrier, propylene glycol, is … [Read more...]