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...]

Eliot’s Adult Nut Butter, garam masala

Flavoring peanut butter is challenging A memorable project assigned to me is grape flavored peanut butter. A large peanut butter manufacturer asked my company to supply some grape flavor samples for the project. My mentor, Mr. Takeda, who entered the United States from Japan on a work visa, was confused about the project. Peanut butter and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are popular in the States, but not Japan or other countries. Since I grew up on peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches and not Onigiri (Japenese rice balls) my input on the project was needed. Mr. Takeda went to his formula book and selected a few grape flavors for me to collect and try in peanut butter. He chose the strongest artificial oil soluble grape flavors for … [Read more...]

Mott’s Apple Mango Juice Packs

The juice pack aisle at the grocery store is boring. So, when I saw Mott's 100% juice apple MANGO juice packs, I ignored the $4.88 price tag and grabbed a box to take home. I smiled pushing my cart through the grocery store thinking "finally, a juice pack my kid will be excited about". Will My Kids Like it? My daughter only likes apple, mango, mango peach and POG (Passionfruit Orange Guava) juices. The others are "too sour". Therefore, I was hopeful when I asked how she liked the apple mango juice. Not surprisingly, her response was: "it's not very good, do not pack it in my lunch again". Juices with mango in the description that my family finds acceptable include: R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Mango Nectar Langer's Apple Peach … [Read more...]

Tazo Tea Vanilla Bean Macaron

Stomach issues and weight gain have forced me to seek medical advice on my diet and exercise routine. I'm nearing 50, so it's time to admit I that I do not have an iron stomach anymore. An occupational therapist is helping me find a good "routine" and adjust my diet to suit my nutritional needs. I've also connected with fitness advisors that offer similar services. After a few weeks, we determined I should eat smaller, more frequent nutritionally dense meals to avoid sugar cravings and prevent overeating treats. I like treats, so thankfully, I've been told desserts are just fine (in moderation). Desserts are everywhere. They are even in the tea and coffee isle at the supermarket:     This trend of adding … [Read more...]

Apricot Tea

On a recent weekend get-away to Victoria, I encountered apricot tea at Murchies Tea & Coffee. Their apricot honey vanilla tea latte is out of this world. We do not have Murchies in the States, so I purchased a box of 50 apricot tea bags to take home with me. That was a mistake, I should have bought a case. Since that day, I have forgone my usual English Breakfast tea for an apricot tea with soy vanilla creamer. Murchie's apricot tea is not too fruity or sour like an herbal tea, but has a sweet, creamy, sweet apricot flavor tea nicely enhanced by black tea flavor. Apricot Honey Vanilla My husband tasted a sip of my apricot honey vanilla tea latte during our visit to Murchies. The sip ended up being "sharing". I did not willingly … [Read more...]

Cactus Jelly

Traveling The best part about traveling is trying new foods. Some memorable food experiences I have had include: gjetost in Norway turtle soup in New Orleans street tacos in Tijuana aperitifs in Italy okonomiyaki in Tokyo poke in Maui barbecue in Kansas City Still, there are a million more places to visit and foods to try. My flavor chemist career had me traveling the globe, but since I have had children, my once fast paced life has changed. Now, when I travel, I look for places with amusement parks and kid friendly meals. Unique food from other regions are gifts I receive from globe-trotting friends or family members. More recently, my brother-in-law gave me a jar of cactus jelly that he got in  Arizona, a … [Read more...]

Butter Flavor, Diacetyl FEMA 2379

Diacetyl (2,3-Butadione), the characterizing component of butter, is a naturally present flavor component in many of my favorite foods: butter, wine, coffee, strawberries, cheese, tea, beer and mangos. Essential Ingredient Just like butter is essential to any good recipe, diacetyl was an essential ingredient for flavors. I say was, because now we know diacetyl is hazardous and causes bronchiolitis obliterans, a debilitating and sometimes fatal lung disease. Workers in the food and flavor industry have suffered from this disease (http://defendingscience.org/case-studies/case-regulatory-failure-popcorn-workers-lung). Adding diacetyl to flavors is now restricted. Diacetyl, a yellow liquid,  is naturally present in food and safe to consume … [Read more...]

Erin’s Jalapeño White Cheddar Popcorn, flavor review

Jalapeño brings in 2013 with a bang!  Erin's all natural Jalapeño White Cheddar Popcorn is amazing. Once I got over my fear that this popcorn would set my mouth ablaze, I ate over half the bag. Did I already kill my new year's resolution to eat healthier? Not so much: Erin's is high in fiber and "about half the bag" is merely 300 cal. Whew! Erin's also advertises on the back panel that their popcorn is a great choice for healthy snacking. Erin's is manufactured by the same company that makes Tim's potato chips. Tim's offers a jalapeño flavor as well, but I've never been brave enough to try it. I'm a whimp when it comes to hot food. Jalapeño and white cheddar are the perfect combination. The flavor reminds me of really good nachos. The … [Read more...]

Neuro®Sun Non Carbonated Nutritional Supplement

Appearance What's your first thought when you see the Neuro bottle? Mine is shampoo. The price is similar to shampoo as well: $2.39/bottle. For the price tag, you get a pinacolada flavored beverage, a fun bottle with a "shot glass" topper and 1000IU of Vitamin D. Vitamin D Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because it is produced by the body in response to sunlight. Lack of Vitamin D causes rickets(results in skeletal deformities) and is implemented in multiple sclerosis, hypertension, depression, and diabetes. Legally,a food or  beverage item sold in the United States needs FDA approval for generalized health claims. The FDA, however, allows nutritional supplements to have generalized health benefit claims. … [Read more...]

Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut Flavored Almonds, Flavor Review

Coconut Coconut evokes memories of palm trees and fresh-cut coconut served roadside in Hawaii. Just seeing the coconut and palm tree picture on the Blue Diamond toasted coconut flavor almonds relaxes me. Or maybe I’m relaxed because I’m on a plane headed to Maui? Those of us that love coconut might have memories of eating authentic coconut beachside while others might associate coconut with cosmetic items such as suntan lotion. The reality is that not everyone likes coconut as a flavor and that some despise it. Coconut is a polarizing flavor. My Impression Since I love coconut flavor, it’s difficult to understand why some people hate it. When I taste a product like Blue Diamond toasted coconut almonds, I understand why some people … [Read more...]