When one visits the supermarkets, one will find products on the shelves labeled ‘made with natural flavors’ – quite often in attention-grabbing big bold letters. But what exactly is meant by ‘natural favors’ is a knotty question that defies clarifications.
There is a general perception that food companies often use the term ‘natural flavor’ on the ingredient label to disguise their secret blend of herbs and spices. This is done to protect their trade secrets and to ensure that other manufacturers will not replicate their product. Any attempt to contact the company to try to find out what exactly ‘natural flavors’ stand for will prove useless as FDA has not made it mandatory to list the actual components of “natural flavor”
The Code of Federal Regulations has unambiguously defined Natural Flavor (21CFR101.22) and any flavor not fitting into that definition is – notwithstanding whatever the manufacturers may claim –not natural flavor but only artificial flavor. Both artificial and natural flavors are made in a lab by professionals who blend either natural or synthetic chemicals to create the flavors. It may be said that the only difference between artificial and natural flavors is the original source of the chemicals.
There are people who believe that artificial flavorings are simpler in composition and potentially safer because only safety-tested components are used. But one prominent difference between natural and artificial flavorings is the price factor. Consumers invariably pay a lot for natural flavorings. In order to develop and use natural flavors, one has to source the desired plant, fruit etc. and complete the laboratory process with a flavorist. But the fact is the resulting natural chemical is invariably identical to the artificial version made in an organic chemist’s laboratory.
Many food technologists would therefore probably recommend as a safe bet to avoid products that list natural flavor as an ingredient – more so, if you have any food allergies or are a vegetarian. Because the term ‘natural flavor’ is so vague and food manufacturers can legally be secretive with their special blends, it is best to just steer clear of products with this ingredient altogether. The question of what does and what does not constitute a natural flavor remains mired in controversies and the definition of Natural flavor is one of the most nagging issues today.
It is rather unfortunate that under the current ambiguously stated regulations, food manufacturers can provide incorrect or misleading information about a variety of products as containing natural flavors. The word ‘natural’ may not necessarily imply that it is a harmless food additive but it can only mean that the natural flavor ingredient used is from a natural source.
As regards color, it is to be noted that natural and artificial food coloring is not as straight forward as flavorings. Artificial colorings reportedly cause allergies, behavioral and hyperactivity problems in kids, and certain types of illnesses including cancer. So why are natural and artificial colorings added to foods? The reasons are purely psychological. The color of your food can influence the way you perceive the taste; brighter colors can also make a food look fresher and more appealing. One safe way to avoid artificial color additives is to read the food labels and only purchase products with natural added color derived from fruits and vegetables.
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samehta is a Copywriter of flavored coffee, coffee flavor, flavor drops.She written many articles in various topics such as Vanilla flavor, Tea flavor, flavored tea . For more information visit: capellaflavordrops.com .
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