Feb 5, 2009 | 2
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced that the city had solved a years-old mystery, pinpointing the source of a maple syrup smell that has occasionally wafted into town since 2005. The harmless scent, Bloomberg said, is "the result of the manufacturing of fragrances and food flavors" in a New Jersey plant.
The North Bergen facility belongs to a company called Frutarom, based in Haifa, Israel, that apparently processes the seeds of the herb fenugreek. (Bloomberg noted that other facilities may also contribute to the smell, but Frutarom seems to have been responsible for the most recent occurrence, in January.) The seeds contain an aromatic compound, sotolone, that is also found in maple syrup, so they are sometimes used to produce imitation syrup flavoring.
Jan 9, 2009 | 9
Warning: if you have a delicate stomach—stop reading this now. Ditto if you're eating.
For you heartier souls out there… A show of hands, please: How many of you know that many common foods and beverages with a blush—think yogurt, ice cream, candies, fruit drinks—get their reddish (pinkish, purplish or orange) glow from carmine and cochineal, colorings extracted from the dried bodies of teensy female cochineal insects, sometimes referred to as cochineal beetles?
Think we're kidding? If only. The fact is that until now, unbeknownst to most consumers, food and cosmetic companies have had the luxury of listing these bug juices, so to speak, simply as "artificial colors" or "color added" in their ingredients.
Feel sick? Join the club. The good news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week, under pressure from consumer advocates, ruled that manufacturers that use these pigments in eats and makeup must begin listing them by name, albeit they are not required to disclose they hail from insects.
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