The research is in the field of flavor masking. Companies like Wixon, Synomes, Symrise, all are doing research in techniques to isolate specific flavor components in foods, and develop chemicals to enhance, or to mask certain flavors. Some of the technology that they use is mind boggling. Synemex has an artificial tongue, sort of. They have taken individual human embryonic liver cells and attached them to a device that nourishes them, and allows them to measure specific electrical responses when the cells react to specific components of taste that the company programs them for. A fake mechanical tongue with the taste sense of the finest vinophiles in the world.
Scifi, the real world scares me at times.
The truly scary part about all this, is that there is a need for it. When I bake my bread, like I said, it tastes pretty good. But then I don't put chemicals into it that are toxic. Chemicals like Azodicarbomide, Potassium Bromate, Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, calcium steryl lactalate and calcium propionate. All are pretty much standard ingredients in modern bread. (Because they can) And I'm sure that they are pretty nasty tasting. But then that may be why there is so much honey, or in most cases, High Fructose Corn Syrup, added to bread, to help hide those metallic chemical tastes. But this new technology is giving new life to manufacturers by developing new chemical compounds that mask those flavors. These new products are already in our foods, they mask any bitterness in products using mint and menthol. Companies that use Stevia use new chemicals that mask any flavor other than the sweet. And also whole grain baked goods use new chemicals to mask the flavor of the whole grain.
The problem is, we don't know what they are. And we don't know if we are eating them. Food manufacturers don't have to put anything on the label that they are using less than 1% of the total amount of ingredients by weight. So it seems that these things are being approved by the FDA after very short periods of time after application, and going into food without our knowledge. And I have been unable to find any info about what they are. They are secrets. Well, at least I am not able to interpret what they are. (Patent)
The patent application reads like scifi, and is pretty scary. Although there is a great deal of description of the invention in the patent application, there is nothing that actually tells us what it is. In fact the whole application is filled with wording like this -" For example, the T1Rs belong to a GPCR sub-family that is characterized by large, approximately 600 amino acid, extracellular N-terminal segments. These N-terminal segments are thought to form the ligand-binding domains, and are therefore useful in biochemical assays to identify GPCR agonists and antagonists. It is possible that the ligand-binding domain may be formed by additional...." Which all this crap means is that these guys are not one hundred percent sure what is going on with their so called "invention", they just know that it makes things taste better.
But what's in it?
They don't say, Not really, just a lot of stuff about polypeptide chains GPCR and of certain sequences. But not what it is made of, nor if it is toxic. That is the part that I have a hard time with, is it toxic. We all know that the great and powerful FDA does not regulate chronic toxins anymore. It's true, they don't. Again, read other entries here and get an idea of how the FDA has chosen to mandate its actions toward lesser evils like companies that package salad and manufacturers of vitamin supplements instead of actually regulating what food manufacturers use to make the food we eat. A few paragraphs above this are listed some of the common chemicals put into BREAD, all of which are classed as Class II Carcinogens by the Feds themselves. Yet the good ol FDA allows all of us to eat the crap everyday. And the worst part is, at least those chronic toxins are listed on the label, this new crap is so powerful, so strong, and so little is needed to alter the way that humans perceive the flavors of the chemicals in the food that is MANUFACTURED that it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LISTED ON THE LABEL!
If it doesn't scare you, it should.
The FDA has a very long track record of approving chemicals for use in food manufacturing with absolutely NO LONG TERM TESTING. Case in point, Aspartame. Oh what the heck, let's throw in GMO foods as well. I'm pretty sure that most everyone that has an IQ above 49 knows that the research into Aspartame has shown a definitive link to just how toxic the stuff becomes in the human system. And even with all the research proving this, it is still the number one "non-nutritive" sweetener on the market. In fact the Dairy people are trying to get the FEDS to allow them to add aspartame to 17 dairy products without having to put it on the labels just so that they can make tons more money by getting people addicted to the sweeter taste of dairy. Genetically Modified Foods were approved for human consumption in '96, and have all been approved with absolutely NO long term feeding studies being done. And of course recent research is showing how bad these are for us. Certainly not toxic in the same sense as Aspartame, but the concept is the exact same thing, approve new products for food manufacturers to make tons of money on without checking to see if the stuff causes long term problems. Again, I think it all has to do with the fact that the last four presidents have been gung ho for allowing more and more crap into our food supply and yet they themselves distanced themselves from the food the commoners eat by only consuming organic food. (What the residents of the White House Eat) and I would bet big money on whether or not the leaders of big agribusinesses also don't consume the crap they make for the rest of the world, but instead only eat organic as well.
So, what do we do?
Buyer beware! That's what we do. Again, make your own food as much as possible. Avoid corn, soy, canola, zucchini, papaya and whatever new GM foods come out. NEVER consume any dairy unless it is certified rBGH free or organic. Read labels. Urge everyone you know to do the same. And urge anyone you know to vote for proper GM labeling laws in the states where these proposed laws are going to be voted on this year. If we don't buy the foods that contain harmful chemicals in them, then maybe the big guys won't have to put other chemicals in our food to mask the flavor.