Regulation of flavor ingredients
INTRODUCTION An understanding of food flavor ingredients reveals some interesting paradoxes. First, of the approximately 3,000 ingredients added to food in the US, the majority (2,000) are flavor ingredients. Second, although flavor ingredients are quantitatively minor components of food (75% present at less than 100 ppm (1)), they are likely the single most important determinant in food choice, because the expectation of a specific and pleasing flavor plays a major role in the ultimate decision to consume a product. Indeed, an evolutionary mechanism for survival is based on flavor, with animals rejecting foul-tasting substances as being potentially poisonous (2). It is clear that although the flavor of food has a profound impact on caloric and nutritional intake, little thought is given by the consumer to what constitutes approximately two-thirds of the substances available for addition to food. Further, the composition of flavors is a relatively arcane subject - although some flavors are single-substance, naturally derived entities, flavors are more often made of a combination of substances, as many as 20 or more, and produced through a variety of physical, chemical, or biotechnological means and each requiring regulatory oversight.