The scent of a hamburger

Friday, March 13, 2009

So the hospital tells me I have to go and see a dietitian. How exciting. Never mind that my diets been the same for about the last however many years and I've never had any issues before. I think it's just their way of saying, we have no idea what's wrong with you so we'll try this. But anyway, all that aside, lately I've been doing a lot of research on food and here’s a few things I came across that I didn’t know too much about


Did you know....


The scent of a Hamburger can be manufactured?

Open your refrigerator, your freezer, your kitchen cupboards, and look at the labels on your food. You'll find "natural flavor" or "artificial flavor" in just about every list of ingredients. The similarities between these two broad categories of flavor are far more significant than their differences. Both are man-made additives that give most processed food most of its taste. The initial purchase of a food item may be driven by its packaging or appearance, but subsequent purchases are determined mainly by its taste. About 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed food. But the canning, freezing, and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy most of its flavor. Since the end of World War II, a vast industry has arisen in the United States to make processed food palatable. Without this flavor industry, today's fast food industry could not exist. The names of the leading American fast food chains and their best-selling menu items have become famous worldwide, embedded in our popular culture. Few people, however, can name the companies that manufacture fast food's taste. All of these aromas are made through the same basic process: the manipulation of volatile chemicals to create a particular smell. The basic science behind the scent of your shaving cream is the same as that governing the flavor of your TV dinner.

One can make anything smell like charbroiled hamburgers because that smell has been created by the fast food industry to make you want to eat their food. They do not have to list the chemicals that make this smell on the ingredient list. All they have to write is "artificial flavor" (or color). There could be about a hundred toxic ingredients that make up this smell, but because you have no idea what they are anyway, all the food manufacturers have to let you know (by law) is that their product contains "artificial flavor." This lack of public disclosure enables the companies to maintain the secrecy of their formulas. It also hides the fact that flavor compounds sometimes contain more ingredients than the foods being given their taste. The ubiquitous phrase "artificial strawberry flavor" gives little hint of the chemical wizardry and manufacturing skill that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry.


A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amylketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), aionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent. Without affecting the appearance or nutritional value, processed foods could even be made with aroma chemicals such as hexanal (the smell of freshly cut grass) or 3-methyl butanoic acid (the smell of body odor). The flavor industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavor compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputation of beloved brands. The fast food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavors of their food somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms


Click here for more crazy info about the food we eat.


6 comments:

Jon Dylan said...

Methylacetophenone, methelated spirits, methamphetamine...

Rachel Kate said...

lol

Jon Dylan said...

Now if you sprayed kumara with that smell before giving it to me, there would probably be a much higher chance I'd eat it.

Symon Burton said...

Your post has must made me get a hankering for a Quarterpounder. mmmmmmmm ;-P

Rachel Kate said...

hahaha yeah i had macdonalds for brekky yesterday with lisa and hannah :) tehe nothing beats that smell aye

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