Weird New Sweetener Coming to a Soda Near You

March 21, 2014 at 3:40 PM Leave a comment

Sugar via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

As if we need more reason to get Americans addicted to soda, a biotechnology company has just introduced a way for that to happen. California-based Senomyx has just announced that it is licensing a new “sweetness enhancer” called Sweetmyx exclusively to Pepsi and that it will start being used in soft drinks as early as this year.


When Senomyx first announced that Sweetmyx would be commercialized, it relased a statement saying, “Sweetmyx has been determined to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) under the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, administered by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

Shortly afterwards, the FDA issued a rebuke to the company stating that “the agency had not made this determination nor had it been notified by Senomyx regarding a GRAS determination for this food ingredient.”

Why the confusion? Sweetmyx is considered a flavor ingredient, which means that it doesn’t need to go through any sort of FDA approval process to get to market. These flavor ingredients can be evaluated by an independent third party and, if they meets that body’s criteria, that third-party evaluator gives it GRAS status and doesn’t even need to notify the FDA that the ingredient has passed muster. In this case, the third party is the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States, an organization made up of flavor manufacturers and other industry members.


Manufacturers get to decide whether food additives are safe or not. Manufacturers get to decide whether to bother to tell the FDA the additives are in the food supply, and even if they do. Manufacturers get to decide who sits on the panels that review the evidence for safety.”


It sounds like the food industry’s lobbyists earned their money big time in setting up how these rules work, huh?  What an unbelievable racket and as usual, the looser isssssss:  You and me!

Anyway, this is another reason to stay away from sweet things.  You never know what’s making the sweet thing sweet because manufacturers can lump weird sweeteners like this new on under the term, “artificial flavors.” Don’t expect to see “Sweetmyx” on a label any time soon.

What a mess.


Entry filed under: Food.

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