Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Natural Flavors Primer

Just in time for Expo East, I wrote a new article on natural flavors for tea. It covers what different names mean, how they're made and what to look for in a "naturally flavored" tea vendor. Excerpt:

Natural – A natural flavor from a single source, derived with an approved solvent, such as water or ethyl alcohol (a consumable alcohol). Boehmer said natural flavors often use propylene glycol (a substance that occurs naturally in foods in very small quantities, but which is derived from petroleum) as a carrier.

With Other Natural Flavors (WONF)
– A natural flavor (such as lemon) that is blended with natural flavors from other sources (such as other citrus fruits). According to Vorsheim, the above example would be labeled as “natural lemon flavor with other natural flavors.”

Natural-Type Flavors – Natural flavors that mimic the taste of a particular natural ingredient without actually containing that ingredient. For example, a “natural apple-type flavor” may be a blend of natural flavors from fruits other than apples. According to Boehmer, if a tea blend contains a natural-type flavor and does not contain its namesake flavor (apple) or the flavor source (dried apple bits) as an ingredient, it must be labeled as “artificially apple-flavored with natural flavors.”

Natural Organic Program Compliant (NOP-Compliant) Flavors
– Natural flavors that are made from organic-compliant materials. According to Boehmer, all ingredients must be from non-genetically-modified sources and must be organic compliant. Boehmer said the USDA only allows oil carriers such as organic soybean oil, as well as glycerin or alcohol extracted from organic, non-GMO plant materials for NOP-compliant flavors.

You can read the full article on World Tea News.

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