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Why the Fries Tastes Good

Essay by   •  February 18, 2011  •  Essay  •  487 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,413 Views

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In the article "Why the Fries Tastes Good", Eric Schlosser introduces the readers to the flavor industry. Staying behind the curtains, the industry is the backbone to most of the delicious taste in processed foods in America nowadays. With a history dating back to when humans first realized the importance of spice trading, the artificial flavor industry has gradually become a growing industry whose members consider their trade an art form.

Starting out with an example about how McDonald's new fries recipes cooked with vegetable oil yet still had the same taste as the old recipes using the oil with 93% beef tallow, Schlosser pointed out that additive flavor was the main component, which makes "most of the food American eat today tastes the way it does." Additive flavors are divided into two categories: natural flavors and artificial flavors. Since most of the food processing techniques destroy the food's true taste, additive flavors are needed to compensate for that.

According to Schlosser, in order to protect the reputation of popular food brands, the flavor industry remains mostly secretive so that consumers think the foods they are paying for have their true natural flavors. In the United States, New Jersey is the place where most of the companies in this industry are located. Besides food flavors, these companies also produce smells for household and cosmetic products with many famous brands.

Next, Schlosser gives some explanation about how the human tasting system works in order to emphasize the importance of flavors. The author mentioned that favorite flavors from childhood can affect an adult's choice of food. He also shows that spice trading played an important role in the development and expansion of humans in history. With such an influence, the flavor industry has grown since its beginning in mid-nineteenth century with approximately ten thousand new products introduced yearly.

Although being a decisive factor in the deliciousness of a food product, flavors are only needed in a very tiny amount. A mixture of many complicated chemical compounds, additive flavor recipes can be kept secret as long as the chemical compounds are checked by the FDA and labeled GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). Even though the name "natural flavors" might sound healthier than "artificial flavors," Schlosser pointed out that they are actually the same in chemical structure and



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