Flavor chemists literally turn to nature when searching for solutions in their development of organic ingredients to ensure compliance with stringent organic regulations. Organic flavors and ingredients manufactured according to standards specified by the National Organic Program (NOP) may display the USDA Organic Seal. Organic flavors are all-natural and produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
All ingredients used in flavor development have been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. To become certified, a company must provide a USDA NOP accredited organic certifier with a detailed production plan. The company will receive certification once its facility and plan have been audited and compliance to standards is met, notes Karen Manheimer, vice president, Mastertaste’s Natural Products Division.
“In order to certify our plants for organic production, we had to make some changes to cleaning supplies and detergents. Organic manufacturing is concerned with lot traceability, segregation of materials, documentation of procedures and audits; however, the biggest change was on the sourcing side, as we needed to build a portfolio of certified organic flavor ingredients,” explains Manheimer. “Organic flavors are constructed from certified organic ingredients. Because the organic industry in the U.S. is still quite young, there is a limited but ever-increasing palette of ingredients from which to choose.”
Regulatory ingredient allowances for standard natural flavors versus those required for organic flavors can be quite different. For instance, the FDA, which oversees regulatory affairs for standard natural flavors, allows the addition of preservatives such as sodium benzoate or sodium sorbate, antioxidants such as BHA and EDTA, modified food starches and solvents such as propylene glycol and regular grain alcohol. These ingredients, as well as many other FDA-approved ingredients, are strictly prohibited in organic flavors, notes Primo Bader, vice president, strategic marketing, flavors, Mastertaste. USDA NOP regulations supercede FDA regulations for organic flavor development.
“Deviations from standard natural flavors to organic flavor development required a whole new approach from our flavor chemists,” says Bader. “We had to look for natural organic-compatible antioxidants such as rosemary extract or plant-derived tocopherol. We were no longer allowed to use conventionally extracted (via hexane) oleoresins. All ingredients had to be from a non-GMO source. Consequently, grain alcohol from corn had to be replaced with organic non-GMO alcohol. Emulsions for soft drinks and for spray drying had to be manufactured with gum Arabic; modified starches can no longer be used.”
Mastertaste’s organically certified collection includes Crystals®--organic freeze-dried sweet flavors and ingredients; organic liquid sweet flavors in oil and water-soluble forms; organic savory flavors; and Manheimer’s®--organic essential oils. These organic flavors and ingredients can be used in applications such as beverages, confections, sauces, marinades, salad dressings, baked goods, nutritional bars and nutraceuticals.
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Mastertaste Inc., Teterboro, N.J.