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Natural and Artificial Flavours: Good or Bad?

Have you ever read the ingredients in your favourite tea to discover that it's flavoured with a natural or artificial enhancement?

What exactly is a natural or artificial flavour and should it be in your tea?

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration:

"The term natural flavour or natural flavouring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavouring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavouring rather than nutritional."

An artificial flavouring is one that is man-made, in a laboratory, without the use of natural sources.

While natural flavouring is derived from plant or animal sources, the final product doesn’t really differ from artificial flavourings.

As natural flavours may contain animal sources, people who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet may want to investigate what substances a natural flavouring contains.

While the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires manufacturers to list if one or more of the eight major food allergens are in a natural flavour (milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish) people with allergies to mustard, sesame or to any other allergen and people who are celiac should also investigate what substances a natural flavouring contains.

Furthermore, because the term “natural” has no official definition, flavours sourced from genetically modified crops can also be labeled as natural.

In conclusion, both are safe to consume, however natural and artificial flavours are meant to enhance flavour, not necessarily to contribute nutritional value to a food or beverage.

In my opinion, I'd prefer the only ingredient in my mint tea, is mint.

What do you think?

What's your opinion on natural and artificial flavours?

  • I don't mind them in my tea

  • Keep them out please!


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