Opinion: "How PepsiCo Flavor Partner Fooled Wall Street And the Press"

"The food and beverage giant's new sweetener causes confusion with claims of FDA approval."

"For years, the processed-food industry has searched in vain for a low-calorie sweetener that actually tastes good, let alone one that retains the flavor profile of the underlying product. In 2010, the food and beverage giant PepsiCo formed an agreement with the flavor company Senomyx to “focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of sweet enhancers and natural high-potency sweeteners.”

That partnership appears to be paying off; there is tremendous profit potential for both companies, given the recent dips in soda sales. Which makes the deceptive nature of a recent press release that much more troubling. On March 11 Senomyx announced:

'its new Sweetmyx flavor ingredient … 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).'

The announcement went on to explain that PepsiCo has 'exclusive rights to use the new flavor worldwide in all non-alcoholic beverages.' The sweetener enhancer could also be used in alcoholic beverages, along with a variety of foods. The business news media were all over it, with many outlets incorrectly reporting that the FDA had granted safety approval."

Michele Simon reports for Aljazeera America March 20, 2014.

Friday, March 21, 2014