Editorial Advisory Board
President and CEO,
Flavor Dynamics, Inc.
Ph.D, Independent vanilla and flavor
Independent flavor consultant
BRIAN M. LAWRENCE
Natural Products Editor,
Perfumer & Flavorist magazine;
Journal of Essential Oil Research
Senior flavorist, abelei flavors
Regulatory affairs manager,
FONA International, Inc.
Defining natural has been an evolving topic both in our industry and the world at large. According to an
article from researchers at the University
of California at Berkeleya, the definition of
science given in 2005 by the Kansas State Board
of Education was a polarizing debate in schools, in
terms of what it meant to study the natural world.
Back then, science was defined by the board as “the
human activity of seeking natural explanation for
what we observe in the world around us.” In 2007,
the definition—which is nearly identical to
the Oxfordb dictionary definition—
shifted to “a systematic method
of continuing investigation that
uses observation, hypothesis
testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and
theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”
Clearly, the definition has evolved into a more refined one.
An Evolving Definition
This got me to thinking about the current challenge in F&F to define
natural. Now more than ever, consumers are looking at labels with an eagle
eye for natural ingredients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is still sifting through hundreds of public comments to reach a decision
on what to call natural. In Europe, regulations by the European Flavor
Association (EFFA) are investing in communication strategies with a wider
public audience regarding flavors via the internet, the flavor process and the
professionals involved in flavor development (page 10); and natural ingredients are a major influence behind the discussion.
There’s a lot at stake to coming up with the magic definition. Another
article from Berkeleyc refers to natural as any element of the physical
universe; including energy, matter, the forces that act on matter, biological
constituents, humans, human society and the products of society. That’s a lot
of common ground to cover, no?
In research, quality control continues to push boundaries to understand
the naturalness of a material (page 22). It appears that multiple levels of
testing scan a broader spectrum to help identify the relevant components
and determine a material’s naturalness.
Perhaps, then, the definition of natural may never be finite. Maybe, just
like humans, science, technology and the world at large, the definition will
continue to evolve.
I hope you enjoy this issue. Happy learning to you.
With warmth from New York City,