Key findings:

  • The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, a secretive food industry trade group, has become the de-facto regulator of flavor ingredients.
  • The flavor industry’s system of self-policing helps it avoid government oversight, potentially saving companies lots of time and money.
  • The flavor business is a multi-billion dollar industry, but its companies keep very low profiles, partly to protect their valuable ingredient formulas.
  • Scientists and public interest groups report being stonewalled by the trade group when requesting information about its safety determinations.
  • The trade association’s safety program has won praise from the FDA, but critics suspect that the agency may be in the dark about the science behind many of the trade group’s safety determinations.
  • The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association is managed by Verto Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm.