Fake Grape and Vanilla-Burping Yeast

Shit’s cool, yo. Yeast are awesome. I’m all about this, because any time I want super deep flavor I’m going to take the time to do things right and go buy a vanilla bean/etc, but making easy food taste better and cheaper is fine by me.


I’m going to stick with complaining that ingredient labels should reflect what is actually in food instead of giving up food other people have produced altogether because I live in a world where if enough people complain, things change.

Just stick “genetically modified yeast derived flavorings” on a label an be done with it.

Seems kind of arbitrary then, which is the big argument against most food packaging. What makes this yeast-based flavoring unnatural and in need of labeling compared to things like bananas or wheat, which are dramatically different from pre-human interaction? Why not label all foods harvested in the afternoon? Why not label all foods that contain yeast bacteria in general?

I want someone to define this out in a clear way instead of wrinkling up their nose and going ‘well it’s new and I don’t like it’.


It’d be more informative and useful to actually list the exact chemical flavorings, rather than where they come from.

“Natural and Artificial Flavors” is absolutely 100% meaningless. “genetically modified yeast derived flavorings” amounts to fearmongering meaninglessness. If it’s the same chemical then just list the chemical, instead of saying “wizard magic” or “unicorn magic”. It’s all chemicals, because it’s all matter. The source is of no consequence most of the time anyway.


There are too many of them there; flavorings are often highly complex mixtures.

Which does not mean they could not be listed via a qr-code linking to a database record somewhere. Or via the existing UPC/EAN barcode.

The lists can also differ by country, slightly. The manufacturers, I think, are tailoring the fine details of their products to the tastes of the target market, which are often geographically influenced. So a product for country A looks identical as for country B but tastes slightly different. (This can also be done because of different levels of price/quality sensitivities. Some countries are quite similar to trashcans. Grumble.)


Pushing things down to “personal responsibility” is a very GOP free marketeer way to deal with potential harm.

If there’s something actually harmful in the products, it should be regulated.

If your concern is processed food, you should encourage people to stay away from processed food, “organic” or not.

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Grape flavored yeast? Wow we can brew Malt Duck at home! Where’s all those underaged chicks that liked Malt Duck so much in 1982? Oh yeah they’re in their 40s now. Foiled again!

Does anyone here know the best place for budding microbe nerds to hang out? Ever since reading a microbiology textbook in order to help someone pass a class (I was just supposed to read a couple chapters, but quickly got obsessed) every story that comes out blows my mind…

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For many people GMOs simply fall into the category as “Benghazi!”

[quote=“AcerPlatanoides, post:16, topic:57889”]
Is it that you think we’re stupid?
[/quote]What a terribly odd thing to say.

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Let me start out by saying that I have absolutely no issues eating artificial chemicals. I do so all the time. What I have an issue with is calling them natural.

Artificial flavors are often not the same chemicals to what they’re trying to emulate. A great example of this is Vanilla. One of the artificial “vanilla” flavorings used in a lot of foods is ethylvanillin. It has a ethoxy group instead of a methoxy group like vallinin which makes it taste about 3x stronger. Before it was created in a lab in the late 1800s, no one had ever ingested it. Just because you alter some yeast to produce it doesn’t make it natural. It simply an organically produced artificial flavoring.

Don’t get me wrong, I also have a problem with what’s allowed under “natural flavoring” too. You can extract vanillin from cow poop, add some alcohol and call it natural flavoring and sell it as a premium. It seems entirely unethical to me however to do so.

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There is a vast difference between your sweet potatoes with bacteria co-evolved to exchange genetic information and this:


Next thing you;ll say Dolly the Sheep was basically just the product of a long history of animal husbandry.

Why? How? Your personal value judgments do not make transgenetic modifications any less of a natural operation.

Expertly, I am sure. No hubris involved, nothing would go wrong. And thus the ethical and safety considerations.

I don’t have a problem with yeast making whatever. I think there is sense in it.

I have a problem with ever releasing it from a lab or even manufacturing setting. Ever. EVER.

You’re playing semantics, and that doesn’t hold any value.

Your semantics games in the attempt to differentiate “natural therefore safe” and “bad and dangerous” transgenetics however, are acceptable, right, and just.

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Dolly wasn’t a GMO, but now she’s a red herring.

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Of course there will be mistakes, just like there are mistakes now (the recent Blue Bell ice cream recall comes to mind.) If the FDA and the food companies’ QA staff do their jobs well, those mistakes will be caught at the lab or production facility level, before they impact the public (as in all the cases we don’t hear about, where a company was forced to destroy a batch of their products before it left the factory.) If they don’t do their job well, those mistakes will escape (as in the Blue Bell case.)

So the FDA will need to develop new tests, policies, and procedures to react to these new food, food additive, and drug creation tools and techniques. I would imagine some of the policies they’ll need already apply to yeasts sold for baking and brewing applications; they’ll need to expand those to apply to yeasts used in the creation of flavor and aroma enhancers.

Do you have a problem with releasing the yeast itself, or the products created by the yeast? I was under the impression that these companies would be releasing the products that impart the flavor and aroma of a particular food (the “spices”) not the yeast itself. Otherwise you’d get people trying to add these yeasts to the equivalent of sourdough starter and making their own from which to harvest the “spices” so they could avoid paying the company. [I suppose [Fleischmann’s]1 could consider selling yeast that has been modified to produce more of the chemicals that give the “fresh baked bread” smell, but that’s a bit of a special case.]


As I understand, their arguments are exactly this.

Don’t you know that it’s now “Frankenyeast”, and it’s literally impossible to prove beyond a doubt that it won’t have drastic effects on the environment.

You’re playing semantics, and that doesn’t hold any value.

Sigh. Given that “semantics” is the study of the actual, literal meaning of sentences, yes, yes, we are ‘playing’ semantics. The semantics of a text probably have at least 90% of the “value” or information of the text. (Sorry, I’m a philosopher, and this common misunderstanding of this term irks me.) And semantics is pretty much what’s going on with transgenics, breeding, and other kinds of genetic manipulation.

All of these techiniques involve manipulating the DNA ‘text’ of organisms. It is true that the reading of this text might result in toxic proteins or an organism that has some unforeseen and unintended impact on the ecology. And we do need to keep an eye out for that. But the origin of the text doesn’t really matter. If anything, with GM techniques, it might actually be easier to figure out and fix any bugs it the DNA code than it is with so-called “natural” breeding. At the very least, we could discontinue that product.

For comparison, you might think about the bad results of “natural” but ill-managed overbreeding with pure bred dogs. Could it be possible that “artifical” genetic manipulation might actually result in healthier animals than “natural” breeding?

“I have a problem with ever releasing it from a lab or even manufacturing setting. Ever. EVER.”

It might be possible to rig these little beasties with telomeres or something, but people got mad when Monsanto wanted to use “terminator” genes in their products.

Do you have any reason to think that yeast that tastes like vanilla would have any effect on the environment that regular yeast wouldn’t?

Seriously, give me your best ripple of evil here.

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