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In an archived video produced by CBS news in 2011, now buried, and difficult to retrieve with a cursory search, the clip still exists for those who spend a little time digging. Probably only one of its kind, Maury Safer interviews and visits the interior of one of the largest food chemical manufacturing companies in the world. Its name is unfamiliar to most, but its products touch every single one of us. The chemical plant is in high production of something you put into your body every day; natural flavorings. Despite it’s innocent sounding name, you will find that ‘natural flavor’ whether its ‘natural lemon flavor’ or ‘natural chicken flavor’, may contain little to anything you’d consider natural. Instead, that means it can contain absolutely nothing truly derived of a lemon or chicken. In its place it may be completely ‘unnatural’, that was most likely devised in a glass test tube with hazmat precautions. A Germany based company, Giovaudin, manufactures sense tantalizing products, from flavorings to fragrances. These chemicals can be found in everything from the laundry detergent we use, to the cereal we eat. In this unprecedented insider’s visit to the manufacturing plant, Maury Safer who’s wearing a hard hat, leisurely walks the cement walled corridors guided by an employee of Giovadian. They too wear hard hats, in addition to work boots, and acid proof gloves. Maury Safer listens intently, over the hum of conveyer, cranes and loaders within the bowels the natural flavoring production plant. This is where their chemicals reach nearly every type of item of food Americans consume in the grocery store. Their ‘natural flavorings’ reach products that we eat everyday including chicken, bouillon cubes, BBQ sauce, and salad dressings. This is just to list a few. There seems little to nothing natural within these cement walls, as steel girders and submarine sized vats swirl concoctions of sludge. The vessel sized tubs churn down a stiff brown liquid until it has a viscosity similar to transmission oil. It is then being pumped through hoses and formed into a solid that is then transformed into a powder. The ingredients are their best kept secret, and unbeknownst to us, showing up ubiquitously in nearly every packaged item we buy from the grocery store. This was just a glimpse of the production phase, one of the last steps in creating natural flavoring. These chemicals as a category, have definite potency, that are created to target your specific taste receptors. With great stealth, it creates intensity and sentience, so that nothing but this chemical creativity will ever do. Despite its unassuming name, this chemical category, has its own hazards, but their oral, dermal and inhalation toxicity are ‘not determined.’ What is most concerning, is the potential health implications for millions of people who are exposed at both high and low levels of these flavorings. Because they are natural flavorings, they may contain MSG derivatives, which are excitotoxins. By the nature of the name, these chemicals in effect have the ability to destroy nerve cells because of their toxicity to them. As a result, they have ultimately been proven to cause short term and long term problems for humans. When the nervous system is disrupted, our homeostatic functions cannot be carried out. This affects our ability to feel well, know our satiety, and maintain our weight.

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