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In The Mix: Fat, The Sixth Sense; The Hype Behind Printable Pills

Kraft Foods’ packaging recall, a newly-discovered taste bud and all the hype surrounding printed pills.

Fat: The Sixth Sense
Your taste buds certainly recognize when you eat a sour pickle, or a salty chip. But what about something fatty?

In a new study, scientists found that fat interacts with our taste buds in a way similar to the five basic tastes; sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and more recently – savory. 

The sixth sense is believed to profoundly change the way we eat by triggering the receptors in our mouths to recognize fat.

If engineers learn to manipulate the taste of fat correctly, it could allow food to taste better by either recreating the taste of fat or introducing substitutes that successfully mimic it.

And good news for consumers: With researchers learning to isolate the fat taste, the doors may be opened to an array of new food products.

The Hype Behind Printable Pills
This week the FDA issued one of its biggest approvals of the year when it gave its first-ever green light to a 3D printed prescription tablet. The new drug, called Spritam, was created by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to treat seizures in patients with epilepsy.

Here’s why the company is calling this new pill a big deal: To make it, the 3D printer layers the powdered drug, binds it together and then blows away the excess powder. In the end, the pill is more porous, meaning it’s easier to get down. This is great news for younger and older patients with epilepsy who have difficulty swallowing the larger tablets needed to treat their condition. The porous pills will also dissolve easily with water and rapidly take effect.

The technology also allows doctors to cook up a customizable dose, so that patients can carefully manage their treatment plan. And those customizable doses are expected to be cheaper with 3D printing than before.

This FDA approval is expected to open the door to more drugs being made with 3D printing and some wonder if it could mean that one day we’ll be printing drugs at home.

Spritam is expected to be on the market in early 2016.

There’s WHAT in That Cheese?
The highest profile recalls in the food industry this year have involved contaminated ice cream products.

And while Blue Bell Creameries and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams are working their way back from listeria-related recalls that shuttered their operations, a recently announced recall brought into focus another area that can lead to recalls for food manufacturers.

The Kraft Heinz Company is recalling 36,000 cases of Singles cheese slices due to the possibility that a thin strip of packaging film might remain adhered to the cheese after the wrapper is removed, and could potentially become a choking hazard. According to Kraft Heinz, there have been 10 consumer complaints about the packaging, along with three reports of consumers choking.

While recalls due to packaging issues or foreign matter contamination aren't as prevalent as those involving potential listeria, salmonella and E. coli contamination, or those associated with undeclared allergens or mislabeled products, they are something food manufacturers need to continue to focus on because food and consumer safety should always be the top priority.

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