Welcome to FEMA’s “All About Flavors” page!

Here you’ll find much helpful information about flavors and flavor ingredients. We hope you are able to explore these interesting resources tied to the history, sources, and safety of flavors.

Flavors have been safely added to the foods and beverages we enjoy for hundreds of years, and today’s flavor industry is committed to the continued safety of its ingredients. “Flavor” refers to a lot more than simply what something tastes like. Flavor is the entire range of sensations that we perceive when we eat a food or drink a beverage. Flavor encompasses a substance’s taste, smell, and any physical traits we perceive in our mouths, such as "heat" (for example, cinnamon) or "cold" (for example, spearmint).But flavor is even more than that.

Flavor is memory, too—of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, of the feeling of refreshment when drinking a soft drink on a hot day, or of a warm pumpkin pie on the holiday table. Flavor is discovery—the first time you taste a Caribbean-spiced potato chip, sharing a new tropical fruit flavor of ice cream with your children, or enjoying a new Asian-focused dish at your favorite local restaurant. And flavor is variety—a new twist on Mom's macaroni & cheese, or a new herbed mustard on a ham sandwich.

Flavors make life interesting!

Flavor Glossary of Terms

Flavor Fact
Foreign food

Myth vs. Fact

International Flavors to Savor

In recent years, American cuisine has expanded its traditional menu to include fresh new international foods and flavors, resulting in a clear increase in the number of international restaurants, cookbooks, and ingredients sold in supermarkets.

Flavor Fact
Salmon Fillet

Myth vs. Fact

Texture Tools: A Key to Flavoring

Words like salty, sweet, sour, and bitter describe common flavor taste perceptions, but taste alone does not make up your entire flavor experience. Other aspects like appearance, aroma, sound, and texture also contribute to a flavor’s taste.