Frutarom at Heart of NY’s Sweet Mystery

Off and on since 2005, New York City has experienced the inexplicable, benign appearance of a sweet maple syruplike smell. The mystery was treated playfully in the local and international press and even parodied on a 2007 episode of NBC’s 30 Rock in which the characters are plagued by the aroma of maple syrup. And now, some three years later, New York officials have identified their suspect: Frutarom USA (New Bergen, New Jersey). Or, more specifically, Frutarom’s fenugreek processing activities. New York officials were not able to conclusively link Frutarom’s activities, though the site does fit investigators’ assessments of wind patterns matched to the dispersal of the scent throughout sections of the city. In revealing their findings New York officials stressed that the company in no way violated any laws or regulations. And Mayor Mike Bloomberg pointed out that he enjoys maple syrup on French toast.

“We have been made aware of the statements made by Mayor Bloomberg … regarding the source of the maple syrup odors in New York,” notes a Frutarom statement. “The naming of our company as one of those potentially contributing to this condition came as a surprise to us. Frutarom USA manufactures natural flavors and health ingredients derived from plants. Fenugreek is a natural product that has been produced at the North Bergen facility for over 30 years in compliance with all laws and regulations.”

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