Miraculin fruit legality?
April 19, 2007 6:55 PM   Subscribe

How legal is Miraculin?

After reading this great post on Miraculin (which makes anything acidic taste sweet), I decided to pick some up. Turns out it works better than advertised. I've wanted to share it with friends around here, but they are very straight-laced and understandably cautious (it does sound like a scam).

What I'm looking for is a piece of paper that says "Miraculin is legal to consume". (I'm in New Jersey, USA). This is to help convince people to come to this "fruit party" and also because I don't want to get anyone in trouble due to an obscure fruit importation restriction that I'm unknowingly violating.
posted by null terminated to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I believe you would actually need a piece of paper saying that it's -illegal- to consume. Things tend to be declared illegal rather than legal.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:06 PM on April 19, 2007

It's not a controlled substance, so it's perfectly legal to consume it. The FDA classified it as a food additive in 1974, so it has to undergo much testing before it can be marketed in the U.S. But the FDA can't make it illegal to eat the stuff, just to sell it.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:11 PM on April 19, 2007

Here's a google search for Miraculin on .gov sites. There's nothing coming up regarding illegality.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:11 PM on April 19, 2007

Along the lines of what cerebus19 said, I'm holding in my hand a big-ass bottle of Stevia (which I purchased at GNC) which is not permitted be be sold as a sweetener (food additive)but CAN be sold as a "dietary supplement".

(And by the way, thanks for the pointer to Miraculin..I need to get my hands on some!)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:14 PM on April 19, 2007

The miracle-berry bush is not that hard to grow, either, I am told. (Why am I suddenly hearing all about this fruit? In the past few weeks I must have encountered half a dozen references.)
posted by hattifattener at 7:22 PM on April 19, 2007

I realize it's hard to prove a negative, but a concrete piece of evidence saying it can be consumed would be very helpful for me. Or something generally saying why it's legal (cerebus19: are all food additives legal?). I haven't been able to find anything online saying it's illegal either.
posted by null terminated at 7:24 PM on April 19, 2007

As Cat Pie Hurts said, things aren't declared legal but illegal. Unless the government says that something is a controlled or illegal substance, anyone in the U.S. can consume it legally. The government controls what people can sell and how they can market it, but not what people eat.

For example, you could eat red hot nails, perfectly legally. I don't know why you would, but you could. But if someone tried to market red hot nails as something you should eat, they would be committing a crime.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:37 PM on April 19, 2007

Ok..here's something.

It's a quote from a WSJ article (the actual article requires a subscription. Here's the first paragraph:

"Miracle fruit remains in a kind of regulatory limbo in the U.S. It's perfectly fine to grow and sell it, because the Food and Drug Administration doesn't require prior approval to sell fresh fruits, though it can intercede if it suspects problems. The trickier part comes when people try to use it as an additive in other foods. That's when regulators start asking questions."
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:41 PM on April 19, 2007

Why am I suddenly hearing all about this fruit? In the past few weeks I must have encountered half a dozen references.

NPR Morning Edition did a segment on it in the last month or so.
posted by oats at 7:42 PM on April 19, 2007

Yeah, I heard the NPR piece, too. The "delicious dish" lady (aka the Splendid Table host) ate it, and she's as straight-laced as they come. If you play that segment for your friends, they shouldn't have any problem trying it. Should be able to find the podcast.
posted by Eringatang at 7:48 PM on April 19, 2007

Alright, it sounds as if it's not illegal and if it somehow were, I would be the one responsible (by buying it) and and not the people at the party who are only consuming it.
posted by null terminated at 7:49 PM on April 19, 2007

I'm hot, sticky sweet from my head to my feet yeah!

Mmm, thanks for asking about this, as it alerted me to the original post. Sweet as.

Null, it appears that you've run your supplier out of inventory. Most impressive.
posted by iguanapolitico at 8:22 PM on April 19, 2007

"Miraculin is legal to consume"

Print out this page. If you were mistaken and your friends need more than a piece of paper that says this to be convinced, you can go ahead and tell them it came from the Internet.
posted by Bokononist at 8:54 PM on April 19, 2007

Aww nuts, now I see the small print about wisecracks not helping people and I feel guilty.
posted by Bokononist at 8:56 PM on April 19, 2007

Just to foreware all those folks that want to buy seeds over the internet. These seeds lose thier viablity quickly. I ordered 12 seeds and none of them germinated. If you are looking for seeds you should try to buy them locally. Or get a cutting which is easier to grow.
posted by bigmusic at 10:52 PM on April 19, 2007

We ended up eating the miraculin. The event is documented here.
posted by null terminated at 11:50 AM on October 6, 2007

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