The miracle berry has the glycoprotein called Miraculin in it naturally. This is the protein that does all the work in altering your senses. If you are interested in the proteins’ chemical makeup, structure, and the deep science, you can read about it here. The protein is sensitive to heat, breaking down when exposed and rendering it ineffective. Miracle berries got their name from Miraculin which because of the miracle-like effect of changing sour to sweet. The more sour the food, the sweeter it becomes when using miracle berries. Though the effects are indeed miraculous, there are a certain number of entities who doubt the uses and benefits all together.
Uses and Regulation
Historically, people in West Africa used the miracle berry to sweeten the flavor of their foods, such as soured cornbread or palm wine. The berry continues to be used for similar purposes today. With the ability to alter tastes, miracle berries can be used for weight loss, diabetes or chemo patients, removing sugar from food without having to sacrifice flavor. Flavor tripping events have also risen in popularity, as people gather to consume the berry and then taste different foods together.
Miraculin and the FDA
In the beginning when the miracle berry was first brought to the US in 1968, two people tried to start a business, Miralin, that would produce a natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners using miracle fruit. By the mid-70’s they had applied to the FDA for their product as it needed to be approved before they could start producing for consumption in the U.S.. Everything seemed to be going successfully and there was not any major barriers...at first. One night the two founders of the company walked in on their office being broken into. Their files were stolen and noticed people following them. They suspect corporate espionage and corruption. Though these are just speculations of course, they are backed up by first hand accounts of those that initially gave them. After that, the FDA classified the berry as a “food additive” rather than a food itself. Because of the additive status, the FDA requires more than standard testing and certification which is a much more involved process. The requirements to have it passed through the FDA and labeled as “generally safe to consume” is what has stopped most companies from using it in their products. Now that the berry is in the hands of the USDA, United States citizens do not have to worry about regulation and can enjoy the berry and its miraculous effects, even though the protein itself is still classified as an additive.
Are Miracle Berries Illegal?
Simple answer is NO! All parts of the berry are legal. Where the confusion lies is in the term “food additive”. The USDA allows the berry to be imported and exported as a food; however, as soon as you try to add miracle berry or miraculin as an ingredient, or “food additive” in a product to sell, then the FDA has a problem. So adding it to other foods to be sold and consumed is a no no, but if you just buy the berry or our tablets then it is just considered a food (or plant if you buy a tree for yourself).