Extract added to New Mexican Restaurant Sauces?

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Both the green chile and red chile sauces in one of my favorite restaurants in Albuquerque have begun to convey an unusual and strangely hot quality not found heretofore. I wish I could be more specific, but the "bite" is unnatural, and I am quite familiar with hot chiles. Now, I have heard that some products are "spiked" and I am wondering if that is what is occurring. I am sure that the people at the restaurant are not doing it, but I wonder if one of their suppliers is introducing an adulterated substance.

So here are my questions, if you would be so kind as to address them:

1. Is there some regulation concerning the spiking of chile products coming into New Mexico?

2. Are New Mexico suppliers regulated to prohibit such adulteration in their own products either by the addition of capsaicin or otherwise?

3. What agents other than capsaicin are used in the industry to convey heat to chile products?

4. How commonplace are such adulterations nowadays?

5. If I were to obtain a name of the chile supplier to the above-mentioned restaurant, would you be able to discern from trusted industry sources what their product additives are in this regard?

Thank you in advance for any insights you may be able to provide in this matter.

Yours truly,

Hello Al:
It is possible that the restaurant is adding oleoresin capsicum, a concentrated extract, to heat up their chile sauces. This is more commonly done in food manufacturing than in restaurants, but it is possible. Most restaurants make their own sauces, rather than have them supplied. There is no other substance that would fire up a chile sauce. Regarding your other questions, no, there is no regulation about spiking food. New Mexico suppliers are not regulated in the manner you suggest.

There is no way to know the degree of adulteration, but in my opinion it is not common. I would doubt that any chile pods or powder are adulterated; if it occurred, it would be in the making of the sauce. As a final comment, I would suggest that you speak to the restaurant owner about this situation.


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