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Mayor reveals source of syrup smell

February 5, 2009 4:15:28 PM PST
A New Jersey factory that makes fenugreek seeds was the source of the mystery syrupy smell that wafted from time to time over New York City. "Given the evidence, I think it's safe to say that the Great Maple Syrup Mystery has finally been solved," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I want to thank the City's environmental protection and emergency workers, as well as their colleagues in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, for their diligence in finding the source of the smell, which was a lot like finding a needle in a haystack. Air samples taken by DEP have confirmed that the odor in New York City was an ester associated with fenugreek seed processing. The Health Department confirmed that the odor does not pose a health risk, but I am pleased to know that our OEM and DEP smelling sleuths got to the bottom of this mystery." The International Frutarom Corporation factory in North Bergen was tracked down to be the source.

The city Department of Environmental Protection dispatched a team of inspectors earlier this month after the city's 311 system was deluged with calls from New Yorkers reporting the mysterious scent drifting through parts of upper Manhattan and Queens.

In 2005, hundreds of people in New York and across the river in New Jersey reported the strangely seductive odor.

At the time, Bloomberg said a slew of agencies - the NYPD, the Office of Emergency Management and the Health Department - investigated the scent and found nothing toxic or links to terrorism.

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