“World Taste and Smell Day is designed to promote awareness of these senses. They delight us and protect us, but we take them for granted,” said Jenifer Trachtman, Director of Development for the Monell Chemical Senses Center, who helms the World Taste and Smell Day Steering Committee. “That changed with COVID in a most unfortunate way, as millions lost their sense of smell or taste and discovered how important these senses really are. Taste and smell loss was a public health problem before the pandemic. Today, these losses are a real crisis.”
With the World Health Organization reporting more than 113 million cases of COVID worldwide, “the impact has been profound,” said Valentina Parma, PhD, Chair of the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Researchers and Monell Assistant Director. “Researchers suggest a range of prevalence of smell and taste loss with COVID, anywhere from 52 to 82 percent. With so many people affected, we hope to provide a needed resource to support those experiencing taste and/or smell dysfunction.”
At 7:00 AM EST on September 14, World Taste and Smell Day will kick off with a global panel featuring Mindy Yang, Perfumarie; Dr. Jing-guo Chen, ENT China; Dr. Oghogho Braimah, ENT, Nigeria; and Ellen Lupton, Curator/Writer/Educator/Cooper Hewitt The Senses: Design Beyond Vision; and others to be announced and hosted by Michelle Niedziela, VP of Research, HCD Research. The launch event is free and available via Zoom by preregistration.
This year, World Taste and Smell Day is hosting an online Exploratorium of the Joy and Science of Flavor. It’s a community-fueled online exhibition of writing, visual art, science, and mixed media from around the world. “We are asking people to stop and smell the roses, to savor the flavor of their favorite foods, and then tell us about it,” says Trachtman. “We hope that people will reflect on a particular scent or smell memory or share an extraordinary taste experience in the Exploratorium.” Submissions can be uploaded here.
The mission of World Taste and Smell Day is to celebrate how taste and smell enhance our lives, promote awareness and a deeper understanding of these essential, and often neglected, senses, and provide a worldwide resource to support all of those experiencing taste and/or smell dysfunctions, whether from COVID-19, other viral assaults, head injury, or aging.
World Taste and Smell Day is made possible by support from Perfumarie, Young Living, Takasago, ECRO, HCD Research, and RIFM and the efforts of a worldwide group of scientists, patients, clinicians, artists, and professionals in the fields of flavor and fragrance. Steering Committee Members are: Oghogho Braimah (ENT Surgeon, Nigeria), Jing-guo Chen (ENT, China), Stephanie Feuer (Writer, NYC), Thomas Hummel (Smell & Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Germany), Sachiko Koyama (Scientist in Anatomy & Cell Biology, Indiana University), Karen Kreeger (Monell Center Director of Communications, Philadelphia), Michelle Niedziela (VP, HCD Research), Masha Niv (Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Valentina Parma (Lead of the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Research and Monell Center Member/Assistant Director, Philadelphia), Jenifer Trachtman (Monell Center Director of Development, Philadelphia), and Mindy Yang (Perfumarie, NYC).
Proceeds from Taste and Smell Day will be evenly distributed among the three leading patient associations for taste and smell disorders: AbScent, Fifth Sense and STANA (The Smell and Taste Association of North America).