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A Japanese Company Will Begin Selling Tear-Free Onions This Fall



Onions are one of the most important and widely-used vegetable in the kitchen, but when it comes to chopping well, no one wants the job. A Japanese company- House Foods Group- says that tear-free onions will be coming to the markets this fall. There you go! Your solution to getting teary-eyed while chopping onions.



These onions are called “Smile Ball” which is smart because onion is usually the “Cry Ball”, making you cry. This type of onion is a result of two decades’ worth of research and experimentation. The theory comes from a paper published by House Foods Group in 2002, which stated that it is a possibility to alleviate the effect of tear-inducing enzymes in onions without compromising their nutritional value and flavour. Last year, the company announced that they have successfully made tear-free onion but did not mention anything about commercial production. So here’s the good news, the Smile Ball will hit the stores in Japan this fall.

Why Do We Get Teary-Eyed While Chopping Onions?

Volatile gas is released from the onion cells when they are cut by the knife. This volatile gas contains syn-propanethial-S-oxide: tear-producing lachrymatory agent and its presence makes you teary. Chopping the modified onions will give you a tear-free experience.



How Does “Smile Ball” Work?

House Foods Group has managed to inhibit the syn-propanethial-S-oxide production by bombardment of irradiating ions at the onions. This also lessened the sharp smell of onions. Fully grown Smile Balls have almost no tear-inducing compounds when they are cut. They are even said to have a sweet taste like that of apples or pears.

Trial runs were conducted in Tokyo shops with online purchases this year of as many as 5 tons of Smile Balls. In fall, these onions will be available across all of Japan at the price of 450 yen or 4.30 dollars for two packs. That is twice the price of regular onions but hey, no tears.


The Smile Balls are already quite popular and it is expected that they will be a huge hit after launch. However, some critics are concerned that as a result of continuous selective breeding, onions may lose their original flavour, like apples did.

What do you think? Is it a good idea?

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