Excerpts on MSG from Truth in Labeling
Beware – “Organic” Doesn’t Mean “No MSG”
“Autolyzed Yeast” and “Natural Flavoring” in organic products contain just as much processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as in conventional products.
In the late 1990s, when the Truth in Labeling Campaign became aware that there was to be a National Organic Program run by the USDA, we were fearful that placing a national organic program with the USDA would almost certainly undermine the integrity of the organic industry. Our deep seated concern stemmed from our growing understanding of the tremendous pro-big business, consumer-be-dammed influences exerted over Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA staffs by the food and drug industries; and our growing understanding of FDA and USDA infrastructures that enabled revolving door policies whereby industry personnel rotated in and out of the FDA and USDA, and/or FDA and USDA employees took lucrative jobs in the food and/or drug industries after retiring from the FDA or USDA. (We would later learn that those same influences affected decisions made my the US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).
On August 8, 1997, Auxein Corporation made application to the EPA for registration of its pesticide product AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro) containing the active ingredients GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) at 29.2 percent and processed free glutamic acid (MSG) (identified in the application as “glutamic acid” ) at 36.5 percent. Federal Register notices chronicling the application and approval of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and AuxiGro are available on the Web via GPO Access, the Federal Register, through: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html Testing of AuxiGro was also approved in that year, and many of the test crops sprayed with AuxiGro were brought to market without giving notice to consumers.
On January, 7 1998
The EPA granted processed free glutamic acid (MSG) (identified as “glutamic acid”) an exemption from establishment of a tolerance limit–meaning that there would be no limit to the amount of MSG residue from AuxiGro that could remain on a crop when brought to market. In that same month, AuxiGro was approved for use on a number of crops. Approval for use on all other crops came later. These approvals were not announced in the Federal Register.
On September 25, 1998
The name first used for MSG by Auxein Corporation (“glutamic acid”) was changed to “L-glutamic acid.”
Understanding how Ajinomoto Co., Inc., (the world’s largest producer of the flavor enhancer known as “monosodium glutamate” and a leading manufacturer of free amino acids) operates (www.truthinlabeling.org/l-manuscript.html), it occurred to us that Auxein might approach the organic community for organic certification. Might approach? Ha!
By the time we became aware that the EPA had approved processed free glutamic acid (MSG) for use on crops, and had also approved the “growth enhancer” called AuxiGro, Auxein Corporation had approached OMRI to recommend AuxiGro for organic certification. At the same time, we were told that OMRI had approval of AuxiGro virtually assured. The appropriateness of technical advice given to the NOSB and the USDA by OMRI had gone virtually unchallenged.
OMRI publishes and disseminates generic and specific (brand name) lists of materials rated by OMRI as being allowed for use in the production, processing, and handling of organic food and fiber. Much of the organic industry looks to OMRI for interpretation of research pertaining to the safety and/or appropriateness of products for organic use. If a product is added to an OMRI list of materials rated by OMRI as being allowed for use in the production, processing, and handling of organic food and fiber, the producer is charged both an initial charge and a yearly fee for maintaining their product on OMRI’s list. So if OMRI was able to convince the organic community to approve MSG and AuxiGro for use in organics, OMRI would receive both an initial fee and a yearly fee from Auxein. Thus, OMRI’s income is dependent, at least in part, on the number of products it successfully recommends be allowed to use the label “organic.” From 1999 to 2002, OMRI was pushing to add AuxiGro to its list of allowed substance, and to have the National Organic Program add processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and AuxiGro to the list of allowed substances on the National List.
A product called AuxiGro, which contains processed free glutamic acid (MSG), is being actively used on potatoes, and has been sprayed on other crops (at first primarily to russet potatoes, but also to head lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, and apples) either at test cites or generally throughout the United States.
In California, as of June 13, 2002
AuxiGro was registered for use on tomatoes, almonds, grapes, onions, and all stone fruit including apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, and prunes. When last asked, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation said they are not aware of any testing of AuxiGro for use on other crops. They also said that they did not have any proposals presently in house to register additional crops for AuxiGro. But they refused to send copies of test crop reports to the Truth in Labeling – even though such reports are supposed to be public record.
We also know that other products that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) are being used as fertilizers for organic crops. The two first brought to our attention because people reported reactions to vegetables that that had been fertilized with them were Steam Hydrolyzed Feather Meal and Omega Protein Refined/Hydrolyzed Fish Protein — both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG).
According to the Truth in Labeling Campaign’s “Hidden Sources of MSG,” MSG-containing ingredients found on the National List of Allowed Substances include:
• Citric – produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrate substances
• Carageenan – Cornstarch – Enzymes – Gums – Yeast autolysate – Brewers yeast – Nutritional yeast
• Calcium Citrate
THE MSG PRODUCED IN FOOD PROCESSING AND CHEMICAL PLANTS IS ALWAYS SYNTHETIC
It is true that in its unadulterated, unprocessed, unfermented free form, L-glutamic acid can be a building block of protein, a neurotransmitter, a neurotoxic amino acid, and an endocrine disrupter. When produced for use in food, drugs, cosmetics, and agricultural applications, however, L-glutamic acid is not produced in isolation. It is always a synthetic product that contains undesired contaminants along with the desired L-glutamic acid. When produced by way of acid hydrolysis or the Maillard reaction, this processed product contains carcinogens. When produced through bacterial fermentation, the bacteria used to produce the bacteria that excrete glutamic acid through their cell walls are genetically modified using various procedures which can include irradiation.
Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine (FluMist)
We found the following discussion about FluMist on the Web page of Dr. Joseph Mercola. The article, itself, was written by By Dr. Sherri Tenpenny
Risks of FluMist Vaccine
By Dr. Sherri Tenpenny
“An even greater concern about FluMist is the contents within the vaccine. Each 0.5 ml of the formula contains 10 6.5-7.5 particles of live, attenuated influenza virus. That means that between 10 million and 100 million viral particles will be forcefully injected into the nostrils when administered. The viral strain was developed by serial passage through “specific pathogen-free primary chick kidney cells” and then grown in “specific pathogen-free eggs.” That means that the culture media was free of pathogens that were specifically tested for, but not a culture that was necessarily “pathogen-free.” The risk that the vaccine may contain contaminant avian retroviruses still remains. In addition, a stabilizing buffer containing potassium phosphate, sucrose (table sugar) and nearly 0.5 mg of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added to each dose.
“One of the most troubling concerns over the injection of this “chemical soup” is the potential for the viruses to enter directly into the brain. At the top of the nasal passages is a paper-thin bone called the cribriform plate. The olfactory nerves pass through this bone and line the nasal passages, carrying messenger molecules to the brain that are identified as “smells” familiar to us. The olfactory tract has long been recognized as a direct pathway to the brain. Intranasal injection of certain viruses has resulted in a serious brain infection called encephalitis, presumably by direct infection of the olfactory neurons that carried the viruses to the brain. Time will tell whether the live viruses in FluMist will become linked to cases of encephalitis.”
We also found two articles on additives in vaccines on Web pages of the U.S.Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We have taken excerpts from both of them:
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
Additives in Vaccines Fact Sheet
Common substances found in vaccines include:
• Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate production of antibodies to fight off diseases and aid other substances in their action. In vaccines, adjuvants may be added to help promote an earlier response, more potent response, or more persistent immune response to disease.
• Antibiotics which are added to vaccines to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) in vaccine cultures.
•Egg protein which is found in vaccines prepared using chick embryos. Ordinarily, persons who are able to eat eggs or egg products safely can receive these vaccines.
• Formaldehyde which is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines. It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might be found in cultures used to produce vaccines.
• Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol which are used as stabilizers in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged even in the presence of forces such as heat, light, acidity, humidity etc. MSG is also found in many foods, especially Asian foods and flavor enhancers.
• Thimerosal which is a preservative that might be added to prevent the vaccine from spoiling. Thimerosal is also found in some contact lens solutions and throat sprays.
NATIONAL VACCINE PROGRAM OFFICE
Additives Found in Vaccines Additives used in the production of vaccines may include:
• Preservatives – such as thimerosal or 2-phenoxy ethanol, are added to slow or stop the growth of bacteria or fungi resulting from inadvertent contamination, especially as might occur with vaccine vials intended for multiple uses or doses.
• Stabilizers – such as lactose or monosodium glutamate (MSG), are added to stabilize the vaccine formulation against a variety of conditions, such as temperature variations or a freeze-drying process.
Note, also, that the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances lists glutamic acid as a toxin:
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances Glutamic acid, monosodium salt, L – (+) -
RTECS #: MA1575000, CAS #: 142-47-2, can be found on the Web at
Editor’s note: Articles published in and after the year 2000, such as the article by Ohguro et al. published in 2002, which attest to the toxic effects of monosodium glutamate, were not considered in the document cited above. Ohguro et al. found that rats fed 10 grams of sodium glutamate (97.5% sodium glutamate and 2.5% sodium ribonucleotide) added to a 100 gram daily diet for as little as 3 months had a significant increase in amount of glutamic acid in vitreous, had damage to the retina, and had deficits in retinal function. Ohguro et al. also documented the suspicion of many MSG-sensitive people that there is a cumulative effect to the damage caused by daily ingestion of MSG. (Ohguro, H., Katsushima, H., Maruyama, I., Maeda, T., Yanagihashi, S. Metoki, T., Nakazawa, M. A high dietary intake of sodium glutamate as flavoring (Ajinomoto) causes gross changes in retinal morphology and function. Experimental Eye Research 75:(3),2002). Source: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Vaccines.html
Hidden Sources of MSG
The MSG-reaction is a reaction to free glutamic acid that occurs in food as a consequence of manufacture. MSG-sensitive people do not react to protein (which contains bound glutamic acid) or any of the minute amounts of free glutamic acid that might be found in unadulterated, unfermented, food.
These ALWAYS contain MSG
Monosodium glutamateCalcium caseinate
(any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)
These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing
Natural pork flavoring
Bouillon and Broth
Natural chicken flavoring
Soy protein isolate
Natural beef flavoring
Soy sauce extract
Whey protein concentrate
Soy protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Anything protein fortified
Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s)
Anything enzyme modified
(the word “seasonings”)
The new game is to label hydrolyzed proteins as “pea protein”, “whey protein”, “corn protein”, etc. If a pea, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a pea. Calling an ingredient pea protein indicates that the pea has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is present. Relatively new to the list are “wheat protein” and “soy protein”.
Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.
MSG reactions have been reported to soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MSG is hidden in ingredients that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “amino acids,” and “protein.”
Low fat and no fat milk products often include milk solids that contain MSG.
Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MSG and of aspartame and neotame. Aspartic acid, found in neotame and aspartame (NutraSweet), ordinarily causes MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people. Aspartame is found in some medications, including children’s medications. Neotame is relatively new and we have not yet seen it used widely. Check with your pharmacist.
Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MSG.
According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin both of which contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) which causes brain lesions in young laboratory animals, and causes endocrine disturbances like OBESITY and REPRODUCTIVE disorders later in life. It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain MSG.
Reactions to MSG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts. MSG-induced reactions may occur immediately after ingestion or after as much as 48 hours.
Note: There are additional ingredients that appear to cause MSG reactions in ACUTELY sensitive people. A list is available by request.
Remember: By FDA definition, all MSG is “naturally occurring.” “Natural” doesn’t mean “safe.” “Natural” only means that the ingredient started out in nature.
MSG is sometimes hidden in food with labels that say “No Added MSG,” “No MSG Added,” and “No MSG”
Placing “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” on food labels has been deemed by the FDA to be false and misleading under section (403)(a)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act when the label also lists any hydrolyzed protein as an ingredient since it contains MSG.”(3) Thus, to advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when there is MSG in a product is illegal.
At one time, the FDA responded to the illegal use of the term “No MSG Added,” with both a Regulatory Letter and threat of seizure and injunction in case of non-compliance. At one time, State Attorneys General sued manufacturers that made such claims, and won consent decrees from them, and sometimes imposed fines. But when the FDA began to look the other way, and the State Attorneys General turned their attention to other matters, the deceptive and misleading use of “No MSG” and No Added MSG” once more began proliferating.
Following the FDA’s announcement in 1995
“…FDA considers foods whose labels say “No MSG” or “No Added MSG” to be misleading if the food contains ingredients that are sources of free glutamates, such as hydrolyzed protein,”
The incidence of such misleading and deceptive labels regulated by the FDA began to decline. At the same time, similar labels regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continued proliferating. At the USDA they don’t simply fail to enforce the regulation. The USDA actually approves labels of meat and poultry products that claim “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when they contain free glutamic acid.
If you write or call to ask whether or not there is MSG in a product…
If you want to find out if there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product, you must ask the manufacturer for information about “free glutamic acid.” Don’t ask about “MSG.” Manufacturers find it convenient, when speaking to consumers, to tell them that there is no “MSG” in their product, meaning that there is no ingredient called “monosodium glutamate.” Even if a manufacturer tells you there is no MSG in a product, there may be autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed pea protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, enzymes, and a whole slew of other ingredients that contain or create processed free glutamic acid (MSG) during manufacture.
If you are told that all of the MSG in a product is “naturally occurring,” thank the manufacturer for that meaningless information, but explain that all processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is referred to as “natural” by the FDA — so “natural” tells you nothing. In fact, as the word “natural” is defined by the FDA, the food ingredient “monosodium glutamate” is “natural.”
It is the amount of processed free glutamic acid in the product that will determine whether or not you might suffer an MSG reaction.
If the manufacturer claims not to know whether or not there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in his or her product, ask that the product be analyzed for free amino acids, including free glutamic acid. There are tests for measuring free glutamic acid. The AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (1984) gives one method. There are others. The cost of testing should be no more than $100.
We have been advised by the FDA that if any such misbranded products are brought to their attention, they will act to correct the situation. To report misbranded products to the FDA, please call the FDA at 888-723-3366 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., eastern time – and keep a record of your call.
Submissions of illegal labeling from conscientious label readers:
“NO MSG ADDED”
(In addition, they use disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate – expensive flavor potentiaters that work synergistically with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) – and, we are told, are only cost effective when used with processed free glutamic acid (MSG)
“No additives or MSG” Hydrolized Vegetable Protein
“No MSG” Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Sauce, Natural Flavors, Malt Extract, Wheat Starch
“NO MSG” Soy Protein Isolate, Yeast Extract, Carrageenan, Natural Smoke Flavor
“No MSG” Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Maltodextrin, Flavoring (In addition, Campbell’s used disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate – expensive flavor potentiaters that work synergistically with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) – and, we are told, are only cost effective when used with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) <<
“No MSG Added” Modified Food Starch, Natural Flavoring
Simply Organic Macaroni & Cheese “Our products DO NOT contain MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein…” Natural Flavors, Organic Autolyzed yeast extract
“No MSG” Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce (…hydrolyzed corn and soy protein…), Natural flavoring, Modified food starch
“NO MSG ADDED” Maltodextrin, Modified Food Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Natural Flavor
“Our products do not contain MSG…” Organic Autolyzed Yeast Extract
“NO MSG ADDED” Soy Sauce, Hydrolized Vegetable Protein
“No Added MSG” Chicken Broth, Chicken Base, Autolyzed Yeast Extract
“Contains No MSG” Contains: Chicken stock, high fructose corn syrup, chicken flavor, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate, Flavoring (Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate are expensive additives that work synergistically with processed free glutamic acid (MSG). It would not be cost effective to use them if there were no processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in the product.)
“No MSG” Nonfat milk solids, Cheese cultures, Enzymes, Maltodextrin, Enzyme modified parmesan cheese, Torula yeast, Natural flavor, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate
“No MSG” Enzymes, Maltodextrin, Autolyzed yeast extract, Modified corn starch, Natural flavor
The following label violations(8) were observed in 1999 on or after April 1, 1999
(Examples include names of ingredients that sometimes or always contain or create MSG)
“NO MSG” Contains: Cheese culture, Enzymes, Vinegar, Buttermilk powder, Natural flavor, Citric acid
“No MSG” Contains: Modified food starch, Cornstarch, Whey protein concentrate, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate, Maltodextrin, Mushroom powder
“No MSG” Contains: Chicken stock, Chicken flavor (dried chicken stock, gelatin, flavoring) Flavoring, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate
“No MSG” Contains: Chicken stock, Modified food starch, Maltodextrin, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate, Cultured whey, Modified food starch, Soy protein isolate, Chicken flavor
Campbell’s Healthy Request Hearty Tomato Ravioli with Vegetables
“NO MSG” Contains: Carrageenan, Pasteurized part skim milk, Cheese cultures, Enzymes, Modified food starch, Enzyme modified butter, Cream powder, Nonfat dry milk, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate
“No MSG Added” Contains: Modified corn starch, Isolated soy protein, Clam broth concentrate, Yeast extract, Natural flavor
Franco-American SPACE GOOFS shaped Pasta with MEATBALLS in Tomato Sauce “No MSG” Contains: Soy protein isolate, Enzyme modified cheddar cheese, Enzyme modified butter
“No Added MSG” Contains: Autolyzed yeast extract
Herb ox very low sodium Instant Broth & Seasoning Chicken Bouillon with other natural flavors
“NO MSG ADDED” Contains: Maltodextrin, Monoammonian glutamate, Gelatin, Citric acid, Natural flavoring, Disodium inosinate, Disodium guanylate
“CONTAINS NO MSG” Contains: 4540 mg glutamic acid per serving Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing
“No MSG” Contains: Natural flavor, Yeast extract (Newman’s has removed the “No MSG” claim from its label)
“NO MSG” Contains: Maltodextrin
If I wanted tainted foods I would be shopping at the regular super markets and be oblivious to what the ingredients are on the labels. I was suspicious a few years back when all of a sudden there was this explosion of so-called organic, healthy, all-natural products filling our store shelves. All sorts of new companies were suddenly appearing and making various processed foods and calling them “natural”, “organic”, no this or that. Now even WalMart is supposedly getting in on the act, that too made me wonder if it was for real.
It’s not for real, and we are being lied to and manipulated into believing that something is free of the chemicals when it isn’t. I’m getting pretty sick and tired of the deception going on for the sake of making a buck. If the people who make the ingredient choices at these companies aren’t concerned about what chemicals they add that’s their choice, but don’t manipulate and lie to the people so you can line your wallets with our money!
And if this nonsense about feeding us toxic substances and then turning around and developing a drug to counteract the effects of their chemical laden food doesn’t make these people lose sleep at nights… well, then perhaps some irrate concerned consumers will help them change their ways. You can bet I will be going out there and opening a can of worms on this one, I’ve had it!
I’m NOT going to sit back and resign myself to the fact that stuff like that is ok to do to the people. I will NOT resign myself to the fact that everything is toxic so why bother, geez, that’s like throwing the baby out with the bath water! Every single thing that we can do to reduce toxins DOES make a difference. It makes a difference in our well being, our children’s well being, and the well being of the environment.
I’m also not the least bit interested in playing their juvenile games either. They think they’re clever changing the names of these poisons and doing the ‘word’ thing. I’m not impressed, nor am I laughing. I WILL do everything in my power to spread the word on this subject and to put a stop to this type of manipulation. These are the people we elect, we pay their salaries, we set up these organizations to protect us, and these are the adults who not only set examples for our children but for all of us and our country… and we wonder “why” we’re sick, obese, and why our country is a mess and gets worse by the minute, and these people are suppose to be representing our needs and us!?
I think it’s time we start showing we care and get things back on the right track. I think it’s also time that we stop making excuses and rationalizing stuff like this to the point of convincing and conditioning ourselves into believing it doesn’t matter or that it will be ok some day, and accepting this kind of garbage. It’s not right, and it’s not even close to being acceptable!
PLEASE, just spread the word in any way you can and stop buying products that have these ingredients (above), turn the companies in who lie about the ingredients, talk to your store managers and let them know you know and that you care, put out press releases, do anything and everything you can… this is about the quality of our lives, it’s about the quality of our children’s lives and our grand children. If enough of us get together and yell, we WILL be heard and we WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE! We do not have to put up with stuff like this!