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What is MSG?


MSG is a product produced from fruits vegetables, grains, fish, meat, poultry, and/or bacteria.  When used in pharmaceuticals it is called a pharmaceutical.  When used in food, it is called a food.  Often, but not always, MSG is used in processed food as a flavor enhancer.

Simply stated, MSG is glutamic acid that has been manufactured in a food or chemical plant or created by fermentation.  In every case, the glutamic acid that has been manufactured in food or chemical plants or created by fermentation is accompanied by unwanted byproducts of manufacture referred to as impurities. Unprocessed/unadulterated/unfermented protein in any meat, fish, fruit, grain, vegetable etc., contains glutamic acid but no impurities. Unprocessed/unadulterated/unfermented mushrooms and tomatoes contain glutamic acid, but they do not contain MSG. 

Prior to 1957, MSG was made by extracting glutamic acid from protein.  Some MSG is still made that way, but since 1957, MSG has also been produced using genetically modified bacteria (genetically modified organisms or GMO’s), that secrete glutamic acid through their cell walls.

MSG can be extracted from any food that contains protein.  Similarly, when any protein is fermented, MSG (glutamic acid that has been released from protein by the fermentation process) will be formed.

The key to understanding MSG lies in understanding the fact that MSG is a product (something manufactured or processed), not a substance found in nature without adulteration (changing) it.

Regardless of the way in which it was produced, MSG contains unwanted substances referred to as impurities.

MSG causes adverse reactions in people who ingest amounts that exceed their tolerances for the substance.  Unadulterated, unprocessed, unfermented protein, which contains glutamic acid, does not cause adverse reactions.

Ingredients that contain MSG can be added to processed foods, or MSG can be formed or created during processing.