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Deceptive and Misleading use of “No MSG” and “No Added MSG” by Industry
The Federal Register publication of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (first reference) is quite complete in its coverage of the subject of the deceptive and misleading use of “No MSG” and “No Added MSG” by industry. The balance of the material presented here complements it. 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.” It follows that to advertise “No MSG,” “No MSG Added,” or “No Added MSG” when there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product is also illegal; i.e., telling consumers that there is not MSG in products that contain any hydrolyzed protein or other ingredient that contains MSG, is illegal. (References follow.)
Federal Register, Vol 61, September 12, 1996, Pages 48102-48110. Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. (In the pdf sent to you, Pages 13-15: III. The “No MSG” Labeling Policy)
The FDA has acknowledged that 1) there are ingredients other than monosodium glutamate that contain processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG), and 2) that products are mislabeled if they state “No MSG Added”, No Added MSG”, or “No MSG” on the labels of products that contain processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG).
Janice F. Oliver, Director, Office of Regulatory Guidance, Center for food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA. Letter to Jack L. Samuels dated December 5, 1991. http:\\www.truthinlabeling.org\FDA_JaniceOliverLetter_12.5.1991.pdf
FDA Backgrounder. BG 95-16 (August 31, 1995). http:\\www.truthinlabeling.org\FDA.Backgrounder,1995.pdf (See page two, “Ingredient Listing”)
Bureau of Foods (FDA) March 3, 1981. Letter written to a consumer by Sonia I. Delgado.
Kay Holcombe, Acting Associate Commissioner for Legislative Affairs, FDA. Letter to the Honorable Alan J. Dixon, October 4, 1991.
Federal Register, Vol58, January 6, 1993 Page 2855. “As discussed in the June 21, 1991 proposal (56 FD28592 at 28600 et seq.), all hydrolyzed protein contains MSG…”
List of ingredients that contain glutamates. Sent by Darlene M. Bailey, Public Affairs Specialist, FDA. December, 1998.
Following legal action, food companies entered into consent decrees to stop claiming “No MSG Added”, No Added MSG”, or “No MSG” on the labels of products that contain processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG). Following issuance of regulatory letters that faulted food company claims of “No MSG Added”, No Added MSG”, or “No MSG” on the labels of products that contain processed (manufactured) free glutamic acid (MSG), those companies agreed to refrain from making such claims.
People of the State of California vs. Union Inc., a California Corporation doing business as Union Foods. Civil Action: CIV 111845. Suit filed in Ventura County Superior Court, 1990. (People of the State of California vs Union Inc; CIV 111845).
FDA: April 10, 1990 FDA Regulatory Letter to Fantastic Foods, Inc., Novato, CA. http:\\www.truthinlabeling.org\Labeling-FDA.FantasticFoods.pdf
FDA: November 13, 1990 Regulatory Letter, House of Tsang, San Francisco.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Plaintiff VS. S&B International Corporation, Defendant. Civil Action - Equity No. 358 MD 1992.
(Based on the inquiry of Attorneys General of the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Plaintiff VS Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated Defendant. Civil Action - Equity No 257 M.D. 1991
FDA warning letter to Live Food Products Inc. for several labeling violations for its “All Natural Bragg Aminos All Purpose Seasoning.”
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Plaintiff VS Matlaw’s Food Products, Inc., Defendant. Civil Action - Equity No 231 M.D. 1991
To repeat, for a store to claim/advertise “No MSG” when there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in a product is illegal. In telling consumers that there is no MSG in products that contain any hydrolyzed protein or other ingredient that contains MSG, is illegal.
The FDA, the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys General, and both State and Federal congresspersons should have interest in this matter.