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 Compiled by the Truth in Labeling Campaign – Revised December 23, 2005
 850 N. DeWitt Place, Suite 20 B, Chicago, IL 60611   (858) 481-9333 http://www.truthinlabeling.org
MSG-sensitive people react to the free glutamic acid that occurs in food as a consequence of fermentation and/or manufacture, and refer to it as MSG. Ingredients known to contain enough MSG to serve as common MSG-reaction triggers are listed on a form entitled "Hidden Sources of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)." This "Addendum" lists ingredients known, or suspected, of containing lesser amounts of MSG. This Addendum will be helpful to those who have little tolerance for MSG. It has been compiled from reports of MSG-sensitive people and discussions with food technologists.

The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient MSG to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:

Citric acid (citrate)
Corn starch 
Corn syrup 
Modified food starch 
Lipolyzed butter fat 
Milk powder
Rice syrup, brown rice syrup 
Reduced fat milk (e.g.., skim milk; 1% milk; 2% milk) 
anything Enriched or Vitamin enriched 
anything Ultra-pasteurized 
anything Protein fortified 
most things low fat or no fat 
any ingredient or product that is fermented 


Hidden MSG is not limited to use in food
Reactions have been reported to soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics. The most common hiding places are in ingredients that begin with the word "hydrolyzed" and in ingredients described as "protein" or "amino acids."  Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. They would probably not be used if there were no MSG present.

Binders, fillers, and/or carriers (used in "enriched" products, for example), and flowing agents, may contain MSG, but are not always mentioned on labels. In pharmaceuticals, these ingredients are usually listed in product inserts under "inert ingredients."

The food ingredient "monosodium glutamate" should not be found in, or on, products labeled "ORGANIC." However, MSG-containing ingredients such as autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, and citric acid are found in some "organic" products; and "hydrolyzed" ingredients are being used in some "organic" fertilizers. "Organic" does not mean free of MSG.

MSG-type reactions have been reported following ingestion of fish, seafood, and poultry, rinsed with phosphates. A phosphate rinse for meat is also available. Rinses are not mentioned on food labels.

There have been some reports of reactions to some sugar, some salt, and to meat that has been wrapped in cryovac (a thick, viscous plastic).

Just as poultry can be "basted" with an MSG-containing substance, meat can be injected with MSG. Some restaurants use basted steaks.

When "broth" is sold as "broth," its ingredients must be listed on its label. However, when "broth" (or any other product) is used AS AN INGREDIENT IN SOMETHING ELSE, its ingredients do not have to be disclosed.

Salad mix and prewashed vegetables may have been rinsed with citric acid.

MSG has been found in wax used on some raw (non-organic) produce.
Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are also potential sources of hidden MSG. Also, aspartic acid, found in aspartame (NutraSweet) may cause MSG type reactions in MSG sensitive people, depending on their tolerance levels. Aspartame is found in some medications, INCLUDING CHILDREN'S MEDICATIONS.  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.

Many multi-vitamins include minerals that are chelated with an amino acid.  This is also true of individual minerals.  Avoid minerals with names that include the words “glutamate,” “aspartate,” or “citrate.”  Also avoid minerals with names that include a parenthesis or footnote which state “an amino acid chelate,” “an aminoate complex,” “chelated with a protein,” or “chelated with a hydrolyzed protein.”

Chicken Pox vaccine and other vaccines contain MSG, most often in "hidden" forms.

Reactions have been reported to produce that has been fertilized or sprayed with MSG. AuxiGro is a spray that contains more than 29.2% MSG.  California has approved spraying WINE GRAPES and a number of other crops with AuxiGro, i.e., with MSG.

Because MSG, as such, is never labeled, It is difficult to avoid coming in contact with MSG.

Although it is getting more and more difficult to avoid processed free glutamic acid (MSG), it is still possible. The safest (but not always entirely safe) produce is organic produce. It is best to make things from scratch, avoiding all processed foods.

There are very few processed foods that acutely sensitive MSG-sensitive individuals have been able to eat without having adverse reactions. We mention the following because we have had no reports of adverse reactions from acutely sensitive individuals.

For breakfast cereals: Kashi seven puffed grains plus sesame seeds (white box with purple trim), Barbara's shredded wheat, unflavored oatmeal, and cream of wheat.
For snacks: Garden of Eaten plain corn chips (red, blue, white, and yellow corn).
Hagan Daas ice cream (vanilla and strawberry).

Avoid making stews or soups, or using a crock pot. (The extended cooking time tends to break down protein into individual amino acids.)  Be aware that some shrimp and other shell fish may have been dipped in trisodium phosphate, a product that has been known to cause MSG-type reactions in MSG-sensitive people. (Farm raised shrimp are usually all right).  Trisodium phosphate may also be found in chicken parts that were not broken down from whole chickens in the store where they were purchased, and on major brand chickens. Individuals who have reported reacting to Perdue and Tyson chickens have recommended purchasing regional brands of chickens rather than chickens from large national producers.

Avoid anything with aspartame. It works on the body in the same manner as does processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The new sweetener, Neotame, is a reformulated aspartame and should also be avoided.

This information has been prepared for individuals who have very little or no tolerance for processed free glutamic acid (MSG). It should be used in combination with the list of ingredients that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) that is found on our Web page at www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html.