If MfG wasn’t harmful, it wouldn’t be hidden in drugs

When MSG and other sources of toxic manufactured free glutamic acid (MfG) are used in pharmaceuticals as excipients (a.k.a. “inactive” ingredients), manufacturers are not required to share that information with the public. This past June the Truth in Labeling Campaign reviewed the excipients found in vaccines with some frightening findings. The MfG we found hidden there will also be found throughout the realm of pharmaceuticals, both OTC and Rx ones.

The following excerpt from the recently posted article “What’s in your medicine may surprise you – a call for greater transparency about inactive ingredients,” published by conversation.com will give you an idea of what consumers are up against.

Product labeling for ‘inactive’ ingredients

“As the so-called ‘inactive’ ingredients in medicines, excipients are often mistaken as being free from potential harm. But the evidence suggests otherwise. Between 2015 to 2019, health-care professionals, patients, and manufacturers filed nearly 2,500 reports to the FDA about an adverse reaction to an excipient.

“While excipients are listed on packaging or package insert for over-the-counter and prescription drugs, this information can be difficult to find. Furthermore, patients often switch from brand name to generic versions, or the pharmacist substitutes one manufacturer for another. While the active pharmaceutical ingredient remains the same, excipients may be different, and even seemingly slight differences can significantly impact patient safety. For example, a patient may be allergic to an excipient in the newly refilled medicine with a different manufacturer.

“Excipients are critical materials and serve a broad variety of functions. They serve as fillers, help the body to absorb the medicine, and add flavor or color to drugs. In fact, some are often found in food products, such as lactose, peanut oil, and starch. In the United States, excipients are approved by the FDA as part of the review process for the finished medicine; they are considered by the regulatory agency as generally recognized as safe or ‘GRAS.’ However, a complete picture of their clinical effect remains unclear.

“Research from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has found that 92.8% of oral medicines contain at least one potential allergen, a concern for individuals with known sensitivities and intolerances. My recent research, investigating the safety of excipients in biologics, which are large complex molecules that are mostly administered through an injection, found case reports of injection site reaction, severe allergic reaction, spike in blood sugar level, and acute kidney failure associated with these ‘inactive’ ingredients.

“Despite some evidence that excipients are responsible for drug reactions, the amount of each excipient added to each drug is not reported for nearly half of biological medicines. In fact, our study found that 44.4% of the biologics’ labels do not list the concentration of the most commonly occurring excipients. This is true for all prescription medicines, not only biologics.

“This lack of information has important implications for patients with diseases prompting dietary restrictions – such as gluten or lactose intolerance, food allergies, or diabetes – because the amount of wheat starch, lactose, peanut oil, and glucose in their medicine can be potentially harmful.”

Knowledge is power. With the FDA working for both Big Food and Big Pharma, knowledge is your greatest asset.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

The hoax behind the ‘clean label’ on Impossible Burger

There aren’t many places you can find excitotoxic (brain-damaging) amino acids in greater quantity, packaged so nicely, and promoted with such vigor. And this fake meat product sports what industry calls a “clean label,” meaning you won’t find any monosodium glutamate listed.

What you will find in the Impossible Burger, however, are five main ingredients — what Impossible Foods calls the “details,” and a total of 6 ingredients with excitotoxic – brain damaging — amino acids.

They are:

  • Water
  • soy-protein concentrate
  • coconut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • natural flavors

Impossible “meat” also contains 2% or less of:

  • Potato protein
  • Methylcellulose
  • Yeast extract
  • Cultured dextrose
  • Food starch, modified
  • Soy leghemoglobin
  • Salt
  • Soy-protein isolate
  • Mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)
  • Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C)
  • Niacin
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Vitamin B12

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Was the Center for Science in the Public Interest ever really interested in the public?

It’s not unheard of for corporate propagandists to hijack grassroots organizations to further their agendas. Of course, the bigger, more respected and highly financed a non-profit group is, the better.

From what we’ve learned in dealing with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), led until three years ago by its salt-and-fat fighting guru Michael Jacobson, we can’t help but wonder when CSPI lost its way, promoting industry strategies instead of the “public interest.”

When Jacobson stepped down as president of CSPI in 2017 (although still said to be serving as a senior scientist with the organization), he was hailed as a “pioneer of food activism.” CSPI got big media buzz on crusades such as the movie-theater popcorn “Godzilla” campaign and the fettuccini Alfredo “heart attack on a plate” press release – leading to the group frequently being referred to as the “Food Police.”

But as Jack Samuels (co-founder of the Truth in Labeling Campaign) discovered many years ago, asking for CSPI’s involvement in what we thought would make more people aware of the dangers of MSG ended up going in the other direction.

Science in the corporate interest?

When Jack first approached CSPI back in the early 1990s, it seemed the group was aware of both the health risks of consuming MSG as well as the fact that the FDA was refusing to provide full disclosure of manufactured free glutamate (MfG) on food labels (still true to this day).

In 1993 he received a letter from Margo Wootan (recently promoted to CSPI vice president for nutrition) that indicated CSPI knew full well there is a difference between natural and “synthesized MSG,” as she called it. “It is a question that does not seem to be adequately addressed,” she wrote, accurately stating that manufactured MSG contains both D and L glutamic acid, which might explain why some people “react only to synthesized/added MSG but not to naturally occurring glutamate” that contains only “L.” (For more on that topic, go here).

While that might seem like a negligible point, it’s key to the glutamate industry’s spin that there is zero difference between unadulterated glutamic acid (including what’s found in the human body) and manufactured glutamic acid.

Jacobson and CSPI had the power to turn that into headlines. But they didn’t. Perhaps it wasn’t as sexy as “heart attack on a plate,” but it sure would be as important to the public.

After Jack received that initial note, which made him think we had found allies in our efforts to inform consumers, CSPI’s attitude mysteriously changed.

Jack described one case where an independent journalist was planning to cover a meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), organized to hear testimony on the safety of MSG. The writer canceled, however, after talking to Jacobson and being told MSG was a “non-issue,” and that he would be wasting his time.

Later, when Jack had high hopes that the FDA was taking notice and might act on unlabeled MfG in food, a CSPI staffer wrote to the agency saying that not enough was known about MSG to take any action. Jacobson even went so far as to tell the Wall Street Journal in an interview in 2007, “I don’t see normal amounts of MSG as posing a risk to the vast majority of people.”

Jacobson continued to practically parrot the glutamate industry when he told a writer in 2013 that he has been “waiting 30 years to see any decent studies, especially of people who claim to be extremely sensitive to MSG…”

And, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Currently CSPI actively promotes food products that contain MSG and MfG, such as Campbell’s Vegetable Soup with beef stock, loaded with yeast extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat gluten and monosodium glutamate. The group has a photo of the can with a green box around it indicating the soup’s superiority to other, higher-salt brands on its Pinterest page.

For anyone who still believes that CSPI is a consumer watchdog, ferociously guarding your best interests, it’s time to take another look. That reputation is certainly what supports the group, which is said to have an annual income of over $17 million, mostly from newsletter subscriptions and to a lesser degree, donations. And with the new CSPI president, Peter Lurie, coming straight from the FDA, it doesn’t seem too likely that the group will change its tune anytime soon.

As was said in an editorial over 20 years ago: With enemies like CSPI, the industrial barons squeezing the life out of our natural bounty need no friends.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

The Truth About AJI-NO-MOTO®

Reading about the Umami Seasoning Day celebration in Lagos, Nigeria, we came across an article titled The Truth About AJI-NO-MOTO, which we felt needed clarification. The update we offer here is based on the motto of The Truth in Labeling Campaign: “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about MSG.”

Note: our revisions are in red type and the patently false statements have been crossed out.

The Truth About AJI-NO-MOTO® — clarified by the Truth in Labeling Campaign

Since 1909 AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning has been used to bring out the best taste in food all over the world. The extensive body of research produced by Ajinomoto which exists about this widely used ingredient has been reviewed by independent Ajinomoto’s scientists and regulatory authorities (to whom Ajinomoto provided all materials for review) throughout the world – all have found of whom claim that MSG to be safe is harmless.

You can find out more about this from our parent site the Truth in Labeling Campaign here.

Feel safe enjoying tastes and eating

AJI-NO-MOTO® (MSG) has been safely used as a food ingredient since 1909. However, due to the common misconceptions, growing numbers of reports of adverse reactions caused by MSG, it is now claimed to be one of the most thoroughly tested of all food ingredients, with hundreds of scientific studies financed by Ajinomoto confirming proclaiming its safe and effective use. MSG’s safety has been repeatedly affirmed by regulators and scientific agencies around the world who were given selected studies done by Ajinomoto’s agents to use in drawing their conclusions that MSG is harmless.

History of scientific studies for MSG around the world

In the early 1950s, as processed foods increased in many countries all over the world, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations established a new committee, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), to evaluate the safety of food additives.

JECFA* evaluated the safety of glutamate in 1970, 1973 and 1987, all overseen by members of the glutamate industry. After three safety evaluations, JECFA placed MSG in the safest category, “Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) not specified”.

In 1991, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee for Food (SCF), after considering studies brought to it by Ajinomoto’s agents, also affirmed MSG’s safety. Having reviewed the most advanced and up-to-date research created by Ajinomoto on glutamate, the SCF published a report in 1991 which designated an ‘ADI not specified’ for MSG.

In 1995, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), with a review panel staffed by persons with conflicts of interest, reaffirmed the safety of MSG for the general population. In its review, commissioned by the FDA, FASEB’s panel of reviewers with serious conflicts of interest, found looked for no evidence linking MSG to any serious or long-term health effects, which led the FDA used to again reaffirm that MSG is a safe food ingredient at normally consumed levels.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Aspartame: the placebo used in ‘MSG-is-safe’ studies

But to make sure the conclusion that MSG is harmless would be beyond reproach, glutamate-industry researchers guaranteed that subjects would react to placebos with the same reactions that are caused by MSG. They did that by using aspartame as the toxic ingredient in their placebos, which worked well for them because the aspartic acid in aspartame and the glutamic acid in MSG cause virtually identical reactions (as well as identical brain damage). Having set that up, glutamate-industry researchers (and the propaganda artists who quote them) will say “These people aren’t sensitive to MSG, they reacted to the ‘placebo’ too.”


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Fraud?

Almost 30 years ago RN’s Rose Chop and Mary Silva writing in the Journal of Professional Nursing noted that “Scientific research typically has been founded on high ethical standards established by researchers in academia and health care research institutions. Scientific fraud, an act of deception or misrepresentation of one’s own work, violates these ethical standards. It can take the form of plagiarism, falsification of data, and irresponsible authorship. Scientific fraud has been attributed to misdirected attempts to attain high levels of personal and professional success. Researchers so prone commit scientific fraud in a search for promotion, status, tenure, and the obtaining of research grants.

With Big Food, we have seen another kind of scientific fraud – one that has nothing to do with attaining high levels of personal and professional success. Research grants are not needed by those who are paid up front to turn out these studies. And there is no need to falsify data as these studies were rigged in advance to produce the numbers that would be needed to draw the conclusions that their sponsor(s) had pre-ordained.

In a 2018 article titled “How do we tackle scientific fraud?” Anne Cooke writing for the British Society for Immunology stated that “fraud or scientific misconduct includes fabrication of data, falsification of data (including data selection and image manipulation), plagiarism (including self-plagiarism and use of other people’s data/ ideas), failure to meet ethical obligations such as obtaining patient consent, misuse of research funds, misrepresentation of data by, for example, not disclosing relevant findings, making inappropriate claims to authorship or failing to include an author who has made a significant contribution.”

Ajinomoto’s program for scientific fraud incorporates little or none of that. They don’t fabricate or falsify data, they simply design studies that will produce the results they are looking for.

If you use only subjects who have never had any reactions known to be caused by MSG, chances are good that the subjects in your study won’t have MSG reactions. If you limit your subjects to people on anti-migraine drugs, chances are that your subjects won’t have migraines. However, those designs aren’t foolproof.

Foolproof

There’s nothing second rate about Ajinomoto’s research. A variety of academics from various universities and medical schools were given study protocols and supervised by Andrew G. Ebert (Ajinomoto’s agent in charge of research) without the involvement of Ajinomoto being disclosed. Although they had common elements, no two studies were identical.

There was, however, one element that was shared by all — the use of excitotoxic amino acids in “placebos.” It’s actually elegant in its simplicity.

In a double-blind study, test material is given to a subject on one occasion, and on another occasion the subject is given a placebo. The placebo, if it’s a true placebo, looks, tastes and smells like the test material, but it will not cause a reaction. If the subject reacts to the inert placebo, the researchers could conclude that the subject is some kind of nut case who might react to anything, and therefore any reactions to MSG test material are coming from what the subject was thinking or imagining, not from the MSG. In industry studies of MSG-safety, subjects were not given true placebos.

That’s it. Simple. By giving subjects alleged placebos that cause the “right” reactions, there may be as many reactions to placebos as there are to MSG test material. From that, researchers could declare they had demonstrated that people really don’t react to MSG. But to make sure the conclusion that MSG is harmless would be beyond reproach, glutamate-industry researchers guaranteed that subjects would react to placebos with the same reactions that are caused by MSG. They did that by using aspartame as the toxic ingredient in their placebos, which worked well for them because the aspartic acid in aspartame and the glutamic acid in MSG cause virtually identical reactions (as well as identical brain damage). Having set that up, glutamate-industry researchers (and the propaganda artists who quote them) will say “These people aren’t sensitive to MSG, they reacted to the ‘placebo’ too.” Case closed!

Resources
FDA Adverse Reactions Monitoring System (ARMS) – Collected Reports of Adverse reactions to monosodium glutamate.

FDA Adverse Reactions Monitoring System (ARMS) – Collected Reports of Adverse reactions to Aspartame.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

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Without MSG, processed food wouldn’t sell — and there would be no obesity epidemic.

Have you ever stopped to consider that before there was ultra-processed food there was no obesity epidemic? And without MSG there wouldn’t be many, if any, ultra-processed foods on the market.

Flavor-enhancing ingredients aren’t highly visible in processed food, but they’re absolutely essential. Flavor enhancers mask off-flavors, make chemicals taste like food and bring what industry calls an “umami taste” to otherwise bland and unappetizing products.

Those who reap huge profits from the sale of processed foods wouldn’t have a foot in the door without flavor enhancers and won’t be giving them up any time soon. That’s despite the fact that each and every one of them contains excitotoxic (brain damaging) glutamic acid – a.k.a. glutamate.

There are three prerequisites for producing brain damage that will lead to obesity.

First is a brain that is vulnerable to damage due to injury or the immaturity of a fetus or newborn.

Second is sufficient free glutamate — or other potentially excitotoxic material to produce the excesses needed to become excitotoxic. More than enough free glutamate is present in processed foods to accomplish that.

Third, there needs to be a way to deliver this excitotoxic material to a vulnerable brain.

The fetus and newborn have brains that are vulnerable to damage by excitotoxins

In the 1970s it was demonstrated that the brains of newborn animals are vulnerable to glutamate insult. Brain damage, followed by obesity was produced in newborn mice (whose brains, like those of humans, are not fully developed). A student in Dr. John Olney’s lab had observed that mice being used in studies of glutamate-induced retinal dysfunction had become grotesquely obese. A series of studies by Olney and others followed. Many were studies of MSG fed to animals.

Today, there is more than sufficient excitotoxic glutamic acid in ultra-processed food, “fake” food, protein substitutes, and dietary supplements to cause excitotoxicity

When present in amounts needed for normal body function, the neurotransmitter glutamic acid is essential. But when accumulated in amounts greater than the body requires, glutamic acid becomes an excitotoxic neurotransmitter, firing repeatedly and damaging the cells that host targeted glutamate-receptors and/or causing death by over-exciting those glutamate receptors until their host cells die.

Additional confirmation of the brain-damaging effects of excitotoxic free glutamic acid comes from research focused on identifying and understanding human diseases and abnormalities associated with glutamate, often for the purpose of finding drugs that would mitigate glutamate’s adverse effects. By 1980, glutamate-associated disorders such as headaches, asthma, diabetes, muscle pain, atrial fibrillation, ischemia, trauma, seizures, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, addiction, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), frontotemporal dementia and autism were on the rise, and evidence of the brain-damaging effects of glutamate were generally accepted by the scientific community.

To become excitotoxic, glutamic acid must be accumulated in considerable quantity. There have always been excitotoxins, although not in food in excessive amounts. But that changed in 1957 when extraction of glutamate from a protein source (which had been a slow and costly method) was replaced by carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls. That transformation allowed, and still allows, for virtually unlimited production of manufactured free glutamate and MSG.

It wasn’t long before food manufacturers found that profits could be increased by using manufactured free glutamate to produce their own flavor-enhancing additives, and dozens of excitotoxic ingredients were added to the food supply.

Over the next two decades foods containing manufactured/processed free glutamate in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate and MSG flooded the marketplace. And the large amounts of manufactured free glutamate needed to cause excitotoxicity became readily available to anyone consuming multiple processed food products during the course of a day.

Excitotoxins are delivered to the vulnerable brains of fetuses and newborns by their pregnant mothers

Delivery of excitotoxins to the fetus and newborn is easy to understand. Nourishment (and not so nourishing material) is delivered to the fetus in the form of material ingested by a pregnant woman and passed to the fetus through the placenta. A newborn is nourished through its mothers’ milk.

Data from Frieder and Grimm and others confirm that free glutamate can be passed in excessive quantities to neonates and fetuses by expectant mothers who ingest excessive amounts. Glutamate can cross the placenta during pregnancy, can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) in an unregulated manner during development and can pass through the five circumventricular organs (unique areas of the brain that lie outside the BBB) which are leaky at best at any stage of life. Moreover, the BBB is easily damaged by fever, stroke, trauma to the head, seizures, ingestion of MSG, and the normal process of aging. Similar to drugs and alcohol, free glutamate can also be passed to infants through mothers’ milk.

The obesity epidemic was set in motion as the amount of manufactured free glutamate in processed food, “fake” food, protein substitutes, and dietary supplements became sufficient to wipe out brain cells in the area of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus that would have controlled satiety, appetite, and food intake had they not been obliterated by flavor-enhancers like MSG.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Industry’s FDA

It’s no secret that the FDA represents the interests of Big Food and Big Pharma – not consumers. Here is a small example of its allegiance to large corporations that we hadn’t noticed before. Unfortunately, many people still believe that if the FDA says something it must be true.

The following comes from the FDA page called “Questions and Answers on Monosodium glutamate (MSG)” found here: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/questions-and-answers-monosodium-glutamate-msg accessed on 7/22/2020.

What is MSG?

The FDA says that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of the common amino acid glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is naturally present in our bodies, and in many foods and food additives.

How is it made?

The FDA says that MSG occurs naturally in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheese. People around the world have eaten glutamate-rich foods throughout history. For example, a historical dish in the Asian community is a glutamate-rich seaweed broth. In 1908, a Japanese professor named Kikunae Ikeda was able to extract glutamate from this broth and determined that glutamate provided the savory taste to the soup. Professor Ikeda then filed a patent to produce MSG and commercial production started the following year.

What is MSG?

Mono (single) sodium glutamate in science-speak is glutamate tied to a sodium ion, just as monopotassium glutamate would be glutamate tied to a potassium ion. That’s the makeup of the mono sodium glutamate occurring naturally in our bodies. (Glutamate is rarely found “free,” but is ordinarily tied to an ion such as sodium or potassium.)

The monosodium glutamate that Ajinomoto is selling is made up of manufactured glutamate, the impurities that invariable accompany manufactured glutamate, and sodium.

How is it made?

MSG doesn’t occur naturally anywhere — it’s made – manufactured! The monosodium glutamate that Ajinomoto is selling is a product made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa where glutamate is produced by genetically modified bacteria that secrete glutamate through their cell walls, which is then mixed with sodium. (The process for manufacturing MSG has been patented, and as the process is improved over time new patents are awarded.)

Want to learn more about how the FDA cooperates with industry? You’ll find it on the webpage of the Truth in Labeling Campaign, on Pinterest, in It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, It Was MSG, in The toxicity/safety of processed free glutamic acid (MSG): A study in suppression of information, and in countless books such as White Wash by Carey Gillam, and Eating May Be Hazardous To Your Health – The Case Against Food Additives by J. Verrett and J. Carper.


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Tweaking the truth

Psychologists say that if you read, hear or see something often enough, you’ll begin to believe it’s true. Those who manufacture monosodium glutamate (a.k.a. MSG), clearly understand that and have developed cozy relationships (or used other tactics) to influence practically anyone and everyone who has the eyes or ears of consumers. The intent is to promote the message that MSG is a harmless (or even safe) food additive by repeating that mantra over and over again for the public to see, hear, and absorb. Their targets are online “influencers,” those who write for, or are mentioned in, print and internet media, Facebook, Twitter, all other social media outlets, magazines of every description, and, yes, medical journals.

Targets have included celebrity doctors such as Andrew Weil, M.D., respected educational institutions such as Yale, large media outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the BBC, popular information sources like Food Navigator, and, of course, industry’s lap dog, the FDA.

You probably haven’t noticed all the propaganda being put forth to gain your trust. You’re supposed to absorb it, not notice or analyze it. And those who manage the many glutamate-industry agents who inform you that MSG is harmless or beneficial have successfully worked their con game into a science.

Authors are of all descriptions, some well-known, others not. Some will use assumed names. Some contribute only one article on the harmless nature of MSG, while others like Yvette d’Entremont appear to have a cottage industry going with multiple blogs and podcasts not only about the “safety” of MSG, but about the safety of other toxic substances such as Roundup.

Finding a way to get the word or concept “science” in front of the reader appears to be particularly popular, as if that somehow guarantees that something scientifically proven will be included in the presentation. “Science Friday” and “SciBabe” are two examples.

The following list of writers who have published or endorsed glutamate propaganda is far from complete, but it does represent how far and wide industry has been able to send forth its messaging to the public.

Author, publisher, title of article

Grant Achatz, chef
Interviewed by First We Feast:
“Grant Achatz Doesn’t Go Anywhere Without a Bottle of MSG, and Here’s Why”

Interviewed by msgdish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Chef Grant Achatz takes MSG to the Test Kitchen”

Donovan Alexander
Appeared in Interesting Engineering:
“MSG makes food taste delicious, but is it actually safe?”

Toby Amidor, MS, RD
Appeared in U.S. News & World Report:
“Scientists have known MSG is safe for decades. Why don’t most Americans?”

Appeared in SHAPE:
“The truth about whether MSG is bad for you”

Quoted in Today’s Dietitian:
“A fresh look at MSG”

Quoted in Food News:
“Why are you still afraid of MSG?”

Elisabeth Anderson
Appeared in Michigan State University Center for Research on Ingredient Safety 101 Series:
“Monosodium Glutamate”

Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA
Appeared in MSGdish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Serving science about MSG”

Tiffany Ayuda, former senior editor at Prevention and Eat This, Not That
Appeared in Livestrong.com:
“The verdict on MSG: Is it really safe to eat and where is it lurking?”

Anna Maria Barry-Jester, formerly with ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity
Appeared in FiveThirtyEight:
“How MSG got a bad rap: Flawed science and xenophobia”

April Benshosan
Appeared in Livestrong.com:
“Everything you need to know about food ingredients and additives

Michael Blanding
Appeared in Colgate Magazine:
“The strange Case of Dr.Ho Man Kwok”

Heston Blumenthal
Referred to in First We Feast:
“Grant Achatz Doesn’t Go Anywhere Without a Bottle of MSG, and Here’s Why”

Joanna Blythman
Appeared in The Guardian:
“Chinese restaurant syndrome: Has MSG been unfairly demonized?”

Aaron E. Carroll
Appeared in The New York Times:
“Relax, you don’t need to ‘eat clean’”

Lydia Chain
Appeared in ScienceLine:
“MSG: Just some extra umami oomph”

David Chang, American restaurateur, author, television personality, and founder of the Momofuku restaurant group
Referred to in First We Feast:
“Grant Achatz Doesn’t Go Anywhere Without a Bottle of MSG, and Here’s Why”

Appeared on Eater:
“Watch David Chang’s MAD Talk on the Stigma of MSG”

Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD
Appeared in MSGDish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in China have a headache?”
“Breaking down the truth about MSG safety: Is MSG bad for you?”
“YES to cooking at home and answers to “how to use MSG?”


Chin has also contributed to numerous podcasts, articles and blogs providing her “expert” opinion on the “safety” of MSG. She is a consultant to Ajinomoto, Bayer (which acquired Monsanto), and others, specializing in “provocative nutrition topics.”

Stefan Chin, SciShow producer
Video presentation for SciShow:
“The truth about MSG and your health”

On January 28, 2019, the SciShow on YouTube, hosted by Stefan Chin, gave us one of the finest examples of glutamate-industry propaganda seen to date, designed to convince its audience that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive. Chin’s recipe for deception is classic.

Bethany Jean Clement, Seattle Times food writer
Appeared in the Seattle Times:
“To MSG or not to MSG? That is the question”

River Davis, Wall Street Journal staff writer
Appeared in the Wall Street Journal:
“Rescuing MSG’s unsavory reputation”

The article headline changed shortly after publication to:
“The FDA says it’s safe, so feel free to say ‘yes’ to MSG”

Signe Dean, ScienceAlert.com managing editor
Appeared in Science Alert:
“This simple video breaks down the real truth about MSG safety, with science”

Carrie Dennett
Appeared in The Seattle Times:
“Avoiding MSG? Look beyond the myths”

Appeared in The Beacon:
“A second look at MSG corrects the record”

Yvette d’Entremont, a.k.a. “SciBabe”
Appeared in Self:
“We all really need to stop freaking out about MSG”
“No more freaking out about MSG”

Caitlin Dewey, specialist in “digital deceptions”
Appeared in The Washington Post:
“Why some Americans avoid MSG even though its ‘health effects’ have been debunked”

Sarah Dickerman
Appeared in Slate:
“Could MSG make a comeback?”

Martin Downs, MPH
Appeared in WebMD:
“The truth about 7 common food additives”

Elizabeth G. Dunn
Appeared in The Wall Street Journal:
“From MSG scare to MVP status: How we learned to love umami”

Yara Elmjoule
Appeared on Facebook and YouTube:
“Stop blaming MSG for your headaches”

Greg Foot, science broadcaster on BBC
Appeared on BBC Earth Lab:
“What is MSG?” (A video presentation)

Sarah Garone, NDTR
Appeared in Today’s Dietician:
“A fresh look at MSG”

Natasha Geiling
Appeared in Smithsonian.com:
“It’s the umami, stupid. Why the truth about MSG is so easy to swallow”

Michael Kerr and Rena Goldman
Appeared in Healthline:
“What is an MSG allergy?”

Amanda Green
Appeared in Decoding Delicious:
“What is MSG, and is it safe to eat?”

Veronique Greenwood
Appeared in BBC Future:
“The man who discovered umami”

Annaliese Griffin, editor, Quartz Daily Obsession
Appeared in Quartz:
“The persistent, racist myth of “Chinese restaurant syndrome” just won’t die”

Marie Haaland
Appeared in SWNS:
“Research finds that close to half of millennials believed these debunked food myths”

Appeared in The New York Post:
“The top ‘food myths’ we have all fallen for”

Bridget Hallinan
Appeared in Food&Wine:
“New Campaign Calls on Merriam-Webster to Redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’

Tim Hayward
Appeared in Financial Times:
“OMG I love MSG”

Theresa Hedrick, MS, RD
Appeared in MSGdish (website of the Glutamate Association):
“Is MSG Natural? How is MSG made?”
“Is MSG addictive?”

Hannah Hempenstall
Appeared in Better Homes and Gardens:
“Everything you need to know about MSG”

Liz Highleyman
Appeared in MedPage Today:
“Patients often mistake migraine ‘triggers’”

Eddie Huang, actor, restauranteur, chef
Interviewed by NBC News:
“Eddie Huang on racial insensitivities behind MSG, Chinese food criticisms”

Interviewed by Finedininglovers.com:
“Why ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ is BS!”

Interviewed by The New York Times:
“The campaign to redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

Interviewed by Vice:
“People are fighting to change an anti-MSG term in the Merriam-Webster dictionary”

Interviewed by HeraldNet, Everett, Washington:
“Asians cringe at ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ in dictionary”

Michael Hull
Appeared in Examine.com:
“Is MSG (monosodium glutamate) bad for your health?”

Erin Kelly
Appeared in Thrillist.com:
“Is MSG actually terrible for you?”

Hannah Kerns
Appeared in SheFinds:
“The One Food No One Should Be Eating Anymore In 2020 Because It’s SO Bad For You”

Michael Kerr and Rena Goldman
Appeared in Healthline:
“What is an MSG Allergy?”

Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, LDN, CPT
Appeared in MSGdish.com (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Secrets of tasty Latin American cuisine with an umami boost”

Chris Koetke, chef
Appeared in SOUNDBITESRD:
“THE ART & SCIENCE OF MSG & UMAMI”

Appeared in MSGdish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Do’s and don’ts of using MSG in cooking”

Chris Koetke actively promotes MSG on the MSGdish YouTube Channel. There are 19 links to this article listed on Google.

Becky Krystal, Washington Post food reporter
Appeared in The Washington Post:
“Embrace umami and learn to add its savory goodness to your foods”

Appeared in GoodFood:
“What’s the deal with …umami? (and how to add its savoury goodness to your cooking)”

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Appeared in WebMD:
“Is MSG really so bad?”

Keng Lam, MD
Appeared in The Berkeley Wellness Letter:
“Is MSG safe?”
“Is MSG (monosodium glutamate) bad for you?”

Abby Langer
Appeared in Chatelaine:
“Everything you think you know about MSG is wrong”

Appeared on Twitter:
“MSG is completely safe”

Elizabeth Laseter, digital editor, Whole Foods Market
Appeared in Allrecipes:
“What is MSG (monosodium glutamate) – and is it safe to eat?”

Joe Leech, MS
Appeared in Healthline:
“MSG (monosodium glutamate): Good or bad?”

John Lehndorff
Appeared in Boulder Weekly:
“Umami: The next level”

Anthea Levi
Appeared in Eat This, Not That!:
“Is MSG actually bad for you?”

Michelle Liang ’23 (A Duke student)
Appeared in DukeArts:
“From MSG to COVID-19: The politics of America’s fear of Chinese food”

Kevin Loria
Appeared in Business Insider:
“Is MSG sodium in Chinese food safe to eat?”

Claire Lower
Appeared in Lifehacker Skillet:
“Put MSG in everything, you cowards”

Fiona Lu, University of Chicago Booth School of Business undergraduate student
Appeared in UChicago Bite:
“Demystifying MSG”

Gus Lubin
Appeared in Business Insider:
“Everyone should cook with MSG, says food scientist”

Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure Magazine assistant editor
Appeared in Rachael Ray Every Day:
“Surprise: MSG has been completely safe to eat all this time”

John Mahoney
Appeared in Buzzfeed:
“The notorious MSG’s unlikely formula for success”

Jeannie Mai, TV host and celebrity stylist
Appeared in adweek.com:
“Celebrities Want to Redefine ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’”

Appeared in arkansasonline.com:
“Bid starts to redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

Appeared in NBC News:
“Eddie Huang on racial insensitivities behind MSG, Chinese food criticisms”

Appeared in adage.com:
“MSG maker starts campaign aimed at debunking ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome”

Appeared in Federal News Network:
“Merriam-Webster revises ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ entry”

Appeared in Food&Wine:
“New Campaign Calls on Merriam-Webster to Redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

Appeared in ABC News:
“Asians cringe at ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ in dictionary”

Appeared in ABC News:
“Merriam-Webster revises ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

Appeared in bbc.com:
“’Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’ – what is it and is it racist?”

These articles feature Jeannie Mai’s participation in the Ajinomoto campaign dubbed “Redefine CRS.”

Darwin Malicdem
Appeared in Medical Daily:
“Does MSG have negative effect on brain health?”

Denise Mann, MS
Appeared in The Healthy:
“What is MSG – and how bad is it, really?”

Selvi Megawati
Appeared in We Think We Share:
“Umami: The fifth taste after eating foods that contain MSG”

Chris Mohr, PHD, RD, “nutrition expert”
Appeared in Men’s Health:
“Is MSG bad for you? No – and here’s why.”

Carla Lalli Music, Bon Appetit food director
Appeared in Bon Appetit and Yahoo! News:
“Give MSG a chance – really”

Interviewed for Salon:
“BonAp food boss Carla Lalli-Music: Not only is MSG okay, it is a core staple in the pantry”

Myupchar
Appeared in Firstpost:
“Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in your food: Is it really as bad as some experts claim?”

Jill Neimark
Appeared in BrainFacts:
“Umami: The fifth taste”

Amelia Nierenberg, NYT reporter on the “Food Desk”
Appeared in The New York Times and The World News:
“The campaign to redefine ‘Chinese Restaurant syndrome’”

Bianca Nogrady
Appeared in BBC Future:
“Is MSG as bad as it’s made out to be?”

Karen Palmer
Appeared in Tasting Table:
“OMG MSG Great chefs love the umami-rich powder, and so should you”

Tia Rains, Ajinomoto Co. Inc., senior director, public relations
Appeared in Sound Bites:
“The art and science of MSG & Umami”

Appeared in Ajinomoto, Eat Well Live Well:
“Busting nutrition myths: Tia Rains built her career correcting misconceptions around food”

Tia Rains is heading up Ajinomoto’s US $10-million, three-year PR blitz.

Ryan Raman, MS, RD
Appeared in EcoWatch (via Healthline):
“Does MSG cause headaches?”

Michele Redmond, MS, RDN
Appeared in Food & Nutrition (also republished in MSGDish (website of the glutamate association):
“Make low-salt cooking taste amazing with an umami boost”

Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN
Appeared in MyFitnessPal:
“Is MSG safe?”

Alex Renton
Appeared in The Guardian:
“If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?”

Helen Rosner, roving food correspondent for The New Yorker
Appeared in The New Yorker:
“An MSG convert visits the high church of umami”

“Last month, on a visit to Tokyo, I spent a morning paying my respects at the altar of umami, … the production headquarters of Ajinomoto…”

Joanna Rothkopf, writer, actress
Appeared in Esquire:
“It’s time for America to fall back in love with MSG”

This was one of the numerous articles authored by attendees of the World Umami Forum, put together by Ajinomoto in September 2018.

Jackson Ryan
Appeared in Lifehacker.com:
“Is MSG Really That Bad For You?”

Atsuko Sasaki
Appeared in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Eat Right:
“Umami. The science and lore of healthy eating”

Ruth Schuster
Appeared in Harretz:
“MSG-spiked Soup Helps Make Better Food Choices, Says Report”

Kavin Senapathy, SciMom

Senapathy is co-author of a book, “The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House,” published in October 2015 by Senapath Press. The book promotes genetically engineered foods, claims aspartame and MSG are safe, and purports to explain the “facts behind those toxic pesticide scares.”

Abbey Sharp, in sponsored partnership with Ajinomoto
Appeared in Abbey’s Kitchen:
“MSG effects and claims debunked – Does MSG cause headaches?”

Alexandra Sifferlin
Appeared in Time:
“Eat umami, eat less”

Beth Skwarecki
Appeared in Lifehacker:
“Stop being afraid of MSG”

Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD
Appeared in WebMD:
“Does Chinese food give you a headache?”

Mary Ellen Shoup
Appeared in FoodNavigator-USA.com:
“Study looks at reducing sodium intake through MSG substitution in saltiest food categories”

T.L. Stanley
Appeared in AdWeek:
“The Company Behind MSG Urges Merriam-Webster to Drop ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’”

Mark Stock, writer, wine expert
Appeared in The Manual:
“What is MSG why do we argue about it?”

Terry Tang
Appeared in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
“Bid starts to redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

Appeared in AP News:
“Asians cringe at ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ in dictionary”

Kaye Taylor, MS
Appeared in MSGdish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Here’s the lowdown: How MSG makes foods taste better”
“Treat your family to a picnic with savory picnic salads”
“It’s spring: Time to lighten up serious food talk!”
“8 tips for using MSG in cooking and in recipes”

Carlene Thomas, RDN
Appeared in OhCarlene healthfullyeverafter.co:
“Is MSG safe? Umami 101: Everything you want to know about MSG safety, health and the facts”

Amy Toffelmire
Appeared in medbroadcast.com:
“MSG: Is monosodium glutamate safe?”

Archit Tripathi
Appeared in didyouknowfacts.com:
“Is MSG really a toxic food?”

Chau Tu, Slate Plus associate editor
Appeared in The World:
“Science suggests MSG really isn’t bad for your health after all”

Appeared in Science Friday:
“Is MSG bad for your health?”

Robin Tucker, Michigan State University assistant professor of food science and human nutrition
Interviewed by PBS station WKAR “Serving up science”:
“Umami: The most complex taste

Dr. Taylor Wallace, self-described as “America’s favorite food scientist”
Appeared in drtaylorwallace.com:
“Sensitive to MSG? Guess what…you’re not!”

Karla Walsh
Appeared in Better Homes & Gardens:
“Yes, MSG is safe to eat, plus everything else to know about the flavor enhancer”

Andrew Weil, M.D.
Appeared in drweil.com:
“How safe is MSG?”

Corey Williams
Appeared in Yahoo! Life:
“What is umami and what does it taste like?”

Marguerite Winter
Appeared in Financial Review:
“So much more to umami than taste”

Dr. Steve Witherly, “food scientist”
Interviewed by Business Insider:
“Everyone should cook with MSG, says food scientist”

Sam Wong, New Scientist digital reporter
Appeared in NewScientist:
“Umami: How to maximise the savoury taste that makes food so satisfying”

Renee Wu
Appeared in Yale Scientific:
“Is MSG bad for you?”

Judith Wurtman, Ph.D.
Appeared in Psychology Today:
“Monosodium Glutamate: Will It Make Us Eat More or Less?”

Connie Xu
Appeared in Spoonuniversity.com:
“Everything you need to know about MSG”

Kimmy Yam
Appeared in NBC News:
“Eddie Huang on racial insensitivities behind MSG, Chinese food criticisms”

Jessie Yeung, CNN Digital Worldwide digital producer
Appeared in CNN:
“MSG in Chinese food isn’t unhealthy – you’re just racist, activists say”

Althea Zanecosky, MS, RD, LDN
Appeared in MSGdish (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Good taste. Bad taste. No taste.”
“Stop the food label fear-mongering”

Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Appeared in Mayoclinic.org:
“What is MSG? Is it bad for you?”

Publications with no author listed

Appeared in the Associated Press:
“Merriam-Webster revises ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ entry”

Appeared in New York Times Ad Age:
“MSG Maker starts campaign aimed at debunking ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’”

Appeared in Independent Newspapers Limited (Nigeria):
”WASCO Sensitises Media On Safety Of Ajinomoto”

Appeared in Unilever Food Solutions:
“Myths and Facts on MSG” (Chef training and resources)

Participants in the World Umami Forum, September 2018

EVENT HOST
Andrew Zimmern, Master of Ceremonies
Celebrity Chef & TV Personality

PRESENTERS
Gary K. Beauchamp, PhD, Distinguished Member, Emeritus Director and President, Monell Chemical Senses Center

(Beauchamp has been turning out studies for Ajinomoto at Monell since 1968.)

Ali Bouzari, PhD Chief Science Officer, Pilot R&D

Chris Koetke, Chef, CEO, Complete Culinary, LLC

Sarah Lohman, Historic Gastronomist & Author

Kumiko Ninomiya, PhD, Director, Umami Information Center, Executive Fellow, Ajinomoto Co., Inc.

Jordan Sand, PhD, Professor of Japanese History and Culture, Georgetown University
(Sand wrote a very nice history of MSG. Interesting to note that there was no mention that some people found it toxic.)

Nadia Berenstein, PhD, Food Historian & Writer

Lisa Watson, MS, Senior Science Advisor, MS, The Glutamate Association

PANELISTS
Harold McGee, Food Science Write

Dan Pashman, Host, The Sporkful Podcast

Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD, Health Communicator, Nutrition Edge Communications

Jason Riis, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Tia M. Rains, PhD, Senior Director of Public Relations, Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc