A Thanksgiving like no other deserves extra care in the food you eat

Ingredient names used to hide manufactured free glutamate (MfG)

However you’ll be recognizing Thanksgiving this year, chances are good that it will involve cooking up a special meal. And that’s when things can easily go off the rails, even for those who carefully select what they eat and serve their family during the rest of the year.

Fresh fruits can give way to canned cranberry sauce, forgotten stuffing ingredients are replaced with boxed seasoned bread, and additive-filled processed foods are used in a pinch.

But now is not the time to let your guard down where your health is concerned. That’s why we’re making this list available again to help you avoid not only foods that contain MSG, but also those that contain MfG, which stands for manufactured free glutamate.

The glutamate industry would prefer that you just keep reading labels for MSG, and not realize that the same toxic chemical that causes brain damage, endocrine disorders and the same adverse reactions as MSG is also found in more than 40 other food ingredients containing MfG — things such as autolyzed yeast, soy protein and yeast extract. Vegan and vegetarian foods are especially prone to be contaminated with these toxic additives.

The list below is in three parts: ingredients that always contain MfG, ingredients that often contain or produce MfG during processing, and ingredients that contain enough MfG to cause a reaction in highly sensitive people.

Knowing the truth about what is in your food has never been more important.

Ingredient Names Used to Hide Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG)

MSG has been used as an acronym for “monosodium glutamate” for years, with people who reacted to it referring to their “MSG reactions.” So, it isn’t surprising that over time, consumers started using the acronym “MSG” to stand for the ingredients that trigger what they identified as “MSG reactions.” Largely because those in the glutamate industry have built on the confusion caused by using “MSG” incorrectly, we thought it time that there be a proper acronym for consumers to use when talking about what’s contained in monosodium glutamate that causes their pain and suffering – distinguishing between the product called “monosodium glutamate” and the toxic ingredient contained in it.

We propose to use MSG just as the Glutes do, to stand for the flavor enhancer, “monosodium glutamate,” but will now refer to the amino acid in monosodium glutamate that causes brain damage, endocrine disorders and adverse reactions, by its more factual name – Manufactured free Glutamate or MfG.

Names of ingredients that contain Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) *1

Everyone knows that some people react to the food ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG). What many don’t know, is that more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate — Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) — that causes these reactions. The following list has been compiled over the last 20 years from consumer reports and information provided by manufacturers and food technologists.

Names of ingredients that always contain MfG:

  • Glutamic acid (E 620) *2
  • Glutamate (E 620)
  • Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
  • Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
  • Calcium glutamate (E 623)
  • Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
  • Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
  • Natrium glutamate
  • Anything “hydrolyzed”
  • Any “hydrolyzed protein”
  • Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
  • Yeast extract, Torula yeast
  • Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Gelatin
  • Textured protein
  • Whey protein
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Soy protein
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Anything “protein”
  • Anything “protein fortified”
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy sauce extract
  • Protease
  • Anything “enzyme modified”
  • Anything containing “enzymes”
  • Anything “fermented”
  • Vetsin
  • Ajinomoto
  • Umami
  • Zinc proteninate

Names of ingredients that often contain or produce MfG during processing:

  • Carrageenan (E 407)
  • Bouillon and broth
  • Stock
  • Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
  • Natural flavor
  • Maltodextrin
  • Oligodextrin
  • Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
  • Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
  • Barley malt
  • Malted barley
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Pectin (E 440)
  • Malt extract
  • Seasonings

The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MfG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:

  • Corn starch
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Lipolyzed butter fat
  • Dextrose
  • Rice syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Milk powder
  • Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
  • most things “low fat” or “no fat”
  • anything “enriched”
  • anything “vitamin enriched”
  • anything “pasteurized”
  • Annatto
  • Vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • certain amino acid chelates (Citrate, aspartate, and glutamate are used as chelating agents with mineral supplements.)
*1 GLUTAMIC ACID FOUND IN UNADULTERATED PROTEIN DOES NOT CAUSE ADVERSE REACTIONS. TO CAUSE ADVERSE REACTIONS, THE GLUTAMIC ACID MUST HAVE BEEN PROCESSED /MANUFACTURED OR COME FROM PROTEIN THAT HAS BEEN FERMENTED.
*2 E NUMBERS ARE USE IN EUROPE IN PLACE OF FOOD ADDITIVE NAMES.

The following work synergistically with the ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG) to enhance flavor. If they are present for flavoring, so is MSG:

Disodium 5’-guanylate (E 627) / Disodium 5’-inosinate (E-631) / Disodium 5′-ribonucleotides (E 635)

Reminders

Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MfG and many dairy products contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Low fat and no fat ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.

Protein powders contain glutamic acid, which, invariably, will be Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG). Individual amino acids are not always listed on labels of protein powders. If you see the word “protein” in an ingredient label, the product contains MfG.

At present there may be an FDA requirement to include the protein source when listing hydrolyzed protein products on labels of processed foods. Examples are hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed pea protein, hydrolyzed whey protein, hydrolyzed, corn protein. If a tomato, for example, were whole, it would be identified as a tomato. Calling an ingredient tomato protein indicates that the tomato has been hydrolyzed, at least in part, and that Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) is present.

Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively 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.

Reactions have been reported from soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, and cosmetics, where MfG is hidden in ingredients with names that include the words “hydrolyzed,” “amino acids,” and/or “protein.” Most sun block creams and insect repellents also contain MfG.

Drinks, candy, and chewing gum are potential sources of hidden MfG and/or aspartame, neotame. and AminoSweet (a relatively new name for aspartame). Aspartic acid, found in neotame, aspartame (NutraSweet), and AminoSweet, ordinarily causes reactions in MfG sensitive people. (It would appear that calling aspartame “AminoSweet” is industry’s method of choice for hiding aspartame.) We have not seen Neotame used widely in the United States.

Aspartame will be found in some medications, including children’s medications. For questions about the ingredients in pharmaceuticals, check with your pharmacist and/or read the product inserts for the names of “other” or “inert” ingredients.

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 MfG.

According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains (or contained) L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) 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 some ingredient(s) that contains MfG.

According to the CDC, as listed in its Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary (Appendix B of the “Pink Book”), there are 37 vaccines presently in use that obviously contain ingredients that contain MfG. Reactions to MfG are dose related, i.e., some people react to even very small amounts. MfG-induced reactions may occur immediately after ingestion or after as much as 48 hours. The time lapse between ingestion and reaction is typically the same each time for a particular individual who ingests an amount of MfG that exceeds his or her individual tolerance level.

Remember: By food industry definition, all MfG is “naturally occurring.” “Natural” doesn’t mean “safe.” “Natural” only means that the ingredient started out in nature like arsenic and hydrochloric acid.


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.

Snake in the GRAS

When you hear that the FDA considers monosodium glutamate GRAS – or, generally recognized as safe – what does that mean? It’s certainly one of the “selling points” that industry likes to toss around a lot as evidence that monosodium glutamate is harmless.

But that GRAS designation is inherently deceiving.

Sixty-two years ago, following passage of the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, the FDA grandfathered monosodium glutamate into a category of additives called GRAS. There was no testing done or even reviewed by the FDA to determine if monosodium glutamate was indeed safe. The GRAS classification was solely based on monosodium glutamate having been in use without objection prior to 1958. The actual safety of pre-1958 monosodium glutamate was not then, and never has been, established.

But to make using a GRAS label for monosodium glutamate even more farfetched, is the fact that the monosodium glutamate in use in the U.S. today is not even the same as the monosodium glutamate that was grandfathered as GRAS in 1958. From 1920 until 1956, the process underlying production of glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate in Japan had been one of extraction, a slow and costly method (1). Then, around 1956, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. succeeded in producing glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate using genetically modified bacteria to secrete the glutamic acid used in monosodium glutamate through their cell walls, and cost saving, large-scale production of glutamic acid and monosodium glutamate through fermentation began (2,3).

Approximately ten years later, the first published report of an adverse reaction to monosodium glutamate appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (4), and a study demonstrating that monosodium glutamate was excitotoxic, causing brain damage, endocrine disorders and behavior disorders, was published in the journal Science in 1969 (5). Of interest to note is the fact that by the time ten years had gone by, grocery shelves were overflowing with processed foods loaded with monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed protein products, autolyzed yeasts and lots of other ingredients that contained the same toxic free glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate.

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.

REFERENCES

  1. Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. 6th ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983:1211-2.
  2. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 3rd ed. Vol 2. New York: Wiley, 1978:410-21.
  3. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 4th ed. New York: Wiley, 1992:571-9.
  4. Kwok RHM. The Chinese restaurant syndrome. Letter to the editor. N Engl J Med. 1968;278(14):796.
  5. Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969;164:719-721.

MSG in your canned veggies? The FDA says it’s a good idea!

How do you know if a food you’re intending to eat contains risky food additives?

Here’s an easy tip: if it comes in a box, bottle, or can, it likely has MSG in it. And if not MSG, then one of the 40 or so other flavor enhancers or fake proteins that contain the excitotoxic glutamic acid found in MSG.

To get an idea of how much MSG and MfG (manufactured free glutamate) is being promoted for use in processed foods, take a look at what the FDA calls a “Standard of Identity” (SOI), which are rules established to define what makes up a particular processed food.

There are over 280 of these regulations covering everything from canned mushrooms to tomato sauce to beef stew. They are said to be in the “interest of the consumer” to provide them with a “reasonable definition” and a “reasonable standard of quality.”

Here’s an example: in the SOI for canned green beans, corn, peas, asparagus, artichokes, lima beans, beets, cabbage, kale, mushrooms and many more, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast extract (the last two being prime sources of MfG) are prominently listed as “safe and suitable” optional ingredients.

Along with those “safe” additives, Disodium inosinate and Disodium guanylate are also permitted ingredients in all those veggies. Those two additives work synergistically with MSG and are always a tip-off to the presence of MSG in a food.

The more you know the more you’ll begin to notice that the FDA seems to bend over backwards to promote the use of 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.

We often get questions about yeast: Does it contain monosodium glutamate?

Although yeast ingredients are popularly used to replace the flavor enhancer called monosodium glutamate (MSG), yeast does not contain any MSG. But don’t stop reading yet!

Yeast DOES contain the same toxic amino acid that’s found in MSG — excitotoxic glutamic acid. That’s why Big Food loves yeast so much. They can add as much of this noxious flavor enhancer as they want and not be required to mention MSG on the label despite what these two additives have in common.

A recent yeast industry (yes, there’s a yeast industry) market report tells some of the secrets of why it’s so popular.

“By product type, the global yeast ingredients market can be categorized into yeast extract, yeast autolysates, dry yeast, yeast flavor, and ‘others’. The yeast extracts market is high, as yeast extracts act as a replacement for monosodium glutamate, and consumers highly inclined towards natural ingredients and health concerns. Yeast extracts also offer a unique aromatic taste, which is important in low-salt-content foodstuffs…” Zenit News: “Yeast and yeast ingredients market 2020 research reports, industry size, in-depth qualitative insights, explosive growth opportunity, regional analysis by 360 market updates”

The basics

To understand the toxicity of yeast extract, you have first to understand the basics of toxic glutamate found in food.

Glutamate must be free to be harmful, meaning it can’t exist as part of a protein. And toxic free glutamate found in food will always have been manufactured.

You can make/produce free glutamate (glutamate outside of protein) using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria. Feed the bacteria on some starchy stuff like sugar, and they secrete glutamate through their cell walls. That’s pretty much how the glutamate in MSG is made in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville Iowa.

You can also free glutamate from protein. Begin with something that contains protein — almost any meat, grain, diary product, fruit or vegetable will contain at least some small amount of glutamate. Then, choose your method: 1) extract glutamate from protein, 2) use hydrolysis, autolysis, enzymes, acids or fermentation to break protein into individual amino acids (which would include glutamate), or apply high heat to protein.

All glutamate made/produced by man plus that which has been fermented contains D-glutamate, pyroglutamate and other unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities which industry has been unable to remove) as well as the desired L-glutamate. In contrast, the glutamate in unadulterated fruits, grains, vegetables, and in the human body, which wouldn’t be manufactured, is L-glutamate only.

To be toxic, free glutamate has to 1) be present in excess – more than the healthy body needs for normal body function, or 2) act as a neurotransmitter, overstimulating and damaging glutamate receptors for some weak area in an individual’s body, the heart, lungs, or stomach for example.

Yeast extract contains toxic free glutamate

Yeast extract contributes to accumulation of toxic free glutamate in two ways. First, yeast extract itself will contain toxic free glutamate. Moreover, yeast and yeast extract can also interact with other ingredients, causing the protein in those other ingredients to break down and release glutamate.

The way that the yeast extract is produced will vary from one manufacturer to another, but all break the protein found in yeast into free amino acids – one of which will be glutamate. Following are various descriptions of how that’s done:

1: Food Navigator-asia.com: https://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Article/2019/09/25/Clean-label-less-sodium-and-vegan-Yeast-extract-specialist-company-Angel-Yeast-names-three-mega-trends-driving-the-industry#

“Angel Yeast’s yeast extract products are obtained from molasses-cultured yeast, which are autolyzed to obtain the extract and made into pastes or powders.”

2: European Association for Specialty Yeast Products:
http://www.yeastextract.info/yeast-extract/how-it-s-made

“Yeast extract is … made from natural bakers’ or brewers’ yeast. First sugar is added so that the yeast can multiply. Then enzymes in the yeast break down the proteins present in the yeast into smaller components and make the cell walls permeable. Finally the components present in the yeast cell – the yeast extract – are separated from the surrounding wall and dried.”

3: Biospringer: https://biospringer.com/en/explore-yeast-extract/yeast-extract/production-process/

“Yeast is a microscopic unicellular fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. Like any other cell, yeast is made of proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals gathered within the cell walls.”

“Yeast extract is simply the yeast content without the cell wall, making it a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps:

Fermentation
Breaking of the yeast cell (also known as autolysis)
Separation”

4: By Elea Carey for Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-yeast-extract-bad-for-me#1

“There are two kinds of yeast extract, autolyzed and hydrolyzed. In both, the cell walls are discarded and the contents of the cell are combined. In autolyzed yeast, the enzymes found in the yeast itself are used to break down the proteins. In hydrolyzed yeast, these enzymes are added to the yeast.”

Does yeast extract contain enough free glutamate to cause brain damage or adverse reactions?

If yeast extract was the only source of free glutamate ingested, toxicity would depend on the amount of free glutamate in the particular product ingested, and the sensitivity of the person ingesting it. There are glutamate-sensitive people who react to yeast extract.

But in real life one helping of yeast extract isn’t going to be ingested in isolation. Combined with other sources of glutamate in the diet, yeast extract increases the likelihood of brain damage and adverse reactions.


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.

There’s no such thing as ‘natural’ MSG

The FDA is fond of saying that there are “naturally high levels” of MSG in some foods, notably tomatoes and processed tomato products. That’s simply not true. MSG is manufactured. There’s no such thing as “natural” MSG.

This is a picture of the plant in Eddyville Iowa where Ajinomoto manufactures monosodium glutamate (MSG). What do you think Ajinomoto had to do to get the FDA to parrot its fiction that “MSG is naturally occurring?”

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.