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: 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 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
“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
“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, 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
“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
“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
“Is MSG (monosodium glutamate) bad for your health?”

Erin Kelly
Appeared in
“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 (website of The Glutamate Association):
“Secrets of tasty Latin American cuisine with an umami boost”

Chris Koetke, chef

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
“Celebrities Want to Redefine ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’”

Appeared in
“Bid starts to redefine ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’”

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

Appeared in
“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
“’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”

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
“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
“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
“Is MSG safe? Umami 101: Everything you want to know about MSG safety, health and the facts”

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

Archit Tripathi
Appeared in
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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

Andrew Zimmern, Master of Ceremonies
Celebrity Chef & TV Personality

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

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

Infertility? You could blame it on your mother – but there really was no way for her to have known.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are three main causes of infertility in males: a hypothalamic or pituitary disorder (1-2%), gonad disorder (30-40%), and sperm transport disorder (10-20%). That leaves 40-50% of cases with unknown causes.

None of these, however, is a root cause of infertility. They are names of categories of disorders that define infertility. Infertility may be traced back to a hypothalamic or pituitary disorder, for example, but the question remains –what caused those disorders to begin with?

Science combined with simple logic focused on problem solving says that hypothalamic, pituitary, gonad and sperm transport disorders are caused by damage done to the vulnerable, developing brains of fetuses and infants by brain-damaging chemicals, delivered by pregnant and lactating women.

1) Brain damage, followed by reproductive disorders, can be produced in human fetuses and newborns whose brains are not fully developed.

2) Excitotoxic amino acids (glutamic acid and aspartic acid) will cause brain damage when delivered in quantity to developing, vulnerable brains.

3) Brain-damaging amino acids consumed by pregnant and lactating women will be passed to their fetus through the placenta and to infants through mother’s milk.

4) Excitotoxic amino acids are readily available in processed and ultra-processed foods, protein powders and protein drinks, protein substitutes, flavor enhancers, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and vaccine excipients.

Here’s how it works

A study demonstrating glutamate-induced brain damage was published in Science by John Olney, M.D. way back in 1969, titled “Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate.” Olney established that:

1) Brain damage, followed by reproductive disorders, can be produced in newborn mice, whose brains are not fully developed. A student in 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 of them were studies of MSG fed to animals.

2) Excitotoxic amino acids (glutamic acid and aspartic acid) will cause brain damage when delivered in quantity to the vulnerable brains of neonatal mice.

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

3) Excitotoxic amino acids can be delivered to neonatal mice through feeding.

In the laboratory, researchers manipulated dosage of glutamic acid and aspartic acid until they found those that were lethal to brain cells.

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.

Having provided evidence that brain lesions can be induced in fetuses and neonates thru the introduction of excitotoxins, and having pointed out that glutamic acid is an excitotoxin, the only question that remains is how excitotoxic glutamic acid could get to the vulnerable brain of the infant or the fetus causing brain damage, destroying those areas of the arcuate nucleus that would regulate reproductive function had they not been obliterated.

To be excitotoxic, glutamic acid has to be accumulated in considerable quantity. There have always been excitotoxins, although not in food in excessive amounts. But that changed in 1957 when there was a transformation in the method of producing the glutamate used in MSG from extraction of glutamate from a protein source, which had been a slow and costly method, to using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria to excrete glutamate through their cell walls. That allowed 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, the marketplace became flooded with manufactured/processed free glutamate in ingredients such as hydrolyzed proteins, yeast extracts, maltodextrin, soy protein isolate and MSG — and the large amounts of manufactured free glutamate needed to cause excitotoxicity became readily available to anyone consuming a number of processed food products during the course of a day.

Today, there is more than sufficient excitotoxic glutamic acid in food, “fake” food and dietary supplements to cause excitotoxicity.

Once it is understood that excitotoxins are readily available, transport to fetus and newborn becomes 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.

Data 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.

But a crisis? All of a sudden?

There has always been infertility, but not in such numbers that it could be called a crisis. There have always been amino acids that could become excitotoxic, but not to the extent that they could accumulate and become excitotoxic. The infertility crisis began after amino acids with excitotoxic potential became available in the quantity necessary to cause them to become excitotoxic – made possible by the 1957 introduction of monosodium glutamate produced by bacterial fermentation.

Science combined with a good dose of logic tell us that glutamic acid passed to fetus and neonate by pregnant and lactating women is the root cause of the infertility crisis.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.


American Pregnancy Association

Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969;164(880):719-721.

Olney JW. Glutamate-induced neuronal necrosis in the infant mouse hypothalamus. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1971;30(1):75-90.

Burde RM, Schainker B, Kayes J. Acute effect of oral and subcutaneous administration of monosodium glutamate on the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in mice and rats. Nature. 1971;233(5314):58-60.

Olney JW, Sharpe LG, Feigin RD. Glutamate-induced brain damage in infant primates. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1972;31(3):464-488.

Burde RM, Schainker B, Kayes J. Monosodium glutamate: necrosis of hypothalamic neurons in infant rats and mice following either oral or subcutaneous administration. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1972;31(1):181.

Olney JW, Rhee V, DeGubareff T. Neurotoxic effects of glutamate on mouse area postrema. Brain Res. 1977;120(1):151-157.

Olney JW, Ho OL. Brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of glutamate, aspartate or cystine. Nature. 1970;227:609-611.

Lemkey-Johnston N, Reynolds WA. Nature and extent of brain lesions in mice related to ingestion of monosodium glutamate: a light and electron microscope study. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1974;33(1):74-97.

Takasaki, Y. Protective effect of mono- and disaccharides on glutamate-induced brain damage in mice. Toxicol Lett. 1979;4(3): 205-210.

Takasaki, Y. Protective effect of arginine, leucine, and preinjection of insulin on glutamate neurotoxicity in mice. Toxicol Lett. 1980;5(1):39-44.

Lemkey-Johnston, N, Reynolds WA. Nature and extent of brain lesions in mice related to ingestion of monosodium glutamate: a light and electron microscope study. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1974;33(1):74-97.

Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Ghasemi A. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)-Induced Animal Model of Type 2 Diabetes. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1916:49-65.

Sharma A. Monosodium glutamate-induced oxidative kidney damage and possible mechanisms: a mini-review. J Biomed Sci. 2015;22:22:93.

Kurose T, Sugano E, Sugai A, Shiraiwa R, Kato M, Mitsuguchi Y, Takai Y, Tabata K, Honma Y, Tomita H. Neuroprotective effect of a dietary supplement against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity in retina. Int J Ophthalmol. 2019;12(8):1231-1237.

Moneret-Vautrin DA. Monosodium glutamate-induced asthma: study of the potential risk of 30 asthmatics and review of the literature. Allerg Immunol (Paris). 987;19(1):29-35.
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Are the plant-based diets you’re thinking about eating made with plants or in plants?

Don’t be taken in by the con artists whose “plant based” products are made out of chemicals in chemical factories with virtually nothing added that’s grown in water or in the ground.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

The art of hiding MfG

Artists don’t just paint, sing, play an instrument or act. Some of the best artists out there utilize their talents to deceive you.

At the Truth in Labeling Campaign we’ve run into many great artists working in public relations firms. They understand human nature and can paint word pictures to sell you almost anything.

We’ve met men and women who have elevated lying to an art form. And rarely do their targets know that they’re being deceived. Then there are the marketing people who often employ a variety of specialized artists to push their products.

Some who hide manufactured free glutamate (MfG), the toxic ingredient in MSG, do it cleverly but not creatively. They use distraction to draw your focus away from the dangers of their product, talking about the benefits of low salt, muscle building, or the umami flavor. And they’ll very likely use ingredients that you’re not going to recognize as containing MfG.

Ingredients called “glutamic acid” and “disodium inosinate” are prime examples. You’ll find them in flavor enhancers like Braggs Aminos and soups and bouillon like Minor’s soup bases.

Not to be overlooked are those who sell products containing MfG to bakeries and restaurants claiming that their products are free of MSG, and the bakeries and restaurants that use those products as though they contained no MfG. Those businesses don’t routinely display the names of ingredients used in their products, and some are proud to make the misleading claim that they don’t use MSG (the name that most consumers give to all ingredients that contain MfG). That’s not even artful lying. It’s just a subterfuge.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Why would a thinking person eat something that contains MSG – or one of its toxic substitutes?

Research has demonstrated:

Dose dependent toxicity of glutamic acid: A review.
(Samuels A. International Journal of Food Properties. 2020;23:1, 412-419, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2020.1733016)

“Increased glutamate transmission in the brain is associated with addictive-like behaviors.” (Temple University)

An early increase in glutamate is critical for the development of depression-like behavior in a chronic restraint stress (CRS) model. (Jing LiLongze Sha, Qi X. Brain Research Bulletin. 2020 June 4)

Ameliorative effect of α-tocopherol on monosodium glutamate-induced cardiac histological alterations and oxidative stress.
(Paul S, Mohanan A, Varghese MV, Alex M, Nair H. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Dec;92(15):3002-6)

Monosodium Glutamate-Induced Oxidative Kidney Damage and Possible Mechanisms: A Mini-Review.  (Sharma A. J Biomed Sci. 2015 Oct 22;22:93. )

Ginger and Propolis Exert Neuroprotective Effects against MonosodiumGlutamate-Induced Neurotoxicity in Rats.
(Hussein UK, Hassan NEY, Elhalwagy MEA, Zaki AR, Abubakr HO, Nagulapalli Venkata KC, Jang KY, Bishayee A. Molecules. 2017 Nov 8;22(11):1928. )

Resistance exercise reduces memory impairment induced by monosodiumglutamate in male and female rats.
(Araujo PCO, Quines CB, Jardim NS, Leite MR, Nogueira CW. Exp Physiol. 2017 Jul 1;102(7):845-853.)

So why on earth would a thinking person eat something like MSG, hydrolyzed mung beans, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast or maltodextrin in things like Just Egg, Impossible Burger, Emerge Plant-Based Patties, Beyond Meat, Bragg’s Aminos, or Campbell’s Classic Cream of Chicken Soup?

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

If MSG is ‘natural’ why have hundreds of patents been issued for methods of producing it?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) found in an animal, vegetable, or mineral was manufactured and then ingested or added in some manner.

Below are just three examples of patents pertaining to the manufacture of MSG. There are literally hundreds more. MSG is man-made.

1. US3281247A – Process for producing monosodium glutamate

2. CN104211611A – New fermentation technology of sodium glutamate

3. WO1996031459A1 – A process for the preparation of monosodium glutamate

Below are general discussions pertaining to methods used in production of MSG (written by scientists, not by Ajinomoto’s hired hands).

1. Optimization of glutamic acid production by Corynebacterium glutamicum using response surface methodology

Naiyf S. Alharbia, Shine Kadaikunnana, Jamal M. Khaleda, Taghreed N. Almanaaa,Ganesh Moorthy Innasimuthub, Baskar Rajooc, Khalid F. Alanzia, Shyam Kumar Rajaram.

Journal of King Saud University – Science. Volume 32, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages 1403-1408.

2. Tasty waste: industrial fermentation and the creative destruction of MSG

Sarah E. Tracy

Food, Culture & Society (2019). 22:5, 548-65,

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Concerned about infertility?

In this study rats were given doses of MSG to lower testosterone levels and cause “toxicity in testicular tissue.” The group treated with zinc oxide nanoparticles/green tea were “significantly” protected against MSG damage to the testis.

Good to know, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid MSG ingestion in the first place than to search out an antidote?

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Cries of hate added to claims of racism fuel Ajinomoto’s latest campaign to push sales of MSG

Fresh out of its victory lap in “convincing” the Merriam-Webster online dictionary folks to change its definition of Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, Ajinomoto, the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate, has added a new dimension to their “swallow the MSG campaign,” hoping that people will swallow their propaganda and think nothing of consuming processed foods that contain MSG. This one is attempting to convince consumers that any choice to avoid Chinese restaurants is based on hate and racism – when it is more likely based on the good sense of decreasing exposure to toxic substances like MSG during a pandemic.

Led by one of its PR firms, Edelman Communications, the campaign dubbed #TakeOutHate, is flooding social media with a group of “influencers” telling consumers to order huge amounts of Chinese take-out and share a photo online. “Don’t let that hate get between you and these shrimp dumps,” we’re told.

Ajinomoto, it seems, has decided to play victim amid growing consumer awareness about the dangers of consuming MSG. In telling about its new #TakeoutHate blitz, Ajinomoto says on its website that “as the company that was founded on the discovery of MSG, we are no stranger to the impact of unfair stigma.”

But the stigma attached to a company that pumps excitotoxic (brain damaging) amino acids into processed foods is hardly unfair. What’s really unfair is how Ajinomoto can harness the power of the media with big bucks and a PR firm that has all the right contacts to lie to the public about the product it produces. Reporters of all stripes from media outlets of all sizes are more than happy to parrot numerous bold-faced falsehoods time and time again without giving it a second thought.

Truth be told, monosodium glutamate has been researched extensively by Ajinomoto-funded researchers who rigged their studies with things like excitotoxic ingredients in placebos and concluded that MSG is harmless. MSG is a manufactured additive, and the product called MSG can’t be produced without unwanted byproducts of production called impurities. The glutamate in the human body has none of those impurities. And since 1957, the glutamate in MSG has been manufactured using carefully selected genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls – hardly the way that yogurt and wine are made.

But as more and more people, some through personal experience and others through research, learn about the toxic nature of MSG and the other 40+ ingredients that contain its toxic Manufactured free Glutamate, or MfG as we abbreviate it, they are choosing to avoid it wherever and however they can.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool the people who know they get sick from eating MSG.

And that’s not “hate,” and it’s certainly not racism.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

If you’re wondering what the umami flavor is, be confused no more

Umami is often described as that marvelous flavor experience you get when foods are at their peak, or served with a little something that gives the taste buds a boost to enhance that already delicious flavor.

Kikunae Ikeda discovered that little something early in the 20th century when he realized that pairing foods with a touch of seaweed could create a desirable taste sensation. It has also been observed by foodies that there is something about mushrooms and tomatoes that accomplishes the same thing. Start with good fresh food, pair it with seaweed, mushrooms, or tomatoes, and with those flavor-enhancers you can get heaven on a plate.

There are other ways to make food tasty. Garlic and onions have been recognized for centuries along with a multitude of other spices and seasonings. But they aren’t flavor enhancers. They don’t improve the flavor of foods, they simply add to it.

Ikeda, who was a chemist, did more than just notice the flavor-enhancing capacity of seaweed. That something else he found was chemically analyzed, put into a bottle, patented, and is now known as monosodium glutamate or MSG. Ikeda had discovered that it was glutamate, an amino acid found in considerable quantity in seaweed, that gave taste buds a boost, enhancing the flavor of foods seaweed was paired with.

The story of how that works differs depending on the source. Is it being told by those who profit from the sale of MSG, or by independent scientists? Ajinomoto has developed a PR narrative built around changing MSG’s identify from a pre-1969 flavor-enhancer to a post-2000 fifth taste. According to Ajinomoto, MSG has a taste of its own. According to Ajinomoto, there are MSG receptors just as there are receptors for sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Independent scientists are more likely to point out that what Ajinomoto’s people refer to as MSG-receptors, are actually glutamate receptors. Glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter, stimulates glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue causing the cells on which those receptors are located to swell, so to speak. And these larger, swollen surfaces triggered by MSG stimulation cause food consumed with MSG to be perceived as having a “bigger” taste than it would otherwise.

In 1969, John W. Olney, M.D., published the first of several papers that detailed the facts of MSG-induced toxicity. A year earlier, the New England Journal of Medicine had published a letter titled “Chinese-restaurant Syndrome.” Since that time Ajinomoto has worked vigorously to refute the findings of Olney and others or simply make sure they don’t have public exposure, downplay the reactions reported by individuals who are poisoned by MSG, or do whatever else is necessary to convince consumers that MSG is a harmless product. (That subject is dealt with in detail elsewhere.)

Possibly Ajinomoto’s most successful marketing tool has been to pair the acronym “MSG” with the word “umami.” Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to anticipate food when a bell was sounded, so are humans being conditioned to associate the feel-good word “umami” with the food additive MSG.

Responding to the growing awareness that the ingredient called monosodium glutamate causes obesity and infertility, along with adverse reactions like tachycardia, migraine headache, asthma, and seizures, Ajinomoto has been striving to fool consumers by giving that ingredient a new name. Don’t reduce its toxicity (if indeed that could be done). Just covertly rebrand MSG.

The rebranding process has evolved slowly, and because Ajinomoto’s narrative changes from time to time depending on the PR firm employed and the marketing plan being executed, the details are not necessarily crystal clear. In hindsight it appears that the first step was to get people to believe that monosodium glutamate was more than the flavor enhancer previously described by Ajinomoto in food encyclopedias. That was before the game plan was changed to get people to believe that monosodium glutamate was a basic taste, and that there were specific taste receptors for MSG in the human body.

To facilitate that change, researchers were encouraged to conduct studies underwritten (directly or indirectly) by Ajinomoto for the purpose of finding something from which they could conclude the MSG had a taste of its own. Discussion of that research is beyond the scope of this paper, but it consists in large part of doing multiple studies, publishing only the one in a hundred that comes out as desired by industry and reporting none of the others. There are indeed numbers of published studies that Ajinomoto will point to as evidence that MSG is a fifth taste. (There are also published studies that Ajinomoto will point to as evidence that MSG is a harmless food additive – studies that included use of placebos containing excitotoxic aspartic acid which causes brain damage and adverse reactions identical to that caused by the excitotoxic glutamic acid component of MSG.) And there are no studies that would dispute the industry-sponsored ones because, at least in part, there would be no funding for such research.

With studies alleging that MSG has a taste of its own, different from salty, sweet, bitter, and sour, wordsmiths began spinning industry’s tale. Slowly, in story after story, MSG would be referred to as an ingredient – like sugar and salt are ingredients. Not a flavor enhancer. An ingredient with a taste of its own.

And then that ingredient, which had, and still has a bad name, would be rebranded. The new name would be “umami,” a word that has been in the Japanese vocabulary for over a century meaning “delicious taste.”

Today, the word “umami” means different things to different people. A chef concerned with use of wholesome ingredients may brag that his creations are flavorful — are the essence of umami.

But to those who manufacture and sell MSG, “umami” is a marketing tool used to sell their product. Clearly lots of people have bought into Ajinomoto’s story (or maybe it’s more correct to say that Ajinomoto has bought lots of people). But if you delve deeply into market reports, or have friends in the industry, you will find that their propaganda isn’t working the way they had anticipated, and Ajinomoto is losing money.

The rigged research, the deceptive and misleading statements, and the bold-faced lies haven’t stemmed the tide of reports of MSG-induced reactions. Not even Edelman’s multimillion-dollar campaign to clear MSG’s bad name seems to have made a difference. It will be interesting to see how quickly chefs and other celebrities who now talk about “umami” realize that they are being used by Ajinomoto to promote a toxic product.

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 and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.