The Truth in Labeling Campaign: Who we are and why you should follow us

In a world filled with instant information coming at you from all directions, it has become increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction, PR from journalism and reality from advertising.

This is where the Truth in Labeling Campaign, which is marking its 25th anniversary, can make a difference.

We are a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the complete and clear labeling of ingredients in processed foods. We don’t rent space for fancy offices or pay our officers or directors a salary. We are beholden to no organization, advertiser, PR firm, donor or university. Our small budget comes entirely from contributions from volunteers.

Since the Truth in Labeling Campaign was incorporated in 1994, we have been providing fact-based information to consumers, many of whom have been trying to unravel mysterious health problems for years. Our focus has been on glutamic acid (glutamate), the excitotoxic (brain damaging) amino acid found in monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeast, caseinates, maltodextrin, and some 40 additional ingredients used in quantity in processed foods, dietary supplements, and pharmaceuticals.

Over the past 25 years we’ve learned a lot about propaganda techniques used to benefit those who profit at the expense of human life and suffering. Ajinomoto, possibly the world’s largest producer of MSG, as well as the low-calorie sweetener known best as aspartame (or Equal), is only one among many. The cigarette, pharmaceutical, sugar, oil and chemical industries, as well as those who manufacture and sell GMOs, pesticides, and fertilizers, use similar tactics.

What we do
Our first challenge was to expose the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about MSG. But it wasn’t long before it became obvious that we had more to do than simply provide useful information to our followers. We found that there was, and still is, a large and extremely well-funded campaign purposely designed to keep consumers deceived and in the dark about the toxic effects of MSG, and the names of the many additives we’re ingesting on a daily basis that contain MSG and the excitotoxic manufactured free glutamate (or MfG) found in it.

TLC was founded by Jack Samuels, a health-care professional and his wife, Adrienne Samuels, an experimental psychologist by training, proficient in research methodology, statistics, research design and test construction – vital skills to have if you’re going to notice and unravel design flaws, detect fraudulent research and spot skewered study conclusions.

Long before either thought of putting up a web page, Adrienne was searching for answers that would help her understand Jack’s life-threatening sensitivity to MSG, which could put him into anaphylactic shock.

Finding those answers proved to be inordinately difficult, for the people to whom she was at first referred simply assured her that no one was sensitive to MSG. Richard Cristol, then executive director of Ajinomoto’s Glutamate Association, even sent her a book that he said would prove it.

The answers eventually came from individual consumers, manufacturers, food chemists, food technologists, food encyclopedias, trade magazines, people Jack met on airplanes, and above all, intuition. And over time, Jack and Adrienne found discrepancies between 1) scientific articles produced by independent scientists who found that MSG had toxic potential, and 2) claims made in seriously flawed studies by glutamate industry researchers that declared that MSG was harmless. (Details can be found at the TLC website here.)

Possibly the most flagrant violation of ethics has been use of double-blind studies wherein the number of reactions to MSG test material would be compared to those of a “placebo” containing excitotoxic amino acids. Aspartame, which contains excitotoxic aspartic acid, was the placebo material of choice, but glutamic acid in ingredients with names other than MSG were also used. Then, when subjects reacted to both test material and placebos, industry researchers claimed that was proof MSG was harmless.

The studies in question were approved by the FDA prior to their implementation.

Shortly after the Truth in Labeling Campaign was formed, it was joined by 29 doctors, researchers and parents of MSG-sensitive children, in filing a Citizen Petition asking that the FDA mandate labeling of all MfG added to processed foods.

When the Citizen Petition was denied, TLC filed a lawsuit requesting the same labeling standards. The FDA’s response was to invoke the Administrative Procedures Act, a rule allowing government agencies to refuse to disclose any evidence contained even in their own files that industry wanted withheld.

Realizing that the chances were slim to none that the hold the glutamate industry has over our “watchdog” and other regulatory agencies would ever allow potentially life-saving changes to be made in food labeling, TLC has focused on telling the public the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about MSG and MfG – one person at a time if necessary.

Do you care?
Chances are somewhere down the road that you or a loved one will encounter a glutamate-associated disorder, which can range from problems such as headaches, muscle pains, asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to diabetes, atrial fibrillation, ischemia, trauma, seizures, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, epilepsy, addiction, frontotemporal dementia, autism, and even cancer.

Then there is brain damage. Glutamate (and aspartate and L-cysteine) kill brain cells — and one would not notice a few brain cells gone missing today and a few more gone missing tomorrow.

So, wouldn’t it be smart to avoid the trio of excitotoxins that are associated with those abnormalities and brain damage? It includes not only glutamate, but aspartate (found in aspartame), and L-cysteine (often used in bakery products) that are excitotoxic. The Truth in Labeling Campaign will help you to do that.

To learn more, click here for a free download of the book, It wasn’t Alzheimer’s, it was MSG, and the peer-reviewed published article The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A Study in Suppression of Information.

We also invite you to visit TLC’s webpage at www.truthinlabeling.org, follow TLC on twitter (@truthlabeling), join TLC on Facebook and read our blogs.

Do your ‘eggs’ come from a chicken or a laboratory? The FDA could care less.

Just Egg is the creation of food technologists who make their livings by replacing nutritious whole foods with laboratory-created compounds topped off with chemical flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG).

This plant-based yellow liquid contains no real food, and positively not a trace of real eggs.

What it does contain, it’s second ingredient, is mung bean protein isolate, which, along with the natural flavors can pack enough excitotoxic amino acids to give migraine headaches to many, and possibly send some MSG-sensitive people to the ER.

But brain-damaging ingredients aside, you may wonder how this product can get away with being called not just “egg” but JUST EGG?

The FDA maintains what’s called a “standard of identity,” a legally binding description of what a particular food name represents and what it may consist of or even look like. Want to manufacture peanut butter? It better be made by the grinding of shelled and roasted peanuts. If you make noodles, they need to be “ribbon-shaped” with vermicelli mandated to be “cord-shaped.”

But as far as eggs go, not only have regulators refused to define them, but have prohibited such a definition from being made. It’s bizarre even by FDA standards.

What this means to the egg-expecting public is that if you don’t see it cracked from a shell, an “egg” can be made from just about anything, even the chemical concoction listed below.

Just Egg ingredients:

Ingredients: Water, Mung Bean Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Contains less than 2% of Dehydrated Onion, Gellan Gum, Natural Carrot Extractives (color), Natural Flavors, Natural Turmeric Extractives (color), Potassium Citrate, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sugar, Tapioca Syrup, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Transglutaminase, Nisin (preservative). (Contains soy.)

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.

Reference:
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=160.100

Is the FDA doing its best to put CBD into the pockets of Big Food and Big Pharma?

Why would the FDA warn consumers against CBD? They don’t issue alerts about ingesting food with residues of glyphosate in it. They don’t warn about the excitotoxic amino acids in the low-calorie sweetener know as aspartame, Equal, or AminoSweet. They don’t even tell the consumer that “diet sodas” actually prevent weight loss. And for sure they don’t tell consumers about the excitotoxic amino acids in monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed protein, and protein powders that cause brain damage, endocrine disorders, and reactions such as a-fib, asthma, migraine headache, and seizures.

Many years ago, I set out to uncover what was causing my husband to go into anaphylactic shock. We knew that monosodium glutamate was a trigger, but he’d have reactions at times when there was no monosodium glutamate in anything he had consumed. I read everything I could get my hands on, and along the way I realized that there were two kinds of information circulating about the safety of MSG — one published by independent scientists who found MSG to have toxic potential and another published by the people who manufacture MSG.

Another interesting discovery I made was that the FDA wasn’t looking out for the welfare of the individual consumer. The FDA was looking out for the welfare of people who worked at the FDA — those who looked out for Big Food and Big Pharma while they were at the FDA and took cushy jobs with Big Food and Big Pharma (or their law firms or PR firms) upon leaving the agency. Or people like Michael Taylor who moved between formal employment with Monsanto and the USDA, and Monsanto and the FDA, all the while guaranteeing that things like aspartame and bST were approved, directly or indirectly, for use in food.

My take on the FDA’s CBD warnings is that it has to do with Big Pharma’s long-term program for reaping great profits from CBD — starting with FDA approval of the obscenely priced drug Epidiolex, recently OK’d for childhood seizures. But for that to be successful, Big Pharma also has to obliterate its competition. Warning consumers about CBD is just the start of FDA attacks on CBD products that don’t put money into the pockets of Big Pharma and Big Food.

Adrienne Samuels

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.

Mr. President…

Donald J. Trump
President
United States of America

Mr. President,

I read in the Wall Street Journal that you’ve pledged to reduce end stage kidney disease by 25 percent by 2030. Wonderful! And you did it by Executive Order!

So I’m thinking. Would you be willing to fly in the face of Ajinomoto Co., producer of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in America,  and by Executive Order stop the FDA from calling MSG a “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) food additive? Science says it’s an excitotoxin – that when present in quantity (and there’s lots and lots of it in the food we eat) it kills brain cells and from there causes obesity and infertility; while Ajinomoto gets propaganda value out of the claim that the FDA says that it’s GRAS.

It wouldn’t cost you or your administration a penny. You might even get thank-you tweets from millions of MSG-sensitive people and their MSG-sensitive children. And if you could see your way to going just a step further, and issue an Executive Order that required that the toxic glutamate in MSG and all of the other ingredients that contain it (like hydrolyzed pea protein, autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, and natural flavoring) had to be identified on food, drug, infant formula, protein powder, and dietary supplement labels, you could probably balance the national budget on health-care savings alone.

Ideas respectfully submitted,

Adrienne Samuels
Director
The Truth in Labeling Campaign

@truthlabeling
questionsaboutMSG@gmail.com

How does the FDA know MSG is safe? The Glutes tell them so!

The first record of FDA collusion with industry that we have is from September, 1969. At that time, then-FDA Commissioner Herbert Ley presented evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Health, that, he alleged, demonstrated MSG was safe.  Of the four studies presented, two were incomplete and two did not even exist.

Before that time there had been no need for the FDA to have such a cozy relationship with industry in regard to MSG. It was not until 1969 (12 years after the method for MSG manufacture had changed to one of bacterial fermentation), that the first evidence showing monosodium glutamate caused brain lesions and endocrine disorders in experimental animals was published in the journal Science (1).

History buffs can read the sordid history of FDA/industry cooperation here. There are many similar accounts of FDA collusion involving Monsanto (glyphosate and GMOs), the artificial sweetener aspartame, cigarettes, and vaccines.

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.

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

A 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-one 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 10 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 10 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.

Putting a pothole in the Glutes road to deception

Glutamate-industry people (the Glutes) rack up mileage on the road to deception by ignoring the fact that MSG-sensitive people refer to all of the ingredients that cause brain damage, obesity, infertility, a-fib, seizures, migraine headache and other reactions as “MSG.” 

With the glutes using “MSG” to stand for “monosodium glutamate,” confusion – or worse – is generated.  Take some of their double-blind human studies of the safety of monosodium glutamate.  “MSG” is said to be the test material, with “clean” ingredients used as placebos. However, those placebos may contain hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeasts, maltodextrin, and/or citric acid, all things that cause reactions in MSG-sensitive people. The only thing these placebos won’t contain is monosodium glutamate — the Glutes “MSG.”

The Glutes have done this in the past. And we seem to be the only ones to read their studies closely enough to have noticed. One would think that the FDA would know exactly what they’re doing since the Glutes routinely took the protocols of their studies to the FDA for approval.  One might even be so naïve as to think that the FDA might care.

We thought it would be fun to put some potholes in the Glutes road to deception by creating a new term for consumers to use when talking about the stuff in monosodium glutamate that causes our pain and suffering. We propose to use MSG just as the Glutes do, to stand for monosodium glutamate. But the amino acid that causes all the adverse reactions is Manufactured free Glutamate, what we’re now going to abbreviate and refer to as MfG.

Recipe for deception

Monosodium glutamate is produced in the United States by the Ajinomoto, Co., Inc., which happens to be the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate.

You may not appreciate the product that they sell, but you really should appreciate the ingenuity of their marketing — their sure-fire recipe for deception. This rich and powerful corporation twists the truth, misrepresents what is true and tells half-truths so very cleverly that its deceptions go largely unnoticed. Monsanto, the corn refiners (the high fructose corn syrup people), and the companies that made the artificial sweetener aspartame before Ajinomoto took it over, haven’t been nearly as clever as Ajinomoto in keeping their products from being the subjects of negative publicity.

As an example, here are nine “game plans,” tactics that have proven to be pure genius in the way they’ve managed to hoodwink consumers into believing MSG is a safe and natural product:

# 1:  MSG is a poison that those in the flavor-enhancer industry maintain is perfectly safe. And here’s one way they skirt an out-and-out lie to do it — they never say that research shows that their product is safe, but rather claim that “Another study has failed to find that monosodium glutamate is harmful.”  What they don’t tell you is that they’ve rigged all their studies to produce favorable results (failing to find…), going so far as to lace their placebos with aspartic acid, an excitotoxin found in aspartame.  And if those studies don’t come out as planned, they are simply not published.

# 2: Research presented as evidence that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive has often been characterized as the “gold standard” — that is, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.  But if you review those studies, you’ll find that the subjects were not drawn randomly from a defined population (a necessary condition given the statistical tests used), and that, in fact, the only random factor in those studies might have been the order in which subjects who were administered both test and placebo materials were given those materials.

It is a known fact that since 1978, if not before, placebos used in Ajinomoto’s double-blind studies had been laced with aspartic acid (in aspartame), an additive that kills brain cells and causes virtually the same adverse reactions as the glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate.  One could, therefore, say with certainty, that the outcomes of the studies were skillfully manipulated — “controlled” — through the use of such placebos.

# 3: Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was the name given by editors to a 1968 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. In that article, Dr. Ho Man Kwok noted that after eating in a restaurant serving Northern Chinese food, he suffered three adverse reactions: numbness, tingling, and tightness of the chest that lasted for approximately two hours. Ajinomoto seized on this one man’s report of adverse reactions, and proceeded to act as though these were the only reactions caused by monosodium glutamate.  For example, when subjects in certain double-blind studies did not react to monosodium glutamate treatment with numbness, tingling, or tightness of the chest, researchers would claim that once again it had been showed that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive. Other adverse reactions known to follow monosodium glutamate ingestion, rapid heartbeat, brain fog, and seizures, for example, would not have been considered.

# 4: A number of glutamate-industry studies used “well subjects” in their experiments, without defining “well subjects.’’  Only careful reading of a number of those studies will reveal that “well subjects” are people who have never experienced any of the reactions known to be caused by ingestion of MSG.  These aren’t just healthy subjects — these are people who don’t react to monosodium glutamate (at least at the levels given to them).  These people will be given monosodium glutamate and, as expected, won’t react.  And glutamate-industry researchers running the study will claim that “Another study has failed to find that monosodium glutamate is harmful.” 

# 5: A number of glutamate-industry studies were alleged to have been done using subjects who were sensitive to monosodium glutamate. In truth, subjects in these studies were volunteers, often university or medical school students, paid handsomely to participate — but only if they claimed to be sensitive to monosodium glutamate. 

# 6: While companies like Monsanto represent themselves in defending the value of their products, until relatively recently Ajinomoto, a Japanese company, had Americans acting on their behalf, without mentioning Ajinomoto by name. Subtle though it may be, it’s not easy to criticize, or even think about something that doesn’t have a name.

# 7: It is said that authoritative bodies around the world have agreed that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive – and that’s true — sort of.  Not revealed is the fact that those authoritative bodies did no research of their own. Instead, with rare exception, they were given material that had been produced and approved by the glutamate industry, and delivered by the glutamate industry’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC), or its agents. That includes material provided by the FDA, an agency with close ties to the glutamate industry.

# 8: Glutamate-industry agents take every opportunity to make legitimate research look bad.  They will refer to studies wherein glutamate was administered to laboratory animals with phrases such as “…animal studies … often consisted of injecting super concentrated doses of MSG directly into creature’s abdomen…,” ignoring the fact that there are many studies that demonstrate that when monosodium glutamate is fed to laboratory animals, it causes brain damage and endocrine disorders such as obesity and infertility.

# 9: As of this writing, it is quite prevalent for MSG propaganda to say that “It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine” (the letter from Dr. Ho Man Kwok mentioned above).  In actuality, Ajinomoto’s defense of monosodium glutamate did begin in 1968, but it wasn’t about anything as benign-sounding as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” It was in response to research done by John Olney, M.D. of Washington University in St. Louis, which demonstrated that monosodium glutamate causes brain damage and endocrine disorders in unborn and newborn mice. 

Although Olney’s findings were not published until 1969, he had shared them with Ajinomoto prior to publication.