The slow, steady, thought-altering drip of propaganda

A tip sheet to help fight back when you encounter the glutes’ ‘mishmash’ of altered facts

Effective propaganda doesn’t just hit once and disappear. It works best as a steady stream, most effectively coming at you from all directions. It puts a grain of sand in your oyster of belief, slowly eroding what you thought to be true.

One of the best propaganda campaigns currently out there is being hosted by Ajinomoto, the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate. We’ve seen videos, blogs and “news” stories touting the safety of MSG. We’ve been told that avoiding this brain-damaging additive is somehow “racist.” We’ve been informed that it all started with a 1968 letter sent to the New England Journal of Medicine, and that any idea that this toxic substance is dangerous has been debunked by decades of scientific testing. All this disinformation being orchestrated by those in the glutamate industry who don’t mind spending multi-millions to keep generating their ill-gotten billions.

The latest such effort recently appeared on a program called “Milk Street,” created and hosted by Christopher Kimball, the bowtie-and-suspender-wearing emcee who departed the PBS show he founded, America’s Test Kitchen, several years ago.

Kimball fits the profile of a delivery agent of glutamate propaganda perfectly. He’s well known and even considered influential in the cooking world, calm, deliberate and described by a food writer as offering “authority and reassurance.”

In order to be totally convincing, of course, deceit is best delivered by a twosome, which is where Yara Elmjouie, a video maker and quite likely one of Ajinomoto’s many agents in the field, comes in.

To listen to this podcast, in which Yara “discusses his video that investigates the history of MSG phobia in America,” one might think that his rattling off of all this information proves his expertise in the matter. But these “facts” are carefully contrived to leave the listener confidently confused.

As Yara says correctly, “the role of media and the role of language has such an important influence on how we perceive things.” And that’s why when it comes to matters such as MSG, it’s vital to recognize disinformation, such as what Milk Street has put out.

For that reason, we have prepared the following tip sheet for you. Since most of what is circulating is amazingly similar, you can use it for practically any glute hype that comes your way – and that includes articles in newspapers and magazines, Youtube videos and most especially talks on MSG by celebrity chefs and famous foodies like Kimball.

Tip sheet to cut through the toxic fog of glutamate fiction (inspired by Yara Elmjouie and Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street):

Fiction: MSG is made from corn, wheat, and beets

Truth: Since 1957 monosodium glutamate has been manufactured by using genetically modified bacteria to synthesize glutamic acid outside of their cell membranes and excrete it into a medium to accumulate. This “reinvention” has allowed for huge amounts of the additive to be made and used in previously unheard-of amounts in processed foods of all kinds.

Fiction: Avoiding MSG is somehow racist because of the term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”

Truth: As you likely know, Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was the title given to a letter written by a physician and sent to the New England Journal of Medicine seeking information about reactions suffered after eating in a Chinese restaurant in the U.S. Why would avoiding this additive – generally done because of personal experiences such as migraines, asthma, depression, heart-rhythm abnormalities, pain, and even seizures – smack of racism?

New from Yara on his Milk Street interview is that “fear of immigrants” is why people believe they’ve become sick after consuming foods with MSG and that all this is somehow connected to the publication of Silent Spring in the 1960s.

Fiction: MSG is known to be perfectly safe – “nobody has come up with any science that says there is a problem with it.”

Truth: The studies cited by the Glutes as evidence of MSG safety are ones in which MSG was fed to volunteers who were given test material containing MSG at one time, and at another time given a placebo that contained (without disclosure) an excitotoxic amino acid — one that would trigger the exact same reactions as those caused by MSG. When subjects reacted to both test material and placebo, researchers claimed to have again failed to demonstrate MSG toxicity. More on this subject can be found here.

Ever vigilant in promoting its views, the glutamate industry has declared that both the FDA and regulators around the world have found monosodium glutamate to be safe. In fact, however, neither independent scientists nor independent regulators have found monosodium glutamate to be safe. FDA studies, which were actually reviews, always have been staffed by persons with ties to the glutamate industry. The regulators and/or authoritative bodies referred to by the glutamate industry did no research of their own. And studies to be reviewed were delivered by industry agents. Studies of MSG-induced brain damage were never shown to these authoritative bodies. It’s known that MSG when fed to very young laboratory animals kills brain cells in the area of the hypothalamus, and, through that damage, causes a number of endocrine disorders. One of those disorders is gross obesity. Another is infertility.

Fiction: The glutamate that naturally occurs in many foods and the glutamate in monosodium glutamate are exactly the same

Truth: The glutamate found in unprocessed, unadulterated and unfermented protein is L-glutamate only. The MSG used in cosmetics, drugs, vaccines, dietary supplements and processed food is manufactured, and always contains L-glutamate plus D-glutamate and pyroglutamate (unwanted byproducts of L-glutamate production) plus other unwanted by-products of production all called impurities. And since industry has not found a way to remove the unwanted impurities from processed free L-glutamate, the glutamate in MSG will always come with impurities.

Only manufactured glutamic acid causes brain damage and adverse reaction when ingested or otherwise used. Glutamate contained in unprocessed, unadulterated and unfermented protein, no matter in what quantities, will not cause reactions in MSG-sensitive people.

If you are one of the millions who suffer from adverse reactions from MSG or other forms of MfG (that stands for manufactured free glutamate), which is found in more than 40 ingredients added to processed foods from soup to nuts, and you’d like to write Christopher Kimball and tell him what you think about his role in producing this type of propaganda, here’s the address: Kimball’s Milk Street, 177 Milk Street, 1st floor, Boston, MA 02109. If you prefer to call, here’s the number for their editorial offices: 857-990-3625.

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.

Scientists have known MSG is toxic for decades. Why doesn’t ‘media spokesperson’ Toby Amidor?

Today I came across a 2018 article in the U.S.News & World Report health section titled “Scientists Have Known MSG Is Safe for Decades. Why Don’t Most Americans?” by Toby Amidor.

Toby Amidor, according to U.S News, has a string of credentials five lines long including Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Hunter School of Urban Public Health, where she teaches food service management. The magazine advises us to follow her “cutting edge nutrition information” at various online outlets.

In her U.S. News article, Toby Amidor first tells the reader that MSG’s bad reputation isn’t deserved. She then proceeds to spew out the glutamate-industry propaganda we have seen over and over again in the last two years as part of Ajinomoto’s multi-million-dollar campaign trying to prove that MSG got a bad rap and is safe for everyone.

The best of Ajinomoto’s sound bites are all in this piece, such as MSG is “naturally present in many everyday foods like tomatoes…” (ignoring the fact that MSG is manufactured, not grown in foods such as tomatoes and mushrooms).

And she learned what she knows about MSG from THE experts at a conference sponsored by Ajinomoto. According to Toby Amidor, this negative impression of MSG started with a letter that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1968 that the editors titled Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. I guess they didn’t mention at that conference that right around the same time studies had shown that MSG causes brain damage when fed to infant mice. And that there were U.S. Senate hearings calling for removal of MSG from baby food – which industry promised to do.

In her article, Toby Amidor didn’t skip a beat. There’s the line “…when they injected extremely high doses of MSG directly into newborn mice’s abdomens, the mice were likely to develop health issues including obesity, stunted physical development and disturbances in brain development.” (Toby Amidor referred to it as “brain development” instead of what it really was — brain damage. And she left out infertility.) Ignored were the many MSG feeding studies that produced brain damage, obesity, learning and behavior deficits along with reproductive disorders.

The article claims that in the 1990s American scientists started questioning the validity of Chinese restaurant syndrome. Note, however, that if you actually look up the articles, those scientists were all supported, directly or indirectly by Ajinomoto, or one of their agents, such as the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

And finally, there are the so-called “independent studies” done by glutamate industry researchers who used placebos that caused reactions identical to those caused by MSG. Placebos that contained the excitotoxic aspartic acid found in aspartame. And the not so surprising results? “…those who had been given MSG didn’t experience any more ‘Chinese restaurant syndromes’ than those who’d taken the placebo.”

Maybe more a-fib, nausea and vomiting, asthma, or seizures, but those aren’t included in Chinese restaurant syndrome, And, guess what? Toby Amidor didn’t bother to mention those reactions either.

But this is all business as usual for Toby Amidor. Her list of published articles spreading the glutes’ catchphrases is quite lengthy, as is the list of her clients and corporate sponsors. She even advertises services such as “corporate and social media messaging,” saying that she “teams up with food companies and organizations as their media spokesperson.” One client listed is Ketchum Public Relations, a huge PR firm headquartered in NYC. And on a Ketchum client list you’ll find mega-MSG producer Ajinomoto.

And that is certainly no surprise. Especially when one can rattle off the glutamate party line as glibly as Toby Amidor can.

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.

An ounce of prevention, worth even more when you know of no cure

If you were to read the medical literature, you’d find that high levels of glutamic acid in the body (a.k.a. glutamate) are associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, ALS, autism, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, ischemic stroke, seizures, Huntington’s disease, addiction, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), frontotemporal dementia, autism and more.

Of course, those who manufacture and sell Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) claim it’s harmless. And to back up those claims they rig their “scientific” studies and pay millions to PR firms to spread their propaganda.

Propaganda: more powerful than research
How the ‘MSG safe’ game is played
Recipe for deception
Propaganda 101
Is this propaganda hiding in the business section of your newspaper?
‘Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie’
Writers engaged in spreading the Glutes’ propaganda and the outlets that enable them
Another MSG YouTube propaganda video

Don’t be a victim. Don’t make your children victims. Avoid the hidden sources of excitotoxic MfG along with excitotoxic aspartic acid (found in aspartame and aliases) and excitotoxic L-cysteine (found in dough conditioners). Yes, you really can avoid them when you know what to look for.

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.

Is this propaganda hiding in the business section of your newspaper?

The people who manufacture and sell monosodium glutamate are rich, powerful, and terribly creative. A noteworthy strategy used these days is to parade “monosodium glutamate” before the public as many times as possible along with positive words or phrases. This seemingly simple approach has created some amazingly powerful propaganda.

Glutamate industry propaganda has traditionally been based on Six Big Fat Lies, along with The Whopper, all bound up in beautifully wrapped consumer-friendly rhetoric.  But at the end of April newspapers everywhere began publishing “news” releases in their business sections, announcing Ajinomoto’s $10 million campaign to “Rescue MSG’s Unsavory Reputation.” (Ajinomoto is the world’s largest producer of monosodium glutamate). What a great way to deliver its fiction that “monosodium glutamate is safe – and maybe even good for you…”

And those who read these “news releases” don’t even realize that they are being brain washed by carefully chosen words and images that, they are told, describe MSG.

For example:

safe, good for you, eat less salt, proudly, a chubby panda, traditional Japanese broth, MSG for foods like chicken noodle soup, MSG’s merits, knowledge that it is healthy

Then, for good measure, they add a few words about the people who say that the excitotoxic free glutamic acid (glutamate) in MSG, in the quantity now in processed foods, kills brain cells, is an endocrine disruptor, and causes reactions like a-fib, nausea and vomiting, tinnitus, asthma, migraine headache and seizures:

fake news, xenophobia not science, stereotypes about Asians, prejudice

If you’re new to the subject of MSG toxicity, please know that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth can be found on the webpage of the Truth in Labeling Campaign.  You might find the sections on “data” and “label lies” to be of particular interest.

The Whopper: the ultimate MSG propaganda

At the Truth in Labeling Campaign website there’s a page called “Six Big Fat Lies.”  That’s where we revealed what we thought were the favorite propaganda tactics of the glutamate-industry. But we failed to tell you about The Whopper, arguably the biggest, most often repeated and most damaging lie of all.

Unwrapping The Whopper

On April 8, I spoke to Dr. Nancy Turner, Professor and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University. I had called to ask her how the damage done by Robin Tucker’s statements in MSU’s Serving Up Science: “Umami: The Most Complex Taste” podcast was going to be redressed.

It was following that conversation that the light finally dawned on me. Turner was telling me that humans couldn’t eat enough Manufactured free Glutamic acid (MfG) to cause the brain damage, endocrine disorders, and assorted reactions that the laboratory animals had experienced. That MfG in that quantity wasn’t available. It was then I finally got it. That was the lie that now permeates glutamate-industry propaganda. That was the lie they were using to sell the American public on the notion that MfG is a harmless food additive – and to make money from selling monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, etc.

There will always be Six Big Fat Lies. But all six together can’t hold a candle to the brilliance and the selling power of The Whopper: The lie that we aren’t exposed to enough MfG in processed foods to cause us any harm.

Here’s a little test you can do. Take along a list of the names of ingredients that contain MfG to any store (health-food stores included) and simply read the ingredients listed on the labels of processed foods. I challenge you to find 10 products that don’t contain at least one of the ingredients on that list. And every one of them contains MfG. Think about it. In the course of a day consider how many of those MfG-containing products are in the meals and snacks you enjoy. Include restaurant foods in your tally.

For those who want to get into the science of MfG toxicity consider the following:

An individual’s reaction to MfG depends on both the vulnerability and sensitivity of his or her glutamate receptors. Lack of blood-brain barrier(BBB) development in the unborn (fetus) and the infant make them extremely vulnerable to exposure to MfG passed through their mothers’ diets. Damage done to the BBBs of mature humans through use of drugs, seizures, stroke, trauma to the head, hypoglycemia, hypertension, extreme physical stress, high fever, and the normal process of aging render them more vulnerable than others.

Individual sensitivity may also be related to the integrity of cells or groups of cells that control a particular function. There might well be times when one ingests enough MfG to damage a cell, but not enough to kill it, or damage some of the cells in a group that control a particular function but not enough to knock out all of them. Some MfG-sensitive people report that they can knowingly ingest MfG in a favorite food on one occasion without noticing a reaction, but notice a reaction when that same food is consumed several days in a row.

Reports from consumers tell us that intensity or severity of reactions appear to be affected by alcohol ingestion and/or exercise just prior to, or immediately following MSG ingestion; and some women report variations in their reactions at different times in their menstrual cycles.

The bottom line is that Dr. Turner has no idea whatsoever how much MfG an individual is taking in on a daily basis, nor how sensitive he or she might be at any given time to MfG’s effects. Turner bought into the glutamate-industry line that there isn’t enough MfG available in processed food to cause brain damage and adverse reactions. She’s helping spread The Whopper. And shamefully, she didn’t do the very thing that a Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University must certainly teach her students: “Check it out.”

Be aware. Be informed. Check it out. Don’t buy into The Whopper.