Monosodium glutamate (MSG): The basics

1) It’s manufactured using genetically engineered bacteria.
The most “naturally occurring” thing about monosodium glutamate is the genetically modified bacteria that excrete monosodium glutamate’s potentially excitotoxic glutamic acid through their cell walls.

2) It contains:

  • L-glutamic acid (which stimulates taste buds to give the perception of a more exciting or robust taste experience);
  • unavoidable, undesirable, by-products of L-glutamic acid manufacture which include D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and additional impurities depending on the material fed to the bacteria and the exact nature of the bacterial fermentation involved –– by-products of manufacture that are not found in unadulterated meat, fish, poultry or in the human body;
  • sodium, and,
  • moisture.

3) When present in excess, it turns excitotoxic.
When present in excess (amounts greater than needed for normal body function), the glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate becomes excitotoxic, causing neurotransmitters to fire repeatedly until the cells associated with targeted glutamate receptors die — causing brain damage and endocrine disorders as well as reactions such as a-fib, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and seizures.

4) There is more than enough free glutamic acid in processed food to enable humans to accrue the excesses needed to cause brain damage and consequent abnormalities.

5) To learn more:

To learn more about monosodium glutamate see: What is monosodium glutamate?

To review the names of ingredients that contain manufactured free glutamic acid see: Ingredient Names Used to Hide MfG.

To understand the difference between manufactured free glutamic acid and the glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein and in the human body see: Manufactured vs Natural glutamic acid.

To read about industry’s denial of the toxicity of MSG see:
Basic Facts (things the “glutes” don’t want you to know)
This is How the “MSG is Safe” Game is Played
Meet the “Glutes”
Here’s How They Hide MSG
The Architect of it All
Industry’s FDA
Six Big Fat Lies
Propaganda
Umami

Giving credit where credit is due: Writers engaged in spreading the Glutes’ propaganda and the outlets that enable them

The fiction that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a harmless food additive has several key components:

  • Rigged studies and bold-faced lies.
  • A vigorous PR effort (currently being conducted by Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations).
  • Paid media, in the form of “sponsored” content (that you may not realize is bought and paid for).
  • “Earned” media – meaning legitimate journalists with access to top-tier outlets (think Wall Street Journal) who have been enlisted to write up articles that look and sound like real news, but are simply industry’s messaging done in the “voice” of the publication. This method also works with celebrities (especially chefs), bloggers and anyone else who has a big social media following.

And if you think that the flood of glutamate-industry propaganda has been torrential lately, you’re absolutely right. Ajinomoto, the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate, is in the middle of a 10-million-dollar PR blitz (according to Ajinomoto), to “persuade Americans that MSG is safe—and maybe even good for you…”

We can’t always say for sure who is responsible for spreading the Glutes’ words so far and wide, but it seems only appropriate to share the names of some of the authors and outlets that enable them. For more about glutamate-industry propaganda, look here and here.

Rachael Ray Every Day, May, 2019
“Surprise: MSG Has Been Completely Safe to Eat All This Time”
Author: Hillary Maglin
https://www.rachaelraymag.com/whats-new/why-msg-is-safe-to-eat

BBC future, May, 2019
“The man who discovered umami”
Author: Veronique Greenwood
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190503-the-mystery-taste-that-always-eluded-us

BBC Future, November, 2015
Is MSG as bad as it’s made out to be?
Author: Bianca Nogrady
www.bbc.com/future/story/20151106-is-msg-as-bad-as-its-made-out-to-be\

The Wall Street Journal, April, 2019
“The FDA Says It’s Safe, So Feel Free to Say ‘Yes’ to MSG”
Author: River Davis
https://www.wsj.com/articles/rescuing-msgs-unsavory-reputation-11556337610

WebMD, February, 2019
“Is MSG really so bad?”
Author: Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
https://blogs.webmd.com/food-fitness/20190219/is-msg-really-so-bad

Lifehacker Skillet, January, 2019
“Put MSG in everything, you cowards”
Author: Claire Lower
https://skillet.lifehacker.com/put-msg-in-everything-you-cowards-1831721707

Men’s Health, January, 2019
“Is MSG Bad for You? No – and Here’s Why”
Author: Chris Mohr, Ph.D, RD
https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a26006305/msg-not-bad-for-you/

fivethirtyeight, January, 2016
How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia
Author: Anna Maria Barry-Jester
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-msg-got-a-bad-rap-flawed-science-and-xenophobia/

Decoding Delicious, March, 2013
What is MSG, and is it safe to eat? –
Author: Amanda Green
www.decodingdelicious.com/what-is-msg/

Lifehacker, December, 2018
“Stop being afraid of MSG”
Author: Beth Skwarecki
https://vitals.lifehacker.com/stop-being-afraid-of-msg-1831011967

Esquire, October, 2018
“It’s time for America to fall back in love with MSG”
Author: Joanna Rothkopf
https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/food/a23566452/its-time-for-america-to-fall-back-in-love-with-msg/

The Seattle Times, October, 2018
“Avoiding MSG? Look beyond the myths”
Author: Carrie Dennett
https://www.seattletimes.com/life/wellness/avoiding-msg-look-beyond-the-myths/

Berkeley Wellness, October, 2018
“Is MSG Safe?”
Author: Keng Lam MD
https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/msg-safe

US News & World Report, October, 2018
“Scientists Have Known MSG is Safe for Decades. Why Don’t Most Americans?”
Author: Toby Amidor
https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2018-10-10/scientists-have-known-msg-is-safe-for-decades-why-dont-most-americans

Business Insider, August, 2014
Is MSG Sodium In Chinese Food Safe To Eat?
Author: Kevin Loria
https://www.businessinsider.com/is-msg-sodium-in-chinese-food-safe-to-eat-2014-8

Business Insider, February, 2017
Everyone should cook with MSG, says food scientist
Author: Gus Lubin
https://www.businessinsider.com/cooking-with-msg-supersalt-2017-2

BuzzFeed, August, 2013
The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula For Success
Author: John Mahoney
https://www.buzzfeed.com/johnmahoney/the-notorious-msgs-unlikely-formula-for-success

Slate, May, 2006
Could MSG make a comeback?
Author: Sarah Dickerman
https://slate.com/human-interest/2006/05/could-msg-make-a-comeback.html

Reader’s Digest, August, 2018
“What is MSG – and how bad is it, really?
Author: Denise Mann, MS
https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/what-is-msg-and-how-bad-is-it-really/

Blog: MyFitnessPal, September, 2016
Is MSG Safe?
Author: Monica Reinagel
https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/is-msg-safe/

Skeptical Raptor, July, 2018
“MSG myth – debunked with real science”
https://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/msg-myth-versus-science/

Self, June, 2018
“We all really need to stop freaking out about MSG”
Author: Yvette d’Entremont
https://www.self.com/story/we-all-really-need-to-stop-freaking-out-about-msg

The Guardian, May, 2018
“Chinese restaurant syndrome: has MSG been unfairly demonized?”
Author: Joanna Blythman
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/21/chinese-restaurant-syndrome-has-msg-been-unfairly-demonised

The Guardian, July 2005
If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?
Author: Alex Renton
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/jul/10/foodanddrink.features3

Financial Times, May, 2015
OMG I love MSG
Author: Tim Hayward
Not available online

Smithsonian.com, November, 2013
It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow
Author: Natasha Geiling
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/its-the-umami-stupid-why-the-truth-about-msg-is-so-easy-to-swallow-180947626/

We’ve merely skimmed the surface of what’s out there. If other articles catch your eye, please send their links to us at questionsaboutmsg@gmail.com, or post them on our Facebook page. We like to give credit where credit is due.

The contrived controversy over MSG-safety

If you Google “monosodium glutamate” and the word “controversy,” you come up with over 800,000 results. Does that mean there are legitimate opposing viewpoints about whether monosodium glutamate is safe or not – a true controversy?

Clearly there are two sides to every story, and we should be told both. But when the side claiming “controversy” offers nothing more than rigged research, name calling, and out and out lies, what they’re delivering is more akin to propaganda than it is to controversy. And in the case of MSG-safety, that’s all there is. There is no honest MSG-is-safe science. There are no scrupulous studies that demonstrate that MSG is a “harmless” food additive.

So if you’re wondering where the “facts” about MSG-safety are coming from, we have listed some of the arguments on which those ”facts” are based:

Purported evidence that MSG is a harmless food additive:

  1. Animal studies that falsely claimed to be replications of studies demonstrating brain damage in laboratory animals.
  2. The argument that animal studies demonstrating MSG-toxicity are invalid, because animals do not represent the human condition.
  3. The lie that humans can’t eat enough manufactured free glutamate (MfG) to cause the brain damage, endocrine disorders, and assorted reactions that laboratory animals experienced in the 1960s and 1970s – a claim that is particularly interesting in light of industry claims one and two above.
  4. Human studies that have nothing to do with MSG safety
  5. Human double-blind studies rigged to concluded that research has failed to demonstrated that monosodium glutamate or MfG had toxic potential. Lacing placebo materials used in those studies with an excitotoxic amino acid that causes the same reactions as caused by MSG (the aspartic acid in aspartame) has been just one of the many devices used to facilitate industry’s claim that “research has failed to demonstrated that L-glutamate has toxic potential.”

Bold-faced lies, including:

6. Glutamate contained in MSG is identical to glutamate in the human body.

7. MSG is very well researched and has been found to be safe.

8. MSG must be safe since the FDA has said so.

9. MSG has been used for over a century without adverse reactions.

10. MSG is naturally made, similar to yogurt, vinegar and wine.

11. Monosodium glutamate occurs naturally in food.

12. Humans can’t eat enough manufactured free glutamic acid (MfG) to cause the brain damage, endocrine disorders, and assorted reactions that the laboratory animals experienced.

And all this is packaged by the largest independently owned PR firm in the world, Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations (now working for Ajinomoto, the largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate in the world). Edelman is reported to have told employees that “Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is OK.”

Is “controversial” the right term to describe a situation where one side tells the truth about a subject while the opposing side resorts to rigging research, calling names, and telling lies?

About MSG-toxicity, there really is no controversy.

RESOURCES

Data
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/data.html

Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate.
Olney JW. Science. 1969 May 9;164(3880):719-21. PMID: 5778021
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5778021

Excitotoxic food additives–relevance of animal studies to human safety.
Olney JW. Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol. 1984 Nov-Dec;6(6):455-62. Review. PMID: 6152304
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6152304

Brain damage in mice from voluntary ingestion of glutamate and aspartate.
Olney JW, Labruyere J, de Gubareff T. Neurobehav Toxicol. 1980 Summer;2(2):125-9. PMID: 7290308
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7290308

Brain damage and oral intake of certain amino acids.
Olney JW. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1976;69:497-506. No abstract available. PMID: 821314
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/821314

Brain-damaging potential of protein hydrolysates.
Olney JW, Ho OL, Rhee V. N Engl J Med. 1973 Aug 23;289(8):391-5. No abstract available. PMID: 4198222
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4198222

Brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of glutamate, aspartate or cysteine.
Olney JW, Ho OL. Nature. 1970 Aug 8;227(5258):609-11. No abstract available. PMID: 5464249
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5464249

Neonatal exposure to monosodium glutamate induces morphological alterations in suprachiasmatic nucleus of adult rat.
Rojas-Castañeda JC, Vigueras-Villaseñor RM, Chávez-Saldaña M, Rojas P, Gutiérrez-Pérez O, Rojas C, Arteaga-Silva M. Int J Exp Pathol. 2016 Feb;97(1):18-26. doi: 10.1111/iep.12157. Epub 2016 Jan 21. PMID: 26799547
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799547

What is monosodium glutamate
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/whatismonosodiumglutamate.html

The Toxicity/Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A study in Suppression of Information.
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/assets/manuscript2.pdf

Flawed industry studies
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/flawed.html

Six big fat lies
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/lies.html

Propaganda 101: The 8 ingredients in cutting edge propaganda
https://www.truthinlabeling.org/blog/2019/05/01/propaganda-101-the-8-ingredients-in-cutting-edge-propaganda/

https://www.edelman.com/insights/edelman-ad-age-best-places-work-2019

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edelman

https://gawker.com/356220/sometimes-you-just-have-to-stand-up-there-and-lie

Umami: the con of the decade?

It has always been my opinion that the concept of umami was developed to promote the sale of monosodium glutamate, with a very large enterprise developed to promote the fiction.

When I was first introduced to “umami” I had a creeping suspicion that the concept of umami had been promoted in an effort to legitimize the use of monosodium glutamate in food, drawing attention away from the fact that monosodium glutamate is a neurotoxic amino acid which kills brain cells, is an endocrine disruptor (causing obesity and reproductive disorders), and is the trigger for reactions such as asthma, migraine headache, seizures, depression, irritable bowel, hives, and heart irregularities.

It’s common knowledge that there are glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue. Could researchers be hired to produce studies demonstrating that glutamate containing food can stimulate those glutamate receptors, and then declare to the world that a fifth taste has been discovered — calling it umami? I wondered.

Never mind that for years monosodium glutamate was described as a tasteless white crystalline powder. Never mind that Julia Child, who in her later years was recruited to praise the use of monosodium glutamate, never once mentioned the additive in her cookbooks. Never mind that if there was taste associated with monosodium glutamate, people who are sensitive to MSG would be highly motivated to identify that taste and thereby avoid ingesting MSG – which they claim they cannot do.

It certainly would be wonderful, I thought, if the glutamic acid in processed free glutamic acid (MSG) had a delicious, robust, easily identifiable taste of its own. Even if the taste was unpleasant instead of delicious, it would still be wonderful — at least the adults who are sensitive to MSG could identify the additive in their food and avoid eating it. MSG-induced migraine headaches, tachycardia, skin rash, irritable bowels, seizures, depression, and all of the other MSG-induced maladies, could become nothing more than bad memories.

Sometime after Olney and others demonstrated that monosodium glutamate was an excitotoxin — killing brain cells and disrupting the endocrine system — Ajinomoto, Co., Inc. began to claim that their researchers had identified/isolated a “fifth taste.” The “fifth taste,” they said, was the taste of processed free glutamic acid. This alleged fifth taste was branded “umami.”

The word “umami” has been in the Japanese vocabulary for over a century, being in use during the Edo period of Japanese history which ended in 1868. In the 1990s, it was written that “umami” can denote a really good taste of something – a taste or flavor that exemplifies the flavor of that something. It was said that the taste of monosodium glutamate by itself does not in any sense represent deliciousness. Instead, it is often described as unpleasant, and as bitter, salty, or soapy. However, when monosodium glutamate is added in low concentrations to appropriate foods, the flavor, the pleasantness, and the acceptability of the food increases.

For years, certainly up to the turn of this century, monosodium glutamate had been thought of as a flavor enhancer – like salt. Something that enhances the taste of the food to which it is added. Early encyclopedia definitions of monosodium glutamate stated that monosodium glutamate was an essentially tasteless substance. The idea (advanced by Ajinomoto) that monosodium glutamate has a taste of its own, as opposed to being a flavor enhancer, is relatively recent. Not just a taste of its own, mind you, but something newsworthy that could attract national or international attention. A fifth classification of taste added to the recognized tastes of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.

The idea that monosodium glutamate has a unique taste can be tracked in the scientific literature if you read vigilantly. I don’t know whose brainchild it was, but it certainly was a brilliant move on the road to marketing monosodium glutamate – a move precipitated by a growing public recognition that monosodium glutamate causes serious adverse reactions. And even one step farther up the brilliance chart, this monosodium-glutamate-taste-of-its-own was given a name. Naming things makes them easy to talk about and gives them respectability. The monosodium-glutamate-taste-of-its-own was named “umami.”

We started writing about umami years ago. We were already familiar with the research that the glutamate industry used to claim that umami was a fifth taste, and we knew that, with possible rare exception, all of that research had been funded by Ajinomoto and/or their friends and agents. We also sensed that researchers outside of the direct employ, or outside of the indirect largess of the glutamate industry, found the idea of a fifth taste to be without merit.

We thought that we should begin by making the case that what was called the “taste” produced by monosodium glutamate is not a taste, per se, but is little or nothing more than the vague sensation that nerves are firing. We would start by reminding our readers that what industry calls the “taste” of monosodium glutamate is its manufactured free glutamic acid; that glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter; and that as a neurotransmitter, glutamic acid would carry nerve impulses to nerve cells called glutamate receptors, and trigger responses/reactions. Then we would explain that there are glutamate receptor cells in the mouth and on the tongue, and that monosodium glutamate could trigger reactions in those glutamate receptors — leaving the person who was ingesting the monosodium glutamate with the perception that food being ingested with it had a bigger, longer lasting taste than it would have had if there was no monosodium glutamate present.

Ask Ajinomoto, and they will tell you that there are studies that prove that umami is a fifth taste. Review of those studies has proved to be extremely interesting, but when read carefully, offers no proof that monosodium glutamate does anything more than stimulate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue and promote the perception of more taste than the ingested food would otherwise provide.

I actually spoke with one of the umami researchers on the phone, a Dr. Michael O’Mahoney, Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis. He was doing research for the glutamate industry and, therefore, could certainly provide information.

Dr. O’Mahoney was warm and friendly, but said that because he had a contract with Ajinomoto to study the taste of monosodium glutamate he was not able to share information with me. An academician who refused to share information was an animal I had not met before.

Based on personal observations and conversations with MSG-sensitive friends, I have become increasingly certain that monosodium glutamate has no taste; that in stimulating the glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue, glutamate causes the person ingesting monosodium glutamate to perceive more taste in food than the food would otherwise have; that umami is a clever contrivance/device/public relations effort to draw attention away from the fact that processed free glutamic acid and the monosodium glutamate that contains it are toxic.

And taste? A savory taste? Given what I know about Ajinomoto’s rigging studies of the safety of monosodium glutamate, I couldn’t help but wonder if they might have done something unsavory to support their claim that monosodium glutamate has a savory taste.

  • They certainly have studies allegedly demonstrating that monosodium glutamate has a savory taste. Were those studies rigged?
  • Did Ajinomoto feed something to the genetically modified bacteria that excrete their glutamic acid that would cause the glutamic acid to have a taste? A savory taste?
  • When the L-glutamic acid used in monosodium glutamate is produced, there are unavoidable by-products of production. Does one of those by-products contribute a savory taste?
  • Is some savory flavoring added to the monosodium glutamate product before it leaves the Eddyville plant?
  • Is “savory taste” a fiction invented by Ajinomoto and reinforced through repetition of the concept?

When it comes down to what really matters, whether there are four or five tastes is irrelevant.

When it comes down to what really matters, whether monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer or a flavor itself is inconsequential.

What really matters is that chemical poisons are being poured into infant formula, enteral (invalid) care products, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals and processed foods — and one of those chemical poisons is manufactured free glutamic acid, found in monosodium glutamate and four dozen or so other ingredients with names that give no clue to its presence. That’s my opinion.

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
Director, The Truth in Labeling Campaign

Ingredient Names Used to Hide Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG)

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

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

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

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

Names of ingredients that always contain MfG:

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

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

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

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

  • Corn starch
  • Corn syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Lipolyzed butter fat
  • Dextrose
  • Rice syrup
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Milk powder
  • Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
  • most things “low fat” or “no fat”
  • anything “enriched”
  • anything “vitamin enriched”
  • anything “pasteurized”
  • Annatto
  • Vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • certain amino acid chelates (Citrate, aspartate, and glutamate are used as chelating agents with mineral supplements.)
*1 Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein does not cause adverse reactions. To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have been processed /manufactured or come from protein that has been fermented.
*2 E numbers are use in Europe in place of food additive names.

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

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

Reminders

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

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

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

Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate are relatively expensive food additives that work synergistically with inexpensive MSG. Their use suggests that the product has MSG in it. They would probably not be used as food additives if there were no MSG present.

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

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

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

Binders and fillers for medications, nutrients, and supplements, both prescription and non-prescription, enteral feeding materials, and some fluids administered intravenously in hospitals, may contain MfG.

According to the manufacturer, Varivax–Merck chicken pox vaccine (Varicella Virus Live), contains (or contained) L-monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed gelatin, both of which contain Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) which causes brain lesions in young laboratory animals, and causes endocrine disturbances like OBESITY and REPRODUCTIVE disorders later in life. It would appear that most, if not all, live virus vaccines contain some ingredient(s) that contains MfG.

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

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

‘Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie’

It’s hard to keep up with glutamate-industry propaganda, as they clearly have some of the most creative minds in the business. The latest to handle PR for Ajinomoto Co, Inc. (the leading producer of monosodium glutamate) is none other than Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations, the largest independently owned PR firm in the world.

At the beginning of this year, Richard Edelman (son of founder Daniel), when writing about how honored he was that his namesake agency was listed as a “best place to work” by Ad Age, proudly told how they are now working with Ajinomoto to “set the record straight about long-misunderstood monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the U.S.”

And that explains a lot about the bold new propaganda campaigns we’ve been seeing lately — significantly different approaches. One in particular masquerades as an announcement of a newsworthy event to be featured in business sections of some top-name newspapers.

“Rescuing MSG’s Unsavory Reputation” was carried by the Chicago Tribune, the Latin American Herald Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal among others, with lots of “feel- good” words paired with “monosodium glutamate.”  Psychologists might call it conditioning; we call it brainwashing. The same piece was also posted in Food Processing, which calls itself “the information source for food and beverage manufacturers,” under the headline, “Ajinomoto Wants to Repair MSG’s Reputation.”

Now we’ve seen “The man who discovered umami,” by Veronique Greenwood, in no less a program than BBC’s “Future”. This time, the message that MSG is a harmless flavor enhancer is encased in a pleasant story about the glories of “umami.”  And in this friendly, good-natured, affable little tale is inserted the message that the consumer is supposed to take away:

“The product, a monosodium glutamate (MSG) powder called Aji-No-Moto, is still made today. (Although rumuors have swirled periodically that eating too much MSG can give people headaches and other health problems, the US Food and Drug Administration has found no evidence for such claims. It just makes food taste more savoury.)”

It’s clever, for sure. But Edelman has a long history of clever propaganda techniques. One that it terms “litigation PR,” was used to stop a dozen state attorneys general from joining the anti-trust actions taken against Microsoft in the late 1990s. Other efforts of theirs have included representing the American Petroleum Institute at a reported fee of $52 million a year in an “astroturfing” venture (a fake grass-roots campaign typically industry funded) to promote fracking, as well as other climate-change-denial crusades, and working with Big Tobacco to help “slow or reverse” public opinion regarding smoking. One document from the late 1970s, produced by Edelman for RJ Reynolds, states that their purpose is to “begin the process of establishing that there is another point of view on the cigarette question.”

But nothing describes Edelman’s MSG “set the record straight” effort better than a story that appeared in Gawker ten years ago. According to an unnamed, top-level marketing executive, an Edelman senior management training session included this quote: “Sometimes, you just have to stand up there and lie. Make the audience or the reporter believe that everything is OK.”

We can’t wait to see what these propaganda artists will have in store for us next. 

References:

https://www.edelman.com/insights/edelman-ad-age-best-places-work-2019

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Edelman

https://gawker.com/356220/sometimes-you-just-have-to-stand-up-there-and-lie

https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/#id=mybm0104

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.

PROPAGANDA 101: The 8 ingredients in cutting edge propaganda

Monosodium glutamate contains manufactured free glutamic acid (glutamate), a free amino acid that can kill brain cells, disrupt the endocrine system, and cause adverse reactions such as migraine headache, asthma, a-fib, tachycardia, and seizures.

The first data pertaining to toxicity of manufactured/processed free glutamate (MfG) can be found in studies going back to the 1940s, with the first ones related to glutamate-induced retinal degeneration dating from the 1950s. The first research to rock the boat for Ajinomoto, Inc. (the world’s largest producer of MSG), came from John Olney’s study “Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate,” shown to Ajinomoto in 1968, and published in 1969 in Science.

The 1969 report of brain damage was followed by five decades of research where it was demonstrated repeatedly that ingestion of MfG will cause brain damage, endocrine disorders, and observable adverse reactions; that free glutamate accumulated in inter-cellular spaces in the brain will cause brain damage; and that accumulations of free glutamate are associated with abnormalities such as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease, for example), brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression, jointly referred to as the “glutamate cascade.”

Data that confirm that free glutamate, monosodium glutamate, and hydrolyzed proteins cause brain damage and neuroendocrine disorders can be accessed at the Truth in Labeling website.

Discussion of flawed glutamate-industry studies can also be found at the TLC site. The story of glutamate-industry suppression of data, “The toxicity/safety of processed free glutamic acid (MSG): A study in suppression of information,” published in 1999 in Accountability in Research, can be read online by clicking here.

Since 1968, the glutamate industry has vigorously denied monosodium glutamate toxicity. Their use of scientists-for-hire, rigged research, infiltration of government agencies, control of major media, and a propaganda campaign second to none, has paid off for them as witnessed by the fact that so many are buying into the fiction that the toxicity of monosodium glutamate, and the toxicity of its glutamic acid are controversial.

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. 

Ingredient 1.  Talk fast.  Say positive things about monosodium glutamate. Some of those good things may contradict one another, but it doesn’t matter because the audience will hear a series of confident statements and won’t have time to notice the inconsistencies.  

Ingredient 2.  Acknowledge that research on monosodium glutamate’s “safety” has been found questionable by some.  Don’t make an issue of it, just acknowledge the criticism so no one can say that you ignored critical studies.  Then simply say that science disagrees.  No need to offer evidence.  Just plant the seed that science says monosodium glutamate is safe.

Ingredient 3.  Paint a glowing picture of monosodium glutamate.  Use affirmative words and phrases in your discussion.  Whether they are relevant or not makes no difference.  Whether they make sense or are random phrases does not matter.  Make no mention of any negatives.  Your audience should have positive thoughts and take away positive images of monosodium glutamate.

Some of the phrases, statements, and images that Chin associates with monosodium glutamate include:

“Purified MSG”
“Glutamate-rich”
“MSG is umami in its purest form”
“For love of MSG”
“Savory taste”
“The savory taste that’s taking over the culinary scene”
“A building block of protein”
“Culinary gold”
“Ubiquitous in kitchens”
“Gone global”
“A staple”
“Universal love for MSG”
“Team umami”
“You’ve been team umami from the get-go”
“Love of MSG comes from biology”
“In vertebrates”

While mentioning the positive roles that glutamate plays when not present in amounts needed to produce excitotoxicity, its role as an excitatory neurotransmitter is subtlety mentioned and goosed over.  There is no mention of the fact that this excitatory neurotransmitter kills brain cells, disrupts the endocrine system, causes adverse reactions like migraine headache, seizures, a-fib, tachycardia, asthma and more, and is known to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases including ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, and all the other abnormalities considered to be part of the glutamate cascade.

Ingredient 4. Once the picture has been drawn and the scene has been set, begin to twist the truth in a fashion that isn’t obvious.  Chin starts by pairing the terms monosodium glutamate and umami, glutamate and umami, and glutamate and monosodium glutamate.  Psychologists call this process “conditioning.”  Others might call it “brain washing.”

“Umami” is a word used for centuries by the Japanese to denote a really good taste of something – a taste or flavor that exemplifies the flavor of a food.  Umami is a descriptive term.  It’s an adjective.  It’s not a “thing,” it describes a thing.  Chin builds the case for using the word “umami” as a synonym for “monosodium glutamate.” He also uses “umami” as a synonym for “glutamate,” calling “glutamate receptors” “umami receptors.”  Throughout the balance of his presentation, Chin uses “glutamate,” “monosodium glutamate,” and “umami” almost interchangeably.

From twisting the truth, Chin moves to misrepresentations, half-truth, and blatant lies. 

Ingredient 5. Misrepresentations

To make a “misrepresentation” simply means to state as a fact something which is false or untrue.  To be considered fraudulent, a misrepresentation must be false, and it must be material in the sense that it relates to a matter of some importance or significance rather than a minor or trivial detail.

Ingredient 6. Half-truths.

The legal definition of a “half-truth” is to omit or withhold a statement of fact, knowledge of which is necessary to make other statements not misleading. It would be a material omission if it relates to a matter of some importance or significance rather than a minor or trivial detail.  A material omission is one of the components of fraud.

Ingredient 7.  Blatant lies.   

The following are examples of misrepresentations, half-truths, and lies, taken from Chin’s “The truth about MSG and your health” propaganda piece.  These are common to glutamate-industry propaganda.

“Glutamate is an important building block for protein.  And it also helps nerve cells send signals to other cells in the body.  It’s the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in vertebrates.  Since it’s so important for our bodies…”

OMITTED: Since 1957, and particularly since 1968, there have been growing numbers of studies documenting brain damage, endocrine disorders, and adverse reactions following ingestion of MSG. The glutamate cascade has been implicated in such disease conditions as addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease), brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.

“Purified MSG wasn’t a thing until 1908” when a Japanese chemist realized that the base made from kombu seaweed in his soup imparted a delicious flavor ….”

MISREPRESENTATION: What is “purified MSG?”  The flavor enhancing component of monosodium glutamate is the L-glutamic acid that was once extracted from protein-rich foods and is now produced in large part by genetically modified bacteria which excrete glutamic acid through their cell walls.  When L-glutamic acid is produced/manufactured by either method, unwanted by-products of manufacture (impurities) inevitably accompany the sought-after L-glutamic acid. Two of those impurities are D-glutamic acid and pyroglutamic acid.  Other impurities depend on the source material used in producing the L-glutamic acid and the method of production.  Moreover, to date, efforts to remove the impurities accompanying L-glutamic acid have been unsuccessful.  Which begs the question, what exactly is “purified MSG?”

“Studies have shown that umami functions as a flavor enhancer, creating a harmony between various flavors ….”  “A 2007 study published in the European Journal of Neuroscience….wherein the brain activity map lit up more from the combo of drinks….”

OMITTED: Studies demonstrating that monosodium glutamate and other products that contain processed free glutamic acid cause brain lesions, endocrine disorders, and observable adverse reactions.

“It’s an amino acid that the human body can synthesize glutamate, but that we also get from our food.”

OMITTED: There is no need for humans to ingest glutamate should the body be deficient, because glutamate can be synthesized from other amino acids. 

“While you’ve might have been told that it’s bad for you, or causes the so called Chinese restaurant syndrome, Science disagrees.”

FACT: Independent scientists have either read the scientific literature and concluded that monosodium glutamate kills brain cells, is an endocrine disruptor, and causes adverse reactions, or have no opinion on the subject.  It is only those scientists who are employed by the glutamate industry who maintain that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

“MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, the sodium salt of glutamate”

FACT:  Monosodium glutamate is a manufactured ingredient/product.  Glutamate is the sodium salt of glutamic acid.  Monosodium glutamate contains glutamate, the sodium salt of glutamic acid.

“Since it’s so important for our bodies, it’s not surprising we’ve evolved a taste for it.”

MISREPRESENTATION: “evolved a taste for it” as in “evolution?”

FACT:  Certain glutamate receptors on the tongue have been called “umami receptors by Ajinomoto.  As marketing professionals would say, they’ve been given a name and been branded.

“We have umami-specific receptors on or tongues and in our stomachs”

FACT:  There are glutamate receptors throughout the human body.  In 2009, Chaudhari, Pereira, and Roper stated that “Over the past 15 years, several receptors have been proposed to underlie umami detection in taste buds.”

“And these drive our love for foods that contain glutamates”

FACT:  This is so irrelevant it isn’t even a misrepresentation.

“And umami-rich foods have been staples in human diets forever.”

FACT:  Glutamate-rich foods (which would necessarily be protein-rich foods) have been staples in human diets for centuries.  Umami is an adjective that means flavorful or delicious.

“It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.”

FACT: In 1968, the same year that Dr. Ho Man Kwok published his letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine, John Olney, M.D., determined that monosodium glutamate administered to mice caused brain damage and endocrine disruption. Olney reached out to Ajinomoto U.S.A., Inc. to discuss his findings.  In response, Ajinomoto established a nonprofit corporation, recruited scientists and others to defend the safety of its product, and unleashed a powerful public relations campaign.  Ajinomoto’s researchers claimed to be replicating the animal work of Olney and others who found monosodium glutamate-induced toxicity, but their researchers did not actually replicate. Although it had been established that brain lesions could not be identified if examination was not done within 24 hours after insult, glutamate-industry researchers routinely examined the brains of test animals after 24 hours had elapsed. They also used inappropriate methods and materials for staining the material they were examining.

In the 1980s, human double-blind studies were undertaken, from which glutamate-industry researchers would claim they found no adverse effects from ingestion of monosodium glutamate.  For these studies, glutamate-industry researchers used of a variety of techniques virtually guaranteeing negative results — lacing placebos with aspartame being their fail-safe.

“The idea took hold, spurring years of biased science based on the flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing, and that MSG caused it.”

FACT: The idea that monosodium glutamate causes adverse reactions such a migraine headache followed the fact that a great number of people suffered migraines and other abnormalities after eating something containing monosodium glutamate.

FACT: “biased science,” “flawed assumption,” and “flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing” are some of the undefined negative phrases used in glutamate-industry propaganda to paint a negative image of those who challenge the safety of monosodium glutamate.

“Double-blinded placebo controlled studies…have failed to find a reproducible response to ingesting foods with MSG.”

FACT: Glutamate-industry studies have been rigged to “fail to find” responses to ingesting foods with MSG.  For further details look here.

Following recitation of misrepresentations, half-truths, and blatant lies, Chin moved to degrading those who have observed that monosodium glutamate and other ingredients that contain excitotoxic glutamic acid have toxic potential.  The following paragraph was taken from the video.  Emphasis has been added to point to negative references.

“While our love of MSG comes from biology, a lot of people’s aversion to it seems to have roots in something else entirely. Racism.  It all started with a 1968 letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine…. The idea took hold, spurring years of biased science based on the flawed assumption that CRS was a real thing, and that MSG caused it.  Subsequent animal studies seemingly confirmed the idea, but these often consisted of injecting super concentrated doses of MSG directly into creature’s abdomen, which isn’t exactly a scientific approach to determining the effects of MSG sprinkled into saucepans.  More recently research on MSG aversion has taken into account the xenophobia and racism that fueled it.  And over the last 3 decades, a number of double-blinded placebo-controlled studies, including studies of subjects with reported sensitivity to MSG, have failed to find a reproducible response to ingesting foods with MSG.”

Chin’s last sentence is priceless.  Those double-blind placebo-controlled studies were certainly “placebo controlled.”  The placebos used invariably contained excitotoxic aspartame (in aspartame) or another excitotoxic amino acid, making it inevitable that there would be as many reactions to the placebo as there were to the monosodium glutamate test material.  As early as 1978, Ajinomoto’s placebos were being laced with aspartame.

And those “subjects with reported sensitivity to MSG”?  They were college students and/or medical school students who were paid generously to participate in the studies provided that they said they were sensitive to MSG. No one verified that they were actually sensitive to MSG.

Ingredient 8.  Conclude with discussion of some positive thing that the glutamate industry is doing.  Chin tells the audience that “Investigation into the potential health benefits of MSG is ongoing…”

The only ingredient that Chin seems to have failed to include in his recipe for deception was The Whopper — the lie that we aren’t exposed to enough MfG in processed foods to cause us any harm.

Why is Michigan State University feeding a propaganda campaign that claims monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive?

“Propaganda” was the first thought that entered my mind. Propaganda touting the safety of monosodium glutamate. But from Michigan State University?

“People associated it with some unpleasant symptoms….But scientists really haven’t really been able to reproduce those symptoms reliably.”

Those are words straight from the playbook of the glutamate industry coming as a sound bite from MSU’s public radio station WKAR (and NPR) on its “Serving Up Science” program in a segment titled: “Umami: The Most Complex Taste.”

It’s not unusual for the glutamate industry to place stories with struggling freelance writers or others who need work that can be cited – people who are pleased to take articles or story lines that are handed to them (with or without remuneration), and run with them without checking out their sources or their facts.

It’s not unusual for the glutamate industry to have food scientists who have produced studies allegedly demonstrating the safety of monosodium glutamate write or speak on the safety of their product. But Michigan State Assistant Professor Robin Tucker, quoted above, doesn’t fit the bill. She presents a most impressive bibliography, but there’s nothing that I saw there that even shows an interest in glutamate, monosodium glutamate, or excitotoxins. So where did she get the idea that “people really don’t have much to worry about when it comes to MSG”?

Perhaps I understand how Tucker got involved. She’s on the faculty of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, where, with close to 40 faculty members, she must know many who are Food Technologists, professionals dedicated to creating and improving food products. And of those, no doubt many will belong to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), some of whose members profit from promoting the fiction that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

Dr. Tucker may even know Andrew G. Ebert, Ph.D., a highly respected pharmacologist and toxicologist who once served as chairman of Ajinomoto’s International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC). It was Ebert (an IFT Fellow since 1996) who provided aspartame-laced placebos to researchers conducting studies he designed to be used as evidence that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive.

Another IFT member, who might have indirectly influenced Tucker, is Steve Taylor. Taylor is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, and Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska. Taylor became an IFT Fellow in 1986. Although having worked for Ajinomoto for many years, Taylor does not publicly acknowledge their relationship.

What I don’t understand is how NPR could carry the message that “people really don’t have much to worry about when it comes to MSG,” delivered by a person with no expertise in glutamate toxicity.

This past Monday I called Dr. Nancy Turner, Professor and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, and left a message asking how the damage done by Robin Tucker’s statements in this broadcast were going to be redressed.

On Wednesday Turner returned my call. I spoke of the data that demonstrate that the free glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate is excitotoxic – that in the unborn and the newborn it kills brain cells, destroys that part of the endocrine system responsible for weight control and human reproduction, and causes adverse reactions such as migraine headache, a-fib, and seizures in older humans.

I spoke of the flawed research of the glutamate industry wherein excitotoxic aspartic acid (in aspartame) was used in the placebos of industry-sponsored double-blind studies. I went so far as to use the word “fraud” in describing the research that claimed to have demonstrated that monosodium glutamate is a harmless food additive – to which Dr. Turner responded saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and that I was expressing my interpretation of the data.

She further informed me that placebos had to be balanced with test material, and since test material in the studies being discussed contained amino acids, amino acids would appropriately be used in placebos. My statement that the amino acid used in the placebos used in industry-sponsored studies of the safety of monosodium glutamate caused the same reactions as those caused by monosodium glutamate was ignored.

Since I had written to the show’s authors, Sheri Kirshenbaum and Karel Vega, as well as Dr. Tucker when it first appeared and received no response, I tried to communicate with NPR. There I found that the best I could do was put my letter in a box called “submit a correction.”

And so this blog.

There seems to be no shortage of people who don’t read the medical literature and don’t realize that there is an abundance of research that demonstrates that free l-glutamic acid (the manufactured free glutamic acid in monosodium glutamate) is toxic – that it causes brain damage, endocrine disorders (obesity and infertility), a-fib, migraine headache, asthma, seizures and more.

But I shouldn’t have to tell that to the “Serving Up Science” team. Just a few weeks before the umami piece appeared, they published “The Importance of Reputable Sources,” which explained that while it’s easy to get information online, “finding the correct information is a bit harder.”

Perhaps that’s something to keep in mind when using NPR as an authoritative source.

Adrienne