The Truth in Labeling Campaign


What is free glutamate?

How is it fabricated?

What roles does it play?


Ingredient names used to hide free glutamate

Where is free glutamate hidden in food?

Adverse reactions it is known for

Recognizing adverse reactions

Evidence for brain damage

Abnormalities associated with glutamate-induced brain damage

History of the Jekyll and Hyde amino acid

Truth in Labeling Campaign> Chemical Poisons> Misinformation


There’s a rich and powerful corporation that manufactures and sells the product known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). In 1968, when it was first suggested that MSG might cause adverse reactions, they launched a vigorous campaign to make sure MSG remained in widespread use.

Faced with allegations that MSG has toxic potential, Ajinomoto U.S.A., Inc., established a nonprofit corporation, recruited scientists and others to defend the safety of their product, produced studies that guaranteed that there would be no hint that MSG might be toxic, and unleashed a public relations campaign.

The suggestion that MSG might cause adverse reactions had come from neuroscientists who had used MSG in their studies of glutamate toxicity because MSG, which contains free glutamate, had been found to be as effective for killing brain cells as laboratory grade free glutamate, but less expensive. In effect, the outpouring of material advertised as proof that MSG is a harmless food additive is making the claim that free glutamate is a harmless food additive.

The success of Ajinomoto’s propaganda campaign has been phenomenal. Key to their success has been their control of both the media and relevant government agencies, giving them the latitude to broadcast misinformation about the safety/toxicity of MSG and manufactured free glutamate. Their lies range from simple untruths, to omitting information that contradicts their lies; to telling stories that draw readers away from the truth, conveying false impressions to citing studies built on research designs purposely constructed to deceive the reader.

Simple lies Lie #1: The glutamate contained in MSG is identical to the glutamate in the human body.

This is possibly their most regularly rehashed lie.

Actually: The glutamate in the human body is L-glutamate, only, whereas manufactured glutamate (found in monosodium glutamate and pea protein isolate, for example) is made up of both L--glutamate, D-glutamate, and other impurities. Impurities include D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and others depending on the starting materials used (or materials used to feed genetically modified bacteria) and the extent of processing.

Lie #2: MSG is very well researched and found to be safe.

Another favorite is that MSG is very well researched and has been found safe by “authoritative” bodies or “well respected international agencies.”

Actually: Independent researchers have found L-glutamate to produce brain damage, endocrine disorders, and observable adverse reactions like migraine headache, hives, and seizures.

Those studies that claim to have demonstrated monosodium glutamate safety have been rigged to fail to produce evidence of toxicity.

Claims that “authoritative” bodies or “well respected international agencies” have found MSG to be a harmless food additive are false. Neither independent scientists nor independent regulators have deemed monosodium glutamate safe. FDA studies, which were actually reviews, have always been staffed by persons with ties to the glutamate industry.

The regulators and/or authoritative bodies cited by the glutamate industry did no research of their own, but were given copies of FDA opinions on MSG safety or were provided review information by Ajinomoto, its not-for-profit corporations, and/or its agents — the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), for example. And the vast body of published research demonstrating monosodium glutamate toxicity was not shown to them.

Lie #3: MSG has been used for over a century without adverse reactions.

Actually: Since 1968, there have been copious reports of brain damage, endocrine disorders, and adverse reactions following ingestion of MSG; and 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. Lie #4: MSG is naturally made, similar to yogurt, vinegar and wine.

Actually: MSG is manufactured using genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamic acid through their cell walls. The only similarity to yogurt, vinegar, and wine is that their production includes fermentation.

Lie #5: Monosodium glutamate occurs naturally in food.

Actually: MSG is manufactured using genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamic acid through their cell walls. In the United States, monosodium glutamate is produced in Ajinomoto’s plant in Eddyville, Iowa.

MSG doesn’t occur naturally in anything.

The super lie

The biggest lie of them all is that MSG is harmless. But it’s more than a lie. It’s not just that MSG is harmful. MSG contains excitotoxic -- brain damaging -- free glutamate. It is the perfect poison. And withholding this information from the public, the medical community, and neuroscientists has impeded the progress of science.

What makes the super lie especially onerous, is that it has been intentionally constructed using research designs purposely constricted to deceive the reader. (See Analysis of fraudulent human studies),

Lies of omission

Omitting information that contradicts their lies is a lie in itself.

Lies of a different sort

Perhaps they’re not lies in the traditional sense, but inventing fictions that draw the consumer’s attention away from the truth for the purpose of promoting a toxic product fits the definition of a lie. Telling a story -- painting a picture -- that distracts the reader from the truth -- can have greater impact than any simple lie could have. You’ve probably heard each lie so many times by now that you think that most are true.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about MSG and manufactured free glutamate