It’s time to get down and dirty.
With details. MSG is in just about every processed food you buy at the store. Even so-called “healthy” processed foods. And, yes, even in organic processed foods. (Read about why MSG is dangerous.)
A couple of days ago, I was asked to prepare a hamburger lunch unexpectedly for some company. I rushed to the grocery store, determined to buy everything I needed to make it easy.
Pre-shaped Bison burgers? Check.
Organic french fries? Check.
Pre-made sprouted grain buns? Check.
You can see from above that despite buying packaged and processed foods, I was determined to be as healthy as possible. Federal restrictions protecting Bison forbid the use of antibiotics or growth hormones in the raising of the animal AND require a mostly grass-fed diet. I figured the french fries were just organic potatoes. They have to be better than most chips — even the “all-natural” or organic ones.
I was wrong. As I discovered when I got home and actually read the label on my Alexia Organic Oven Crinkles, the stuff is full of MSG. Except on this product, it goes by the name “Autolyzed Yeast Extract.”
Yep. Did you know MSG has over 40 different legal names that the FDA permits food manufacturers to use in their labeling?
There are over 40 food ingredients besides “monosodium glutamate” that contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Each, according to the FDA, must be called by its own, unique, “common or usual name.” “Autolyzed yeast,” “maltodextrin,” “sodium caseinate,” and “soy sauce” are the common or usual names of some ingredients that contain MSG. Unlike the ingredient called “monosodium glutamate,” they give the consumer no clue that there is MSG in the ingredient.
The Truth in Labeling Campaign has asked the FDA to require manufacturers to identify ingredients that contain MSG by listing MSG on a product’s label. In response, we have been told that FDA regulations require that all food ingredients be called by their “common or usual names,” but there is no requirement that a constituent of an ingredient be identified. Processed free glutamic acid (MSG) is considered to be a constituent of a hydrolyzed protein or fermentation product because the MSG is created during the hydrolyzation or fermentation process. To autolyze yeast, for example, yeast is subject to processing; and during that processing, protein is broken down, and glutamic acid is freed. The finished autolyzed yeast product will, therefore, always contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as a constituent of the autolyzed yeast. The MSG will not have been poured into the autolyzed yeast. Rather, the MSG will have been processed into the autolyzed yeast.
The distinction between having MSG poured into an ingredient and processed into an ingredient is important because the glutamate industry plays on this distinction in their efforts to hide the presence of MSG. One of their favorite ways of hiding MSG is to claim that there is “no added MSG” in a product. If MSG is processed into a product instead of being poured into a product, they declare that there is “no MSG added” or “no added MSG,” in the product, even though they know full well that the product contains MSG.
For more on where MSG may be hiding in your food labels, I’ve created a handy, downloadable, easy-to-print guide for you.
So, once again, I urge you: take control of your food. Become a Food Renegade. Don’t trust packaged foods — any packaged foods. Even the organic kind.