Hidden MSG

Hidden Monosodium Glutamate

Monosodium Glutamate (which contains Manufactured Glutamic Acid) is a man-made ingredient used to alter our perception of taste in thousands of grocery store products. It tricks our brains into perceiving a more enhanced taste than actually exists in processed foods. More and more consumers are onto this deception and are looking to steer clear of Monosodium Glutamate and the other products that contain Manufactured Glutamic Acid.

So food manufacturers have devised clever tricks to hide these ingredients on package labels.

This sneaky technique is known as “clean labeling.” Basically a “clean label” is one that does not use ingredient names that many consumers consider bad. For Monosodium Glutamate, that can mean finding names such as “yeast extract,” “maltodextrin” or “hydrolyzed protein” (which all contain Manufactured Glutamic Acid) on food package labels instead of Monosodium Glutamate.

Real glutamic acid is naturally occurring in most protein foods. It is naturally “bound” to the protein, not “freed,” and does not cause a reaction in people. The problem comes when the glutamic acid is artificially “freed” from the protein - then it becomes Manufactured Glutamic Acid.

While millions of Americans are trying to avoid this undesired ingredient, the Food & Drug Administration has allowed dozens of alternative names for Manufactured Glutamic Acid.  Here are some other FDA approved names that can be found on food labels:

·         Autolyzed Plant Protein

·         Autolyzed Yeast

·         Calcium Caseinate

·         Glutamate

·         Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)

·         Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

·         Maltodextrin

·         Monopotassium Glutamate

·         Sodium Caseinate

·         Soy Protein Concentrate

·         Textured Protein

·         Yeast Food or Nutrient

·         Yeast Extract

Not only are some food makers hiding Manufactured Glutamic Acid (the active ingredient in Monosodium Glutamate) on their labels, some even go so far as to claim “No MSG” while in small print they mention they do contain ingredients which have Manufactured Glutamic Acid in them.

Some devious “No MSG” products include:

Swanson Beef and Chicken Broths, which claims “NO MSG Added.” But in tiny letters on the bottom it states “except for yeast extract.” Yeast extract contains Manufactured Glutamic Acid .

• Target brand Market Pantry Homestyle Chicken & Wild Rice Soup, which says “No added MSG” on the label, but adds the confusing disclaimer “except for yeast extract.”

Annie Chun's Soup Bowl proudly proclaims “No MSG added” on the package front. But if you read the ingredients you'll find “maltodextrin” as well as “yeast extract.” Both are forms of Manufactured Glutamic Acid, the ingredient in Monosodium Glutamate that so many consumers are trying to avoid.

Chef Boyardee's Mini ABC's and 123's with Meatballs says there’s “good stuff inside” and “No MSG,” but a label check reveals it contains “soy protein concentrate,” which is simply another hidden form of Manufactured Glutamic Acid.

Over 15 years ago the FDA did take action against deceptive “No MSG” labels, but these days consumers must “police” their own shopping carts.