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October  9, 2007

Letter to the Editor
Gourmet: the Magazine of Good Living
c/o Ruth Reichl

Ms. Reichl:

Why is Gourmet Magazine printing glutamate industry propaganda?

Ten people given selected data--data chosen for them by those who manufacture and sell monosodium glutamate--sat around a table in Stuttgart, Germany and concluded that MSG "can...be regarded as harmless for the whole population."  Historically, meetings, panels, and symposia like this are created by The Glutamate Association, the International Glutamate Technical Committee, or their agents each time the "safety" of monosodium glutamate is questioned.  Historically, panel members are friends or members of the glutamate industry who review data produced by, and personally delivered to them by the glutamate industry. But neither the epidemiological studies that have demonstrated that over 25 per cent of the U.S. population react to MSG, the studies that demonstrated a  link between ingestion of MSG and such things as asthma, headache, and hear irregularities, nor the hundreds of studies that have repeatedly demonstrated that monosodium glutamate causes brain lesions and subsequent endocrine disorders in laboratory animals are given to the panel to review.  One reading of "Consensus meeting: monosodium glutamate--an update," on which Kelly Kingman based her article, "MSG RISING" told me that a number of  panel members had done similar reviews or had produced badly flawed research for the International Glutamate Technical Committee in the past, and that any mention of studies that demonstrated the toxic effects of monosodium glutamate, or any critiques of the glutamate industry's badly flawed research, were missing.

Who is Kelly Kingman? Her name appears with the article "MSG Rising" found in your October Good Living section?  Who told her to write a piece that said that "MSG is 'harmless for the whole population?"  Who told her what to write?  Why did your editors allow her to publish it?  It's nothing more than glutamate industry propaganda.

I recognize propaganda when I see it, and I understand how it is distributed, but I don't have the expertise to comment on the chemistry and physiology presented in the Beyreuther et al. article that Kelly Kingman referred to, while Dr. M. Hermanussen of the University of Kiel Germany, Altenhof, Germany does. His critique in the form of a Letter to the Editor of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled "No Consensus on Glutamate" is available on line at http://npg.nature.com/ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/1602828a.html. and has been reproduced here for your convenience.

Ms. Reichl, you owe your readers an apology plus a referral to http://www.truthinlabeling.org, the Web page of the Truth in Labeling Campaign, where people who are sensitive to monosodium glutamate and other MSG-containing ingredients will find help in avoiding MSG.

Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D.
The Truth in Labeling Campaign
850 N. DeWitt Place    Suite 20B
Chicago, IL  60611