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For Better or Worse
by
Jack L. Samuels

A quarterly commentary on food ingredient issues

September, 2000

Is Anyone Listening?

I have previously reported that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) had delayed approval of AuxiGro WP Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro), a product that contains 29.2% processed free glutamic acid (MSG), for use on grapes as a fungicide. The CDPR reported that over 90 people wrote to oppose the use of AuxiGro on grapes, citing health concerns related to MSG. I sent in abstracts of over 500 peer reviewed studies regarding the toxic effects of MSG. Yet, without a public hearing, CDPR approved this use of AuxiGro.

In giving its approval, CDPR, like federal governmental entities, gave nonsensical reasons for their approval, reasons that could not possibly stand up to scientific scrutiny. For example, CDPR indicated that scientists in their medical and toxicology departments reviewed all negative comments and scientific data. They acknowledged "...potential human health effects that MSG can cause in sensitive individuals..." but concluded "...that the small amount of L-glutamic acid being applied [to grapes] would not have an adverse effect on people consuming treated grapes." Their conclusion conflicts with the fact that any competent physician or toxicologist knows that people who suffer allergic or sensitivity reactions vary in their tolerances to substances that cause their reactions, with some people having virtually no tolerance at all.

The CDPR also claimed that the L-glutamic acid in AuxiGro is the same as found in the body and a wide range of foods, including grapes. Using that false premise, the CDPR went on to state that "...the amount of glutamic acid naturally present in grapes far exceeds the allowable use rate on the [AuxiGro] product label."

In truth, however, the substance in AuxiGro referred to as L-glutamic acid is different from the L-glutamic acid found in the body and in unadulterated, unprocessed foods, including grapes. The L-glutamic acid found in AuxiGro is accompanied by contaminants, as is always the case when L-glutamic acid has been freed from protein through processing. The glutamic acid found IN unadulterated grapes is ONLY L-glutamic acid.
(See http://www.truthinlabeling.org/manufac.htm for an explanation.)

The CDPR added that "...there is little likelihood of residues remaining on the grapes at time of harvest." However, AuxiGro is sprayed on crops with a silicon surfactant to keep it from washing off after application. If AuxiGro did not absorb into the grape plant, it would not work.

I would expect physicians and scientists at the CDPR to know the difference between the glutamic acid that is BOUND to other amino acids in unadulterated protein (L-glutamic acid, only) and the glutamic acid that has been FREED from protein through a manufacturing process (L-glutamic acid plus contaminants). I find it very unsettling, therefore, that when discussing processed free glutamic acid (MSG), as found in AuxiGro, the CDPR has used one of The Glutamate Association's favorite deceptive and misleading statements, a statement that fails to differentiate between BOUND and FREE glutamic acid, including processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The statement made by CDPR is:

"...an average adult consumes approximately 10.4 grams per day
[of L-glutamic acid] in foods..."

Since there are serious adverse reactions from MSG, and alcohol exacerbates the effects of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on many MSG-sensitive people, I have concern that there will be some cases of serious illness and possibly cases of death from California wines made from AuxiGro sprayed grapes. I, for one, will buy no California wines without being assured that AuxiGro has not been used on the wine grapes.

Citric Acid Use Increases New Source For Starch

Tate & Lyle, a world leader in the production of starch and citric acid, announced in June that they are now using wheat rather than corn in the production of starch. They also noted that world wide demand for citric acid is increasing 5% annually.

In making starch and citric acid, processors do not take the time or go to the expense of removing all protein from their products. That remaining protein is hydrolyzed, at least in part, during production, resulting in some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). Wheat is higher in glutamic acid than is corn.

Some MSG-sensitive individuals who have little tolerance for MSG have reported adverse reactions from products containing starch and/or citric acid.

Is Anything Sacred?

TLC remains concerned over the increasing use of genetically modified products. We are concerned that profit motives often override common sense and that the drive for money may cause some serious problems related to genetic modification. We also feel that it is unconscionable for genetically modified products to be marketed in the United States without disclosure to consumers. It is unexplainable that companies, including such big names as Kellogg's, agree to disclose the use of genetically modified ingredients in Europe where it is demanded, but refuse to offer full disclosure in the United States.

We have learned that the University of Idaho is experimenting with the injection of Prosilac (Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine somatotropin used to increase milk production in cows) into trout and catfish. The Prosilac treated fish mature two to three times faster than untreated fish.

We have also learned that a supplier of salmon eggs to the fish farming industry has developed genetically modified salmon eggs that introduce growth hormones into the fish, doubling the rate of growth. The producer of the genetically modified salmon eggs claims that the salmon will not contain more growth hormone than usual, but will merely retain a constant hormone level year round rather than only having such a level in warm weather months, as they contend is the case in untreated salmon. The producer also claimed that genetically modified salmon sold to farms will be infertile, an important issue since some salmon farms are penned in areas of the ocean and tens of thousands of fish are known to escape from ocean based salmon farms.

What are the concerns about genetically modified salmon? Some scientists claim that 100% success in infertility of genetically modified salmon cannot be attained. If that is true, some escaped fish will almost certainly be fertile and reproduce in the wild, affecting the salmon specie as we know it today. Also, some believe that increased exposure of humans to growth hormones may result in increased levels of hormone related cancers.

The producer of the genetically modified salmon eggs claims to have orders for 15 million genetically modified salmon eggs. Delivery is planned within the next year.

A Safe Food?

The April issue of the Journal of the American College if Nutrition included a study by Dr. Lon R. White in which the safety of tofu was brought into question. Dr. White reported on a study that included over 3,000 subjects and included interviews from 1965-67 and examinations from 1991-93.

It was concluded that high tofu consumption at midlife, (two or more servings per week),
resulted in poorer cognitive performance, lower brain weight, and larger ventricles than found in individuals with low tofu consumption. The researcher stated, in part, that "We found that poorer cognitive test performance in later life was weakly associated with a more oriental midlife diet." He went on to say that "...it became evident that the relationship with oriental diet could be attributed almost entirely to a single food item: tofu."

Autism

There has been considerable press recently regarding autism. Some scientists believe that 1 in 500 children now suffer from some form of autism. This includes a condition known as Asperger's Disease, a form of autism that differs from profound autism in that the affected individuals are less severely impaired. However, they have difficulty interacting with other children and are difficult to control in the home and in school. Sadly, many children with Asperger's Disease go unidentified as being mildly autistic, and are labeled as troublemakers or outcasts.

The condition of autism is now getting increased attention in the scientific community. Even the United States Congress showed an interest in autism when Congressman Dan Burton, the grandfather of an autistic child, held hearings, and continues to hold hearings on autism.

There is some concern that the increase in the occurrence of autism may be related to vaccinations, particularly the combination vaccine for mumps, measles, and rubella. In regard to vaccines, there has been concern expressed that vaccines contain mercury. However, I have never heard anyone mention that most, if not all vaccines contain processed free glutamic acid (MSG). MSG is a known neurotoxic material.