This must have slipped by when Google wasn’t looking!

About as rare as finding a flock of flamingos in Central Park is doing a search on Google for monosodium glutamate (a.k.a. MSG) where the top results don’t all sing the praises of MSG.

This article, found fairly high up on a Google search is headlined: “Chinese celebrity chef Ken Hom says ‘MSG is used only by lazy cooks.’

Ordinarily, a Google search for MSG will deliver pages and pages of articles that proclaim the safety and benefits of feasting on foods enhanced with MSG, sometimes authored by celebrity chefs who speak out on the glories of use of MSG. The claim that renown chefs use MSG in their cooking has long been a staple of glutamate-industry marketing. Often involved are well-known restauranteurs or celebrity chefs such as Andrew Zimmern, Grant Achatz, David Chang, Eddie Huang, Heston Blumenthal and Chris Koetke who celebrate the “wonders” of cooking with MSG.

Foodies will recognize the name of the legendary Julia Child, whose cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is still a best-seller after 60 years. It’s well known that she would never use MSG in a recipe. Yet somehow the glutamate people got to her, and late in life she was heard on radio extolling the virtues of MSG.

More recently, Andrew Zimmern, celebrity chef & TV personality, served as Master of Ceremonies at the World Umami Forum, put on by the U.S. manufacturer of MSG. Zimmern is quoted from time to time talking about the virtues of MSG, but unless he has just started using MSG in new recipes, he doesn’t appear to cook with it.

Part of what sells MSG to consumers is the people making the presentations (a.k.a. sales pitches). The glutamate industry has capitalized on that fact, and certain celebrity chefs have seen value in testifying to the fact that MSG enhances the flavor of food while ignoring the fact MSG produced since 1957 is a toxic food additive.

Or, as chef Hom says, MSG is for “lazy cooks.”

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

The Truth about Gelatin

The Truth about Gelatin originally appeared in Earth Clinic a top-rated alternative health website that features in-depth information and videos about holistic treatments (for both people and pets), home remedies and effective health-boosting uses for numerous everyday products ranging from coconut oil to hydrogen peroxide.

You’re likely to run into gelatin in some surprising places. While it’s commonly found in foods such as gelatin desserts (think Jell-O), aspic, marshmallows, gummy candies, vitamins, and other supplements (including pill capsules), it can also turn up used as a binder in yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese and anywhere a food manufacturer wants to create a good “mouthfeel” for their product.

But like sausages, nobody wants to see how gelatin is made.

Most of the gelatin found in food and supplements comes from heat-degraded collagen derived from pigs and cows. It’s an ugly process that completes the cruel loop of factory farming by taking bone, stripped skin, and connective tissue from slaughterhouses and processing them (through acid, heat, and grinding) into an innocuous-looking, tasteless powder.

There’s nothing in that bouncy gelatin dessert or a smiling gummy bear that will give a hint of the cruelty involved in its creation. But ethical concerns aside, there’s much more not to like about gelatin.

The Gelatin – MSG Connection

Although it might seem that a marshmallow Peep has nothing in common with a shaker of the MSG flavor-enhancer Accent, they are actually related as both contain manufactured free glutamate.

Just as drugs have side effects, manufactured free glutamate has side effects such as irritable bowel, headache, heart irregularities, and skin rash. In addition, manufactured free glutamate is an excitotoxin: a neurologically active compound that in high concentrations has detrimental excitatory effects on the central nervous system and may cause injury to nerve cells.

Manufactured free glutamate is created in food ingredients when protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids. One of those amino acids will always be free glutamate. It is also mass-produced using genetically modified bacteria that excrete glutamate through their cell walls.

In the case of gelatin, the Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology states that glutamic acid (a.k.a. glutamate) which makes up around 10 percent of gelatin, isn’t the only neurotoxic component released during the manufacturing process. Aspartic acid, another brain-damaging amino acid is also present at a level of around 6 percent. Both sources will cause the same adverse reactions in people, and according to experts like Dr. John Olney, both glutamic and aspartic acid will combine to produce a toxic double-whammy.

Might you have a noticeable reaction to a gelatin product? That would depend on your individual sensitivity as well as the amount of manufactured free glutamate you consume in foods along with the gelatin. And your sensitivity is something that can change with age, illness, if you suffer a head injury, or consume a large amount of manufactured free glutamate.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Look at any gelatin-containing product in the store and you won’t see any mention whatsoever of glutamic acid, aspartic acid (or pigskin and tendons being bathed in acid for that matter). But beyond packaging, which fails to disclose important information about the possible toxic effects of gelatin, are the lies circulated by Big Food to convince you to buy their products.

You’ll hear that manufactured free glutamate is “naturally occurring,” has been extensively studied and found to be “safe,” and the biggest whopper of all — that the glutamate in the human body is exactly the same as what you’ll find in foods such as gelatin. The real story is that all manufactured free glutamate contains impurities that are unavoidable by-products of the manufacturing process.

But what about “kosher” or even “vegetarian” gelatin, are those better choices?

A Fishy Proposition

Kosher gelatin can be derived from either fish or cows certified as kosher and killed in a specific manner. Since kosher rules prohibit the combining of meat and dairy, if you notice kosher gelatin in a dairy product, it’s probably fish-derived.

Fish byproducts such as skin, scales and bones contain high amounts of collagen, and the processing will release neurotoxic free glutamate just as with gelatin from cows or pigs. Published research out of Indonesia has found free glutamic acid amounts in fishbone gelatin ranging from a low of over seven percent to a high of over 10 percent, with aspartic acid going from a low of close to five percent to a high of 6.5 percent, depending on the type of fish.

Vegetable Gelatin

As far as veggie gelatin goes, it too has issues.

Produced from processed algae and seaweed (a marine algae), vegetarian gelatins are derived from rich sources of certain amino acids that will also contain significant amounts of free glutamate and aspartic acid after processing.

If gelatin is something you’ve decided to avoid, it pays to read the ingredient labels of all processed foods and supplements thoroughly, as well as pharmaceuticals (including OTC drugs). And while you won’t be able to determine if the gelatin came from pigs, cows, or fish, the name gelatin is required to be listed on the packaging.


The Free Dictionary: (accessed 5/4/21)

Amino acid and proximate composition of fish bone gelatin from different warm-water species: A comparative study. (accessed 5/4/21)

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

It’s not just MSG that’s toxic — watch out for the free glutamate found in over 40 other ingredients

Hydrolyzed proteins, you’ll find them in processed foods, pet food, “nutrition” shake mixes and even baby food.

But if you had any question about the excitotoxic (brain damaging) glutamate and aspartate content in hydrolyzed proteins, a recent research report Characterization of umami compounds in bone meal hydrolysate should set the record straight.

According to the report, “The free amino acids and peptides in the bone meal hydrolysate were analyzed. The results showed that the glutamic acid and the aspartic acid in the bone meal increased by 13.1 times and 14.2 times, respectively, after the Flavourzyme hydrolysis….The findings of this study demonstrated that the MSG‐like taste of the bone meal hydrolysate should be attributed to the generation of MSG‐like amino acids and peptides from the Flavourzyme hydrolysis.”

(Flavourzyme is a brand name for an enzymatic hydrolysis product that is used for protein extraction. This includes feather protein hydrolysis used for pet food, which the company says will allow processors to “turn feathers into profit.”)

The take-away is that the process of hydrolysis will invariably produce toxic glutamate, be it in bone meal, milk, corn or any other item that contains protein – including feathers.


Names of ingredients that contain Manufactured free Glutamate, updated 5/21:

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Just when we thought we knew all the names… here’s an updated list

Just when we thought we knew the names of all the ingredients in which MfG 1 could be hidden, a new collection appeared on the market.

For many years we’ve known that flavor enhancers contain the free glutamate in hydrolysates, autolysates, yeast extracts and enzyme modified ingredients that enhanced taste by triggering glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue. These are ingredients such as soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed pea protein and autolyzed yeast extract.

The so-called “plant based,” protein substitutes like “Just Egg,” “Impossible Meats,” “Beyond Beef” and “Lightlife plant-based burgers” contain glutamic acid and aspartic acid (both excitotoxic 2 – brain damaging — ingredients) which are part of the amino acid stews used for claiming that the products contain protein.

Now, with a rush for “clean labels,” 3 creative new names are being assigned to old ingredients.

Names of ingredients that always contain MfG

Note: Glutamic acid found in unadulterated protein does not cause adverse reactions. To cause adverse reactions, the glutamic acid must have been processed/manufactured, released from protein during processing, or come from protein that has been fermented.

Everyone knows that some people react to the food ingredient monosodium glutamate (MSG). What many don’t know, is that more than 40 different ingredients contain the chemical in monosodium glutamate — Manufactured free Glutamate (MfG) — that causes these reactions. The following list of ingredients that always contain MfG was compiled over the last 30 years from consumer reports and information provided by manufacturers and food technologists.

Glutamic acid (E 620) 4
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Natrium glutamate
anything “Hydrolyzed”
any “Hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
Yeast extract, Torula yeast
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient, Nutritional yeast
Autolyzed yeast, Brewer’s yeast
Textured protein
Whey protein
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Soy protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
anything “Protein”
anything “Protein fortified”
anything “Protein concentrate”
anything “Protein isolate”
Zinc proteninate
anything “Proteninate”
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
anything “Enzyme modified”
anything containing “Enzymes”
anything “Fermented”

A list of the additional ingredients that contain lesser amounts of MfG will be found at:


  1. Manufactured free Glutamate
  2. Brain damaging.
  3. Labels of foods that contain undesirable components but give no clue to their presence.
  4. Numbers used in Europe in place of food additive names.

    If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Has anyone had this experience with anxiety?

“Hangxiety,” (anxiety with a hangover) is a “real condition” according to Australian doc Zac Turner.

Turner says that it’s a sign your body is attempting to “rebalance your brain’s chemicals post drinking.” That feeling of being drunk comes when our brain “begins to shake up its own cocktail of chemicals.”

“Alcohol opens the floodgates of your brain’s neurotransmitters,” says Turner, “such as dopamine and serotonin, which is why you initially feel a rush of euphoria.”

According to Turner, glutamate is another neurotransmitter that causes anxiety. Have you ever noticed a feeling of anxiety after eating processed foods that contain MSG, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed proteins, natural flavoring or any of the other ingredients that contain Manufactured Free Glutamate (MfG)?

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.

Eating MSG isn’t the only way for its toxic ingredient to enter your body

It’s common knowledge that many things can be absorbed through the skin. Transdermal delivery of drugs is routine, even in over-the-counter products (think nicotine stop-smoking patches).

But what you may find surprising is the sheer number of goods, from medical supplies and devices to lotions and shampoos, that contain the toxic ingredient in MSG (the manufactured free glutamic acid we refer to as MfG) — which also can be readily absorbed through your skin. *

If you are savvy and go out of your way to avoid MSG and MfG in food, it makes perfect sense to also avoid using these products on your skin. And just like reactions to MfG taken in food are dose-related, for those who have extreme sensitivities to MfG, it appears that even incredibly small amounts applied topically can cause reactions.

For Truth in Labeling Campaign co-founder Jack Samuels, that was the case. Even a small amount of MfG-containing guar gum used in heart-monitor contacts brought on atrial fibrillation that would last for 3-4 days after the contacts were removed.

This is how Jack described it: “When I left the hospital, I convinced the nurse to give me a sample of the heart monitor contacts that had been glued to my chest. They were Red Dot contacts produced by 3M. I’d asked for the sample because as they removed the contacts from my chest, I observed that the center of each contact that had touched my skin had a small bulb of gelatinous material. I knew that the glue on the contact likely contained some starch, an ingredient that would have small amounts of MSG, but I didn’t think such a small amount would cause such an immediate reaction. After the contacts were removed, I realized there would also have been MSG in the gelatin that had made contact with my skin.

“Back home, I contacted 3M, told them of my situation, and asked for a list of the ingredients used in the Red Dot product. They refused, stating the information was proprietary. I then called a friend who was a major 3M customer, and asked for his help in getting the ingredient list.

It turned out that it was the guar gum in the gelatinous material that was the offending ingredient. The 3M laboratory had found a small amount of free glutamic acid in the guar gum, which, they claimed in a carefully worded e-mail, was so very small that it wouldn’t have caused my reaction. I wish I had $10 for each time I’ve heard someone say that the amount of MSG was so small I couldn’t have reacted to it.” (From “It Wasn’t Alzheimer’s, it Was MSG,” a free download of which is available here.)

While the 3M products that Jack encountered were considered medical devices, the MfG that your skin is more likely to come into contact with will be natural-sounding skin and hair products sold just about everywhere. Many will have glutamate, glutamic acid, or amino acids in the ingredient listings, or ingredients that are hydrolyzed. (Any hydrolyzed ingredient will always contain MfG.)

Disodium cocoyl glutamate is a cleansing agent and surfactant derived from glutamic acid. We found it in Burt’s Bees, Alba Botanical and Weleda products.

One company named Fenchem launched a line of amino-acid-based surfactants a few years back with ingredients derived from L-glutamic acid given names such as SLG-95 (sodium lauroyl glutamate) and LGA-95 (lauroyl glutamic acid). Selling directly to cosmetic manufacturers, the company claimed its products would “overcome” the “fears” many consumers have over “personal health” and help to replace petrochemical-based ingredients.

And if you think some regulatory agency is watching over what we shower with, shave with and put on our heads, think again. The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients other than color additives to have FDA approval before they go on the market.

Interestingly, while no FDA approval is required to sell personal care products, 11 ingredients have been banned (or in some cases, restricted) by the FDA. Mercury compounds are one. While that may sound as if the FDA is paying attention, compare that to the EU, which has banned 1,328 chemicals from being used in cosmetics, requires pre-market safety evaluations and mandatory registration.

And when the FDA talks about “safety data” on cosmetic ingredients, you will always find mention of Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an industry-funded panel of experts who “review the safety of cosmetic ingredients.”

The CIR 2013 “Safety Assessment of alpha-amino acids as used in cosmetics” concluded that “glutamic acid is safe in the present practices of use and concentration in cosmetics.” That determination was based, in part, on the fact that the amino acids reviewed by the CIR are “found in foods, and the daily exposure from food use would result in a much larger systemic dose than that resulting from use in cosmetic products….Consequently, the systemic toxicity potential is not addressed (emphasis added) further in this report. The safety focus of use of these amino acids as cosmetic ingredients is on the potential for irritation and sensitization.”

The bottom line is that shopping for soaps, lotions and shampoo can be just as tricky as food shopping, especially when it comes to avoiding MfG. Fortunately, there still are plenty of truly natural products to choose from, along with real food and herbal ingredients that will allow you to bypass these chemical concoctions altogether.

*Food ingredients that contain manufactured free glutamate (MfG)

If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. If you have hints for others on how to avoid exposure to MfG, send them along, too, and we’ll put them up on Facebook. Or you can reach us at and follow us on Twitter @truthlabeling.