Fake foods: how to quickly spot them

In our past three blogs we’ve told you about fake fish, meat and eggs, all disguised to look like the real thing. Despite all the extravagant claims made by manufacturers, if you read the ingredient labels on these products you’ll find that they are not eggs, meat or fish, and not the kinds of “plants” grown by farmers either. As we’ve said before, a better name might be chemical-based junk foods.

Reading labels is vital, but there’s one tip that can save you some time in the supermarket:

Watch out for products that make protein claims on the packaging. Most are made from combinations of manufactured free amino acids such as those found in MSG and in aspartame. This includes snack bars, cookies, smoothie mixes, protein powders and protein drinks in addition to fake eggs, fish, and meat.

All, “substitute” protein products will contain MSG or its toxic MfG.

Remember also that soy, pea and bean protein do not taste remotely like meat, fish or eggs, so MfG-containing flavor enhancers like MSG are added to trick your tongue into making that taste association.

Check out our list of ingredient names that contain MfG as well as our brochure to take shopping with you. Better yet, if you want to do all you can to have a healthy diet, ditch the processed foods and ultra-processed fake foods, altogether.

The Big Kahuna of mock meat

While meatless burgers and nuggets have been around for some time, it wasn’t until Impossible Foods came along with the additive-filled concoction it calls a “burger” that the market for consuming bogus beef took off.

While Impossible claims it’s busy saving the Earth from devastation, it doesn’t have much to say on its main component, soy-protein concentrate, an MfG filled excitotoxic ingredient. And that’s not the only one. You’ll also find natural flavors, potato protein, yeast extract and soy-protein isolate in their “burgers.”

Aside from the known brain-damaging nature of these ingredients, there’s also a GMO ingredient called soy leghemoglobin, or heme, added as a color additive to make the burger appear to “bleed” like real meat. That’s now the subject of a lawsuit filed by The Center for Food Safety (CFS) challenging the FDA’s approval of the ingredient.

This genetically modified soy (a newcomer to the human diet), was OK’d by the FDA without “extensive safety testing before approving its use,” CFS states.

The heme is produced by a chemically complex process in which the DNA from genetically modified soy is extracted, inserted into genetically engineered yeast and fermented to produce genetically engineered heme.

The FDA has no comment as to the regulatory compliance of these fake foods other than saying (in a 2018 press release) that it’s on a “fast track” in reviewing “substitute” food products. The last we were told by the FDA is that staffers there are busy reading over 13,000 comments on this issue and that they take “labeling concerns seriously.” But apparently not all that seriously, as more and more foods that aren’t really foods are being manufactured and misleadingly labeled all the time.

Ersatz eggs?!

Plant-based “eggs,” an unknown commodity just a short time ago that is now out-selling the real deal at ten times the rate.

The leader in the artificial egg game is JUST, Inc., makers of JUST Egg, which contains nothing that any reasonable person would consider having come from a bird of any kind. JUST, however, has no shame about splashing the word EGG all over its product and website. The company (known as Hampton Creek when it introduced its first fake product, mock mayo) is apparently taking advantage of an odd FDA loophole in the “standard of identity” (SOI) for what can be called an egg. While the FDA requires that there be a legally binding SOI for hundreds of items from peanut butter to pasta (consisting of a detailed description of that food), you won’t find eggs among them. And, to make things even crazier, the FDA is prohibited from creating an SOI for eggs.

So, a product concocted of mung bean protein isolate (containing MSG’s toxic component MfG), canola oil, tetrasodium pyrophosphate (a thickening agent or coagulant) and transglutaminase (a.k.a. “meat glue”), among other highly processed ingredients, came to be called “egg,” outselling highly nutritional real eggs.

Fake tuna?!

The ever-expanding market for imitation food has reeled in a host of phony fish dishes, the latest coming from “Good Catch,” with its “fish-free TUNA.”

This product contains more brain damaging MfG ingredients than any other product we’ve previously looked at, including pea protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, faba protein, lentil protein, soy protein isolate, citric acid and yeast extract.

Why the company has not been challenged by the FDA for false and misleading labeling isn’t clear, since the FDA has a long list of what can legally be called tuna, which is limited to actual varieties of real fish. Nestle, which also makes a faux fish product at least calls it “Vuna,” a product that “tastes like tuna.”

That little detail hasn’t stopped “Good Catch” from netting millions of dollars in investment capital, including close to $30 million in its latest round of funding.

Umami: the PR campaign continues

Like a creeping fungus the PR firm Edelman Communications is covering the media landscape with as much propaganda as inhumanly possible related to all things MSG.

This gigantic public relations agency, with offices all over the globe, has several missions where its prize client Ajinomoto (one of the world’s largest producers of MSG) is concerned.

Its bedrock campaign, however, is over the term “umami.”

Once again, umami has popped up as a “food trend,” for 2022, something Edelman has been peddling for years now.

A Japanese word loosely translated to mean a “pleasant” taste, Edelman’s efforts to rebrand MSG as umami has been gaining momentum for some time. But don’t just take our word about it. Ajinomoto, at its global website says in the first line of copy on its umami “fact” page: “Umami, which is also known as monosodium glutamate…”

The “facts” go on to say that “umami spreads across the tongue,” and “provides a mouthwatering sensation.” It also hypes the concept of the newly discovered “fifth taste,” which in case you didn’t guess is, of course, umami.

There are some basic flaws to those claims, clearly explained by Truth in Labeling co-founder Adrienne Samuels in a blog last year titled: “Umami: The con of the decade?”

She wrote:

“It’s common knowledge that there are glutamate receptors in the mouth and on the tongue. Could researchers be hired to produce studies demonstrating that glutamate containing food can stimulate those glutamate receptors, and then declare to the world that a fifth taste has been discovered — calling it umami? I wondered.

Never mind that for years monosodium glutamate was described as a tasteless white crystalline powder. Never mind that Julia Child, who in her later years was recruited to praise the use of monosodium glutamate, never once mentioned the additive in her cookbooks. Never mind that if there was taste associated with monosodium glutamate, people who are sensitive to MSG would be highly motivated to identify that taste and thereby avoid ingesting MSG – which they claim they cannot do.”

 As Adrienne said: “I don’t know whose brainchild it was, but it certainly was a brilliant move on the road to marketing monosodium glutamate – a move precipitated by a growing public recognition that monosodium glutamate causes serious adverse reactions. And even one step farther up the brilliance chart, this monosodium-glutamate-taste-of-its-own was given a name. Naming things makes them easy to talk about and gives them respectability.”

And that’s spot on.

The hoax behind the ‘clean label’ on the Impossible Burger

Part of our on-going series telling the truth about protein substitutes

There aren’t many places you can find excitotoxic (brain-damaging) amino acids in greater quantity, packaged so nicely, and promoted with such vigor. And this fake meat product sports what industry calls a “clean label,” meaning you won’t find any monosodium glutamate listed.

What you will find in the Impossible Burger, however, are five main ingredients — what Impossible Foods calls the “details,” and a total of 5 ingredients with excitotoxic – brain damaging — amino acids.

They are:

  • Water
  • soy-protein concentrate
  • coconut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • natural flavors

Impossible “meat” also contains 2% or less of:

  • Methylcellulose
  • Yeast extract
  • Cultured dextrose
  • Food starch, modified
  • Soy leghemoglobin
  • Salt
  • Soy-protein isolate
  • Mixed tocopherols
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)
  • Sodium ascorbate (vitamin C)
  • Niacin
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Vitamin B12