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Monosodium Glutamate
Cautionary Ingredient - This ingredient appears to be problematic.
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What it is:
Amino Acid; Flavor enhancer: Soup, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, restaurant foods, and meats.
What we know:
Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the non-essential amino glutamic acid. It is used primarily as a flavor enhancer by food processors. MSG as a food ingredient has been the subject of some health concerns. According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy organization, it was discovered in the 1960s, that large amounts of MSG fed to infant mice destroyed nerve cells in the brain. After that research was publicized, public pressure forced baby-food companies to stop adding MSG to their products.

A report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) compiled in 1995 on behalf of the FDA concluded that some people have an MSG intolerance, also known as MSG symptom complex, with reactions that include headaches, nausea, weakness, and burning sensation in the back of neck and forearms. Some people complain of wheezing, changes in heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Other sources of glutamate, include hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed yeast extract.

The FDA permits the use of MSG in many food products although with restrictions on usage levels (FDA regulations 21CFR155, 21CFR161.190, 21CFR169.115, etc.). MSG is recognized as a safe substance by the FDA when used in accordance with current good manufacturing practices (FDA regulation 21CFR182.1). The World Health Organization specifies an acceptable daily intake value of 0-5454 milligrams per 100 pounds of body weight.

Other Names:
L-alpha-aminoglutaric acid; L-2-amino-pentanedioic acid; Glutamic Acid; L-Glutamic acid; L-(+)-glutamic acid; MSG; Monosodium Glutamate; Sodium Glutamate; Sodium Hydrogen L-Glutamate; Accent; Glutacyl; Glutamic acid monosodium salt; Sodium L-Glutamate; Monoammonium Glutamate; MPG; Potassium Glutamate; Ammonium Glutamate
Information Provided By:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
J. Smith, L. Hong-Shum, Food additives data book (Blackwell Science, Oxford, 2003), pp. xvii, 1016
M. Ash, I. Ash, Handbook of food additives (Synapse Information Resources, Endicott, NY, ed. 2nd, 2002), pp. xiii, 1079