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How the “MSG is safe” game is played

How can a product as toxic as MSG be dressed up and sold to the public as food?

The answer lies first in the fact that over 50 years ago, before it ever occurred to anyone that MSG had toxic potential, most of the MSG in the food supply was limited to the one ingredient called “monosodium glutamate”; that at the time that monosodium was grandfathered onto the GRAS (generally regarded as safe list), monosodium glutamate was made by extracting glutamate from seaweed or some other available source of protein; and that with a limited amount of MSG being used, and with monosodium glutamate being made by extraction, when introduced to the American market, MSG wasn’t seen as causing a problem.

But when it later became obvious to even a few that monosodium glutamate (and other ingredients that contained its toxic component) caused brain lesions and endocrine disorders; and it might have became obvious to Ajinomoto Co., Inc., the world’s largest producer of monosodium glutamate, that if recognized as toxic, they might not be able to sell their product; Ajinomoto, with the backing of others who manufactured and used MSG, set up an organization and recruited scientists to protect their products from criticism.  Since they could not prove that their toxic product was non-toxic, their essential strategy was to claim that the safety of monosodium glutamate (their primary focus at the time) was controversial.  In the following pages, we share much of what we know of their strategies.

Production of research with predetermined outcomes

Glutamate Industry Research – an overview

Industry studies: a Table – specifics

Example of badly flawed research: Tarasoff and Kelly

How the game is played: an example

                                                                                                                                

Suppression of information

Suppression of information

Example: IFIC’s plan to kill the “60 minutes” program

 

The production of misinformation 

Wordsmithing

 

Dissemination of misinformation 

Dissemination of misinformation

The special case of Umami

 

Dirty tricks

Dirty tricks

 

Hiding MSG

Hiding MSG