” Sweet April Showers Do Bring May Flowers“
So many have asked about Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), that I thought I would tell you this month exactly what I think it is, and why we should not use it.
From “Consumer Beware,” authored by Beatrice Trum Hunter, we learn that MSG has had a long history of use in food preparation and serving in the Orient. Extracted from seaweed or soybean, it was used to impart a meaty flavor to dishes in which meat, scarce or costly, was used sparingly.
“The composition of the MSG now added to more than 10,000 different processed food items in America differs from the Oriental product. It is manufactured from wheat or corn gluten or from sugar-beet byproducts. At present, more than 40 million pounds of MSG are sold annually to add to American foodstuffs. When first introduced, it was put in canned soups. By now, it is virtually impossible to avoid MSG in processed foods. MSG is found commonly in heat-and-serve convenience foods, meats, stews, and meat tenderizers; canned and frozen vegetables; seafoods, fish fillets, clam chowder, codfish cakes, and canned tuna; poultry and chicken á la King; almost all canned soups and soup mixes, seasonings, mayonnaise, French dressing, salad dressing, imitation maple syrup, potato chips, crackers and tobacco.
“Nutritionist Dr. Jean Mayer claimed that MSG was added to baby foods ‘to disguise the fact that there was less meat and more starch’ in those products than formerly. He added, ‘The MSG was a risk added to a disadvantage.’ MSG was also added to some vegetable and meat mixtures of commercially processed baby foods to make them more palatable to mothers who sampled them. Experimental evidence raised doubts about the safety of this additive in baby foods, and pending further study, in October 1969 some processors voluntarily stopped adding it to their baby-food products.
“Federal legislation specifically prohibits the addition of any material to food which causes ‘damage or inferiority’ to be concealed in any manner or which can make a food appear better or of greater value than it is. This prohibition is precise and without qualifications. Nonetheless, FDA permits wide latitude in the use of MSG, a substance which helps disguise inferior food quality.
“MSG has been glamorized for the general public as a ‘flavor enhancer’ which brings out the natural flavor of food. Three of MSG’s components—namely wheat, corn and sugar beet byproducts—are common allergens. For those who need to limit or eliminate these substances from their diets, the widespread use of MSG makes this extremely difficult. EVEN A CAREFUL READING OF LABELS WILL NOT HELP. For instance, although the addition of MSG must appear in the ingredients of all canned vegetables, THIS SUBTANCE MAY BE ADDED TO MAYONNAISE, FRENCH DRESSING, AND SALAD DRESSING WITHOUT LABEL DECLARATION.
“Since MSG’s use is sanctioned by federal regulation, it might be assumed that the safety of this material is well established. This is NOT the case. As early as 1955, Consumers’ Research Bulletin printed a report of a physician, who had traced a serious allergy affecting a woman and her son to MSG. Within a half-hour after eating meals of excellent food prepared at home, as well as meals eaten at fine restaurants, they developed acute distress resembling gall-bladder trouble. Their symptoms included epigastric fullness, belching, distention and marked upper-abdominal discomfort. The reactions were traced to MSG.”
We will continue with this study next month. Until then, God be with you, and remember to READ YOUR LABELS!
Recipe – CASHEW BALLS
2 cups raw Cashews
4 tablespoons Fruit Source Syrup (or any sweetening you prefer)
Chop nuts in a chopper, not in a blender. Add syrup and mix well. Using a teaspoon as measurement, roll into balls and refrigerate. Makes about 24 balls.