MSG for kids to be limited

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have just reviewed the presently unlimited use of MSG and other glutamates – in flavour enhancers 620-625 - and have recommended that limits be set, particularly for children and adolescents and the foods they are likely to eat.

They estimated that current glutamate exposure largely exceeds, in these population groups, the proposed ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) at levels associated with some adverse effects in humans.

“After doing the MSG challenge, I developed strong brain fogging within about an hour” - Neil

Taking glutamates seriously, finally?

The Food Intolerance Network has lobbied for over 20 years for glutamates to be taken seriously like this. Currently glutamates can be added “in line with good manufacturing practices”, whatever that might be. Only six forms of glutamate are subject to even this cursory restriction.

EFSA of course put a positive spin on their finding. “Based on the available evidence, we are confident that the newly derived group ADI for glutamic acid and glutamates is protective of consumers’ health, as it is below the doses that have been associated with certain effects in humans, such as headache, raised blood pressure and increased insulin levels.”

However their studies barely considered the effects of glutamates on obesity, on the many symptoms of food intolerance, and said nothing about the severe effects of glutamate boosters (627-635) now in wide use.

Symptoms reported by more than 100 people on petition about MSG

Given that EFSA’s conclusions were based on evidence freely available for many years, one could ask why there has not previously been a numerical safe intake level (ADI) specified for glutamic acid and glutamates in the EU or Australia?

“I kept becoming hugely bloated with griping abdominal pains” – reader, Victoria

Other sources of glutamates in foods

While EFSA’s experts considered other dietary sources of glutamate besides food additives (including natural presence and addition as nutrient), they are not recommending regulating these sources, leaving food manufacturers free to add glutamates in another 129 ways to fool regulators and consumers.

And proposals are already being made right now to allow glutamates to be boosted inside foods using enzymes that are then not shown on the label because they are hidden as “processing aids”. Please jump in and sign a petition just launched to stop a new way of hiding MSG in foods.


“My 8 yo granddaughter was getting headaches three times a week or more. Sometimes they were so bad she had to take time off school and lie down” - Terry

What do we want?

We want the free glutamate level to be shown on labels to stop the shameless gaming of the regulatory system by some of the food industry.

“Within 8 to 12 hours of having MSG our daughter went from no pain to all the symptoms of arthritis, swollen joints, very sore, trouble walking, and lots of pain” - Sandra

“We went out to a Chinese Restaurant…about an hour after I went to bed it began, I think you'd call it tachycardia, a fast (100) and very irregular heartbeat. I got up, sat up for another 2 hours. Blood pressure had risen incredibly, and over the 2 hours settled down but the feeling of panic stayed” - Joy

Read more

EFSA media release: 

EFSA scientific study: Re-evaluation of glutamic acid (E 620), sodium glutamate (E 621), potassium glutamate (E 622), calcium glutamate (E 623), ammonium glutamate (E 624) and magnesium glutamate (E 625) as food additives (July 2017)

In Australia, the food regulator FSANZ is now “reviewing the opinion to determine whether any changes are required to the Food Standards Code”. Food Intolerance Network prediction of the review outcome? “Australian scientists know more than European scientists and change is hard so, as for artificial colours, no changes will be made.”

“MSG has taken over German cuisine in the past 20 years … I’ve virtually stopped going to traditional German restaurants because I’m afraid I’ll wind up like I did after a goose n gravy extravaganza in Leipzig one night, sweating and with my heart racing and unable to sleep.” - American rock-and-roll historian and blogger Ed Ward

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