Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Additive of the Week - MSG and Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Our additives of the week - Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) are found in the following foods served by our school -- and as USDA commodities, by many schools.

Chicken Nuggets (HVP)

Gravy (HVP, MSG)

Ground Turkey (yeast extract - another name for MSG)

Beef Sliders (textured soy protein -also like MSG)

Meatballs (textured soy protein -also like MSG)

Mozzarella Sticks (calcium caseinate - also like MSG)

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

HVP consists of vegetable (usually soybean) protein that has been chemically broken down to the amino acids of which it is composed. HVP is used to bring out the natural flavor of food (and, perhaps, to enable companies to use less real food). It contains MSG and may cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals. . . . (MSG) brings out the flavor in many foods. While that may sound like a treat for taste buds, the use of MSG allows companies to reduce the amount of real ingredients in their foods, such as chicken in chicken soup. In the 1960s, it was discovered 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 (it was used to make the foods taste better to parents). Careful studies have shown that some people are sensitive to large amounts of MSG. Reactions include headache, nausea, weakness, and burning sensation in the back of neck and
forearms. Some people complain of wheezing, changes in heart rate, and difficulty
breathing. Some people claim to be sensitive to very small amounts of MSG, but no good studies have been done to determine just how little MSG can cause a reaction in the most-sensitive people. To protect the public's health, manufacturers and restaurateurs should use less or no MSG and the amounts of MSG should be listed on labels of foods that contain significant amounts. People who believe they are sensitive to MSG should be aware that other ingredients, such as natural flavoring and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, also contain glutamate. Also, foods such as Parmesan cheese and tomatoes contain glutamate that occurs naturally, but no reactions have been reported to those foods.
I'm surprised by the prevalence of MSG in our lunch. These are major entrees, and we could easily be feeding our kids MSG four times a week. Enough already.


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