Monday, September 12, 2011

The MSG conundrum part 4

Introduction to America

The U.S. Military started adding MSG to its rations after WWII when it realized the Japanese rations tasted better. When food is processed you will lose some flavor; precooking, freezing and canning are not exactly flavor enhancers. That's where MSG comes in; it increases flavor and palatability in foods.

From there, MSG made its way into American homes in 1947 in the form of an all purpose seasoning called Accent. From that point on, America saw the processed food industry boom and MSG was put into everything from baby food to many of the processed foods.

Once this MSG scare took hold of the American public, it created enough of a fear to prompt food companies to remove MSG from many of their processed food items and even advertise "No MSG" on the packaging. What many unsuspecting consumers don't know is that companies are still putting MSG in their processed foods but under different names. Names such as: hydrolyzed protein, malted barley, autolyzed yeast, glutacyl, glutamic acid, sodium caseinate, natural smoke flavor, natural flavors-and there are many more. Those items are not MSG specifically, but they are still synthetically produced glutamates so it is basically the same thing.

One thing that puzzles me is this: If MSG was introduced in the late '40's and this fear of MSG didn't start until the late '60's, why wasn't there any MSG scare or CRS for the almost two decades in between? Were we distracted? By what, the invention of television?

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