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Monday, May 3, 2010

MSG in Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Chik Patties, Sausage Patties, etc...

This posting deserves a yucky face...


My 10 year old daughter recently had severe migraines. MSG can cause migraines, among other bad things.

The following ingredients ALWAYS contain MSG:
Hydrolyzed protein,
Sodium caseinate
Yeast extract, Maltodextrin
Autolyzed yeast
Textured protein
Calcium caseinate
Yeast food
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Spice Extractives

These two OFTEN contain MSG:
Natural flavorings
Food seasonings

If MSG is contained in an ingredient that is listed on a food label, it doesn't have to be labeled by itself.

My daughter is vegetarian like me and she likes eating products like Chik Patties and Sausage Patties from Morningstar Farms. I contacted Morningstar Farms to ask about MSG in their products... such as the Chik Patties and Sausage Patties... here is their response. Notice how they say "small amounts". That is interesting because you always need only a small amount of MSG, a sprinkle, and that is still enough to be unhealthy. My 10 year old daughter recently suffered a horrible migraine, and there is some evidence that linked it to MSG.

UPDATE APRIL 4, 2013:
 I wrote the blog post in 2010 and I checked Lightlife's website now and it shows that the TEMPEH is organic, but not the other items are not, and the other items include MSG,  in the form of "Yeast Extract".  To be safe, I stick with their ORGANIC TEMPEH (no msg)! 
I added this as an updated edit... it's too bad some companies devolve... Morningstar Farms now uses GMO Soy! (Genetically Modified Soy)
My best advice is to avoid most processed soy products unless they are labeled organic, gmo-free and you have checked the label for the MSG sneaky names!

Morningstar Farms® Consumer Affairs 020901656A ...
From: "kellogg@casupport.com" ... Add to Contacts To: lonicaeisenbraun@yahoo.com

KELLOGG'S

Hello Lonica,

Thank-you for contacting us concerning the monosodium glutamate (MSG) used in some of our products. Our nutritionists and food scientists work very hard to develop products that are acceptable for our consumers. Small amounts of MSG are used in the product to achieve the desired taste and texture. We would never use an ingredient that is unsafe for our consumers. The Food and Drug Administration, the National Academy of Science, and the American Medical Association all have affirmed the safety of MSG. Even so we understand there is a limited population who have shown a sensitivity to it. Glutamate occurs naturally in protein-containing foods such as cheese, milk, mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. Glutamate is also produced by the human body and is vital for metabolism and brain function. We are sorry to learn that this ingredient has caused concern for you. We will share your comments with our food development teams. We do have many other products that do not contain MSG that you might enjoy. Thanks, again, for your inquiry. We hope you will find this information helpful.

Best of health,
Mark A. Suriano Consumer Specialist Consumer Affairs

TLXMAS01/cl 020901656A

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for contacting them. I appreciate their response too. I have been trying to eliminate MSG products from my diet and was unhappy when I saw that Morningstar does use MSG. Even though a minimum amount it will all add up or have its toll. I will now be removing them from my regular line up of meal options. Good bye Spicy Black Bean Burger. You will be missed. Time to create my own patties with better ingredients.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure thae 'spice extract' always contains msg? How?

Anonymous said...

All the legitimate clinical studies on MSG prove it's perfectly safe just like any other ingredient as long as it is in moderation.

The issue with it is the glutamate drives you to eat as it stores up in your body. The body wants to chain more amino acids to the glutamate to produce protein.

I'll wager you are ignorant on the molecular structure of MSG based on this article. Sodium and Glutamate are very important for the biochemistry of all mammals, particularly those with higher brain function such as Homosapiens.

mono sodium glutamate is perfectly safe in moderation but, it can drive us to overeating.

Rob said...

Yeah I'm not sure you are correct about spice extractives containing MSG. Also, as I understand it, yeast food is not MSG either, but rather food that makes yeast grow better.
The explanation they gave that glutamate is natural is wrong. Glutamate can be one of two shapes: L or D. Every natural animal glutamate is L. Glutamate created by labs to create MSG contains 50% of its glutamate as D. If you look on pubmed, you'll see that D-glu crowds out seratonin, which is a neurotransmitter. So D-glu, which is 50% of chemically created MSG (including autolyzing yeast), is a neurotoxin.

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Lisa S said...

I am fairly sensitive to all free glutamic acid (MSG, yeast extract, etc). I had a horrible reaction to a few bites of spice extractives in a hot dog. On the other hand, I've never had any problem with non-savory foods with extracts (fruit, nut, etc). So we avoid those in savory foods but not sweet foods. However, yeast nutrient and yeast food have always been problems for us. The way I determine if a food is safe is that if it says "active yeast" it's fine, otherwise yeast can be listed once for bread or pizza, but never for crackers, chips, and other foods that are risen with baking powder/soda. One more note: anything that says "protein" on a label will have MSG, except ultrafiltered protein powder without any isolate, and also in our top sources are maltodextrin and carrageenan -- though not added for flavor, they have significant amounts from processing. (I write about our experiences here: stroyan.net/lisasblog/category/nutrition/excitotoxins/)


Loni said...

It is very widely known that MSG is allowed to be referred to as many different names... simply google it for scientific articles, or check wikipedia... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate

Anonymous said...

I am very sensitive to MSG and all the hidden forms as it causes me to have seizures. I have to avoid anything that says extracts or extractives or spices unless it spells out what the extract or spice is, ie. vanilla extract or spices (oregano, basil, etc.) Otherwise, these are codes for MSG. Additionally, natural flavors could be problematic except I've had no trouble with natural flavors in seltzer water. As another person posted it seems more in savory products that natural flavors is an issue. Hydrolyzed, isolated and concentrated protein is very dangerous for me. This totally rules out any frozen or processed foods, which isn't necessarily bad, but limits what vegetarian options are available. While glutamate is naturally occurring in foods and the body creates glutamic acid (neurotransmitter), these chemical/altered forms of glutamate are what cause physical reactions.

John Cerna said...

Hello fellow MSG sufferers,
Here is an email I just send to Beanfield Farms, maker of Brown Rice and Bean chips.
"Hi,
Im visiting Sedona and bought your black bean chips. While they are delicious, and I ate almost the entire bag for lunch, I had the same allergic reaction I normally do to MSG, which is I wake up EXACTLY five hours after I've drifted asleep, and then cannot get back to sleep for at least 90 minutes.
Baffled by my typical MSG reaction (for I am hypervigilant when it comes to MSG), I did some extensive research online, and found that high concentrations of bean paste, when mixed with salt, produce a natural occurence of high levels of glutamic acid, and for those of us (such as myself) who are incredibly sensitive to MSG, this is not a good thing.
So the good news is I made an important discovery about high levels of bean paste mixed with salt being not good for me. The bad news is I lost a lot of sleep last night. Perhaps you could amend the verbiage on your packaging at some point to warn those of us who need to watch out for high levels of glutamic acid? Just a thought. But I must say, they really are delicious! I'm tempted to say it was worth the lack of sleep!"
All best,
John Cerna

Chelsey Bohemier said...

LOL Those companies are full of crap. I recently became a vegetarian and have bought some products. I looked only for monosodium glutamate but discovered that MSG goes by many other names. I am shocked to find that boca burgers, morningstar, and quorn use "small amounts" of msg in their products. You have to be so careful. No amount of MSG is safe for consumption. The sooner the USDA and FDA realize this the more people they will save from its negative health implications.

Anonymous said...

I have had a massive headache the last two days, and each morning i at morning star breaks fast patties (vegetarian - but sausage flavor). I thought having the patties two mornings in a row might have caused the headaches. I was right. Tons of info online, including this article. I have a splitting headache and am really disappointed that a company in the "healthy alternative business" feels they have to cheat by adding MSG so it tastes better instead of spending a little bit more money on healthier ingredients. I will not buy anything from this company unless they become responsible to their consumers. My headache went on almost 24 hours yesterday and I can expect the same, so by the time I wake up in the morning on Monday, I should be headache free. Nice way to spend a Saturday and Sunday. Thanks a lot, Morning Star.

Anonymous said...

I have had a massive headache the last two days, and each morning i at morning star breaks fast patties (vegetarian - but sausage flavor). I thought having the patties two mornings in a row might have caused the headaches. I was right. Tons of info online, including this article. I have a splitting headache and am really disappointed that a company in the "healthy alternative business" feels they have to cheat by adding MSG so it tastes better instead of spending a little bit more money on healthier ingredients. I will not buy anything from this company unless they become responsible to their consumers. My headache went on almost 24 hours yesterday and I can expect the same, so by the time I wake up in the morning on Monday, I should be headache free. Nice way to spend a Saturday and Sunday. Thanks a lot, Morning Star.

Dennis James said...

I have been suffering from headaches for a few days and yesterday I had a headache so bad for a few minutes it almost took me to my knees. The doctor could not figure it out since my blood pressure was okay. Today I am still in bed. For the past couple weeks I have been eating Morning Star breakfast sausage patties.