First off, here’s Megan Nix, writing about her own personal history with MSG. This is from an opinion piece titled “Food Fight — what you don’t know about processed foods can make you sick” in the Denver Post.com:
“I’ve always loved the grocery store: rainbows of fruits, deli men who never deny the potato salad sample. But lately I’ve been disappointed. The reason is a sneaky substance called MSG, which hides not just in Chinese food, but also under multiple pseudonyms on both generic and organic shelves.
If you look right now, I can almost guarantee you’ll find some form of it in your pantry.
The root of my distaste for MSG goes deeper than physical health; I believe we’re supposed to understand what we read.
About a year ago, I stopped having the ability to digest. I cut milk out of my diet, then gluten, wheat and sugar, alternately. Still, the post-lunch pain would settle every late afternoon. I had allergy tests done, CAT scans. The doctors smiled and said, “Everything looks good.” I felt like a faker, even though the stomach aches were so bad you could hear them.
The stoic non-diagnoses eventually sent me to a food-related doctor at The Care Group. There, Dr. Gerard Guillory soon offered a diagnosis: “You’re MSG-intolerant.”
“Poison” is what he called it, after relaying testimonies of patients who’d “gotten off the stuff” and changed their lives. As though MSG is a drug.
It very well may be.
MSG, monosodium glutamate, is in most cheese powders, broths, dressings, and processed foods made with “natural flavoring.” That means it can be in the foods you eat for breakfast (cereal), lunch (deli meats), and dinner (flavored rice). It’s a neurotransmitter — meaning it sends messages to the brain that trick your tongue into believing you’re eating something high in protein, when you’re not. It’s a cheap soup’s best friend. MSG tastes like salty meat and counteracts the metallic-tasting residue left behind by some foods’ overnight sojourns in cans and freezers.
It’s been linked to autism, obesity and chronic stomach pain.
MSG is hard to avoid because it’s in practically everything, but also because its pseudonyms allow its proclivity to go largely unnoticed. MSG only has to be labeled as such if it’s 100 percent MSG. Soy lethicin, hydrolyzed soy, whey, or vegetable proteins, carageenan, furikake, and autolyzed yeast are all up to 50 percent MSG. Add a few of those tough-to-read names up and you’re at 100 percent, easily.
I confessed to Dr. Guillory I probably eat a diet rich in MSG, but he didn’t blame me. “They need to take the damn stuff off the market,” he said, with more conviction than you usually hear in a doctor’s office. “It’s ruining people’s lives.”
Mass manufacturers (shamefully silent in the new film, “Food, Inc.”) would say MSG is a superhero of tastemakers: savory, delicious, invisible.
People like me and worse — those who suffer racing heart rates, states of confusion, and migraines from their food — would call MSG an arch-nemesis.
The laundry list of MSG literature and studies is long, but quiet: Scientists at the University of Madrid found a 40 percent increase in appetite in mice given MSG. A New York Times neuroscience article from February 2008 explains how imbalanced glutamate in the brain can lead to brain damage and schizophrenia.
The International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and the book “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills” by Russel Blaylock point out that MSG partially blocks the same receptor that’s fully blocked in cases of autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases.
I found MSG’s exacerbation of asthma, IBS, and seizures corroborated by Dr. Jack Samuels of the Truth in Labeling Campaign and a long-forgotten episode of “60 Minutes” from 1992. MSG opponents also attest that aspartame, found in diet sodas and sugar-free gum, does the same destructive things, and still naysayers will claim it’s a hoax or we’d all be sick.
So what about those who aren’t sensitive to either aspartame or MSG? And why had I never felt the effects of MSG until now?
“Sensitivity can develop overtime,” Guillory explained, “and I think a lot of people are sensitive to it and may not realize it. They might not have full-blown migraine headaches, just an inability to concentrate or fatigue. When they get off of it, they do a 180.”
My first month MSG-free was extremely hard. Plan A was to be miserable about food for the rest of my life. I am an eater, by profession and by choice. Put the creamy soup with ham cubes in front of me and I’ll find the bottom. But soon I noticed that unprocessed food sent me to bed pain-free, and then realized I had been going to bed with a stomachache every night for a few years.
I found farm-to-table restaurants (there are plenty in Denver). I bought unseasoned meat and beans in bulk, from places like Sunflower Market. I made potato- crusted salmon with rosemary focaccia, and switched to natural peanut butter. I cheated and ate three curly fries from Arby’s one weekend and about died in my boyfriend’s aunt’s bathroom. But, I realized, fast-food aside, that because MSG isn’t on the food pyramid, I could eat the same things as everyone else, just a little more raw, a little more real.
The downsides are time and expense. After Guillory suggested I stay away from “boxes and bags” and eat foods with five or fewer ingredients, shopping takes forever. Idling my cart in the aisles as I scrutinize makes me feel a little snooty, but it’s necessary. I try to avoid the pastoral calls of pretty packaging, but my inclination is still to shop among the boxes. Eating well, like most important things, does not happen with ease.
Long-term, if we continue to eat badly, we will continue to accrue astronomical health care and environmental costs, and I believe that the nation could save itself many miseries if we all knew what went in our mouths.
As Dr. Guillory puts it, “If we ate local and organic, we wouldn’t have to worry about things like MSG. We need to get back to eating food, the whole food, and nothing but the food.” ….”
NOW, THEY ARE SPRAYING CROPS WITH MSG
A product containing a substantial amount of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) has been approved for use as a “growth enhancer” spray for use on agricultural products. Approximately 30 per cent of the product is MSG. The action is summarized in the press release that follows.
MSG is known to trigger migraine headache, tachycardia, arrhythmia, seizures, asthma, nausea and vomiting, hives, skin rash, anxiety attacks, depression and much, much more in people who have become sensitive to it. It causes gross obesity and learning disorders in laboratory animals that ingest it when young. You can read about what it is, what it does, and where it’s hidden in food on our Web site: http://www.truthinlabeling.org. But now that spraying MSG ON agricultural products as they grow has been approved, ANY fresh food may have some residual MSG on it, and processed food made from fresh fruit or vegetables may have MSG in it, too. Baby food, largely free of MSG since the late 1970’s, will now have MSG in it. Processed food will now have more MSG in it than it did before. And there may be MSG residue on every tomato, cucumber, strawberry, leaf of lettuce, or peanut that you eat, as well as on every other fresh fruit, grain or vegetable.
We think you should be concerned. This is a new EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) approval, effective February 6, 1998. We are asking that the approval be rescinded. Being told by the EPA that it is OUR responsibility to demonstrate that residue from spraying MSG on produce while it’s growing is a potential health hazard, and interpreting that to mean that the EPA will not look into the matter without extreme pressure, we have provided them more than sufficient material to demonstrate the MSG places humans at risk. We have also written to the producer, Auxein Corporation, informing them that their product is potentially toxic, and asking them to withdraw it from the market.
But if no one but Jack Samuels lets the EPA know they don’t want MSG sprayed on food, the approval won’t be rescinded. And unless the producers, who must see millions of dollars in profits down the road, really didn’t know the product is harmful, or is scared silly by the threat of potential law suits, they might not be the least bit concerned. Whether or not you think that you, your parents, your children, your grandchildren or your animals (where reactions are most often manifested as skin rash) are sensitive to MSG, we can’t believe that anyone would want it sprayed on their food while it’s growing.
If you think it’s wrong to spray MSG on fruit and vegetable crops, please register your concern by contacting Dr. Lynn Goldman at the EPA at the address or numbers below; by forwarding a copy of this e-mail to everyone you know; and by sending a copy of the press release to each of your local papers. (Advertisers and boards of directors of the larger papers seem to discourage articles that criticize MSG.) Dr. Goldman can be reached as follows:
Lynn Goldman, M.D.
Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail c/o Douglas Parsons: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like additional information, please call or e-mail. Surface Mail will not be as efficient.
Jack Samuels (312) 642-9333, email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE-CROPS SPRAYED WITH MSG
July 22, 1998 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been asked to rescind a recent action that allows processed free glutamic acid (MSG) to be sprayed on vegetation, including growing fruits and vegetables. In a separate letter, dated July 22, 1998, Auxein Corporation, Lansing, Michigan, has been asked to withdraw their product, Auxigro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (Auxigro), from the market immediately, and to notify farmers to stop using the product.
Auxigro, which contains approximately 30% MSG, may be sprayed, at times by airplane, on crops of snap beans, lettuce, peanuts, tomatoes, and potatoes. It’s use will soon be expanded to other crops, unless it’s use is stopped.
It is acknowledged that sprayed fruits and vegetables that come to market may contain residual amounts of free glutamic acid. There is no reason to believe that the product will not also affect groundwater and drinking water.
Concern was expressed by the Truth in Labeling Campaign (TLC) and its president, Jack L. Samuels, that the MSG residual on treated fruits and vegetables poses a danger to humans, farm animals, and wild life. TLC is a nonprofit organization concerned with undisclosed use of MSG in food.
According to Samuels “The millions of humans who suffer adverse reactions to processed free glutamic acid (MSG), particularly those who suffer life- threatening and/or debilitating reactions, and who react to minute amounts of the substance, may be exposed daily to undeclared amounts of the very substance that can kill or debilitate them.”
The EPA’s action has exempted glutamic acid from the requirement of a tolerance on all raw agricultural commodities, allowing the amount of MSG residue on fruits and vegetables to be unlimited (Sec. 180.1187 – Code of Federal Regulations) .
“Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG)
Approved by the EPA
for Use on Growing Crops:
A Short History
In the good old days, processed free glutamic acid (MSG) was hidden in cosmetics, drugs, vaccines, processed food, baby food, and infant formula. However, raw produce purchased at a market or in a grocery store used to be “safe.” But all that has changed.
In 1997, a company called Auxein Corporation (now known as Emerald BioAgriculture) asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve spraying processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on all growing agricultural commodities including grass, nuts, seeds, fruits, grains, and vegetables. Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture also asked the EPA to register their pesticide product called AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro) as a plant growth enhancer for use to increase yields and the quality of crop plants and early ripening in certain vegetables. AuxiGro contains processed free glutamic acid (MSG).
Testing of AuxiGro was approved by the EPA in September, 1997, and test crops that had been sprayed with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) were brought to market without telling consumers. By and large, individual states rubber stamped the EPA’s approvals. For those few exceptions, Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture set in motion the processes needed for individual state approvals. At the same time, Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture was working to secure organic certification for its AuxiGro and the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) contained in it.
On January 7, 1998, processed free glutamic acid (MSG) used as a plant growth and crop yield enhancer was granted an exemption from establishment of a tolerance limit by the EPA — meaning that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) could be used as a plant growth and crop yield enhancer without restriction. The January 7, 1998 Final Rule sanctioned the use of unregulated amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) (calling it “the biochemical glutamic acid”) regardless of how much processed free glutamic acid (MSG) residue might be left in or on any or all food commodities when bought by consumers — when the processed free glutamic acid was applied as a plant growth and crop yield enhancer. Shortly thereafter, the EPA began to approve AuxiGro for use on specific crops. By the time the Truth in Labeling Campaign became aware that the EPA had approved spraying processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on crops, it was too late to formally object to the 1998 Final Rule.
On December 6, 2000, Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture petitioned the EPA to remove all restrictions from use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG), and asked, also, that all restrictions be removed from a second neuro-active amino acid, Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Both are used as active ingredients in AuxiGro. Prior to December 6, 2000, AuxiGro had been approved in California for use as a fungicide, but at that time, the EPA had not approved the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro for use as a fungicide; the EPA had only approved processed free glutamic acid (MSG) for use as a plant growth enhancer. So this new broader approval was needed before California approval of AuxiGro for use as a fungicide could be finalized. In its December 6, 2000 petition, Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture asked that there be no limits to the amounts of those chemicals when used on any food commodities for any uses regulated by the EPA.
As required by law, the Auxein Corporation petition was published in the Federal Register. But the law evidently doesn’t require that the public be told what is being proposed, because when the EPA published the petition on December 6, 2000, they called it a “Notice of Filing Pesticide Petitions to Establish Tolerances for Certain Pesticide Chemicals in or on Food,” — never mentioning glutamic acid, L-glutamic acid, glutamate, monosodium glutamate, MSG, or GABA in the title.
The December 6, 2000, Notice to “Establish Tolerances for Certain Pesticide Chemicals in or on Food” asked the EPA to sanction the use of unregulated amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) –
Regardless of how much processed free glutamic acid (MSG) residue might be left in or on raw agricultural commodities when purchased for eating;
No matter what the product containing the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) might be called, i.e., a fertilizer, fungicide, pesticide, plant growth enhancer or anything else regulated by the EPA;
No matter what crops or plants the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) might be used on;
Without mentioning, in either the title or the summary, that those “Certain Pesticide Chemicals” were processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and GABA, and that the product in which they would be used was called AuxiGro.
Needless to say, since no Federal Register search for “glutamic acid,” “gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA),” or “AuxiGro” would have identified the December 6 Notice, we were not aware that the December 6, 2000 EPA Notice had been published in the Federal Register until long after the time had run for commenting on the Notice.
Clever, wasn’t it? Both Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture and the EPA knew that we were vehemently opposed to use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on food crops and other plants. They both knew that given the opportunity, we would formally object to additional EPA approvals of use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and/or AuxiGro. So the Notice, that by law the EPA was required to publish in the Federal Register, gave no clue to the fact that it had anything to do with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) or AuxiGro.
The Notice that was published on December 6, 2000 became a Final Rule on June 21, 2001. But unlike the Notice, and for reasons we may never know, the EPA used the words “L-glutamic acid” in the words used to describe the June 21, 2001 Final Rule, and a concerned consumer brought the Final Rule to our attention. Thus, for the first time, the Truth in Labeling Campaign had the opportunity to file a formal Objection to the use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on crops.
The period for filing objections to the June 21, 2001 Final Rule ended on August 20, 2001. The Objection filed by the Truth in Labeling Campaign on August 20, 2001 with the EPA was an objection to the June 21, 2001 Final Rule: L-Glutamic Acid and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid; Exemptions from the Requirement of a Tolerance. It was an objection to the exemption granted to processed free glutamic acid (MSG) — which was then (and is) still being referred to as “L-glutamic acid” by Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture and the EPA.
The text of the June 21, 2001 Final Rule contains very little information, but refers the reader to the December 6, 2000 Notice. In turn, the December 6 Notice states that the petitions to establish tolerances for “certain pesticide chemicals in or on food” should be granted; saying only that supporting data were submitted with Pesticide Petitions 7F4842 and 7F4843, but not even alluding to what those data were. Thus, to see how the EPA excused itself in 2001 for feeding consumers to the glutamate industry while laying the groundwork for lining the glutamate industry’s pockets, you will have to go all the way back to the January 7, 1998 Final Rule.
On June 21, 2001 the EPA published the Final Rule stemming from the December 6, 2000 Notice. The June 21, 2001 Final Rule says that unrestricted amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) can be sprayed on crops and other plants — food crops — all crops — any crops — without any restrictions on the amount sprayed, on the amount that would remain on fruit, grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables when brought to market, and without any restriction on the amount of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) that could have been taken up by the treated produce and be in those fruit, grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables when eaten.
The exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance were based on a series of unproved assumptions, on data from the 1970s that have long since been refuted, on a number of studies that are irrelevant to the safety of amino acids, and on short term acute toxicity studies that neither reflected the real world conditions under which the amino acids would be applied, nor considered their endocrine disrupting potential. In sanctioning the unregulated use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) — which was then being calling “L-glutamic acid” — the EPA used words like “expected to be minimal;” “not likely to result in potential chronic exposure” and “exposure is anticipated to be negligible.” No relevant data from non-industry researchers were examined.
A formal Objection to the June 21, 2001 Final Rule was filed with the EPA by the Truth in Labeling Campaign prior to the cut off date of August 20, 2001. You will find a copy of the Objection on this web site. We have put it on the Internet because –
We think consumers have the right to know what is in and on their food;
We think that Americans need to see, close up and personal, how a company gets government approval for a product that places consumers at risk;
We think that Americans need to see, first hand, how government agencies like the EPA cooperate with the companies they are are supposed to be regulating — even violating the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act;
Everything we see and hear from the EPA says that they have approved a toxin and endocrine disrupter that causes adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people, for spray on crops — placing the health of every American at risk — with the greatest risk faced by fetuses, newborns, infants, children, and the elderly.
By law, being faced with a formal and properly executed Objection to a Final Rule, the EPA is required to study the Objection and respond to it by producing a Final Order.
It has been our observation, however, that the EPA does not always do what is required by law, so we made inquiry. In September, 2001, we asked and were told that the EPA was drafting a draft Final Order that should be available for review and comment approximately 6-8 months from that time — and that we would be notified when the draft Final Order was done.
On July 30, 2002, we asked again when the draft Final Order would be available to consumers, and Janet Andersen, Ph.D., Director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), told us they were working on it and would let us know as soon as they had a draft for distribution and comment.
Let there be no mistake. Today, we know of no crop that has not been approved for spray with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) by the EPA. The EPA has approved the use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and the use of AuxiGro, a product that uses processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and GABA as active ingredients. Those approvals remain in force, and those products will continue to be used, even though objections have been filed protesting them. Those chemicals have been used, and will continue to be used without restriction in accordance with the June 21, 2001 Final Rule in every state except California unless the EPA withdraws its approval of the June 21, 2001 Final Rule. The Truth in Labeling Campaign has asked the EPA to do that.
Federal Register notices chronicling the application and approval of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) are available on the Internet via GPO Access, the Federal Register, through: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html Copies of a number of the EPA’s Notices and Final Rules have been included on this Web site.
Copies of the draft final order pertaining to the Objection of the Truth in Labeling Campaign can be obtained by writing to Dr. Janet Andersen, Director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), EPA at Andersen.Janet@epamail.epa.gov
A list of what has been filed in the docket pertaining to this matter (Docket #OPP-301136) can be requested from the EPA at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also ask for copies of anything you might want to read; but be sure to ask about charges/fees before you do so. When we last inquired, only a limited number of copies could be obtained free of charge each time a new request for copies was made; but there was no limit on the number of requests that could be made.”
And now the whole long history and background to the story, from another source:
MSG is being sprayed right on fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables as they grow — even those used in baby food
In the 1970s, reluctant food processors “voluntarily” took processed free glutamic acid (MSG) out of baby food. Today it’s back, in fertilizers called “Omega Protein Refined/Hydrolyzed Fish Emulsion” and “Steam Hydrolyzed Feather Meal,” both of which contain hydrolyzed proteins; and in a product called AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro) produced by Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation), which contains both hydrolyzed protein(s) and “monosodium glutamate.” AuxiGro is being sprayed on some of the vegetables we and our children will eat, into the air we and our children must breath, and onto the ground from which it can move into drinking water. Head lettuce, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts were among the first crops targeted. On September 12, 2000, the Auxein Corporation Web site gave the following information:
Crops registered include: Celery; Fresh Market Cucumbers; Edible Navy and Pinto Beans; Grapes; Bulb Onions; Bell, Green and Jalapeno Peppers; Iceberg Head Lettuce; Romaine and Butter Leaf Lettuce; Peanuts; Potatoes; Snap Beans; Strawberries; Processing Tomatoes; Fresh Tomatoes; and Watermelons.
Today, there is no crop that we know of that has not been approved for treatment with MSG by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Even in California — the only state where there are any restrictions on the use of AuxiGro — AuxiGro has been approved for use on a number of crops, and Emerald BioAgriculture continues to push for more. Field tests in California have been — and may continue to be — conducted on a variety of crops, and those AuxiGro treated crops may be sold in the open market without revealing that they have been treated. We can’t tell you which crops those are because the CDPR has refused to send records of test trials (which are public information) to the Truth in Labeling Campaign.
As of June 13, 2002, AuxiGro was registered for use in California on tomatoes, almonds, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, prunes, grapes (including grapes to be used in wine), and onions. At that time, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation said they were not aware of any testing of AuxiGro for use on other crops. They also said that they did not have any proposals presently in house to register additional crops for AuxiGro. It would appear, however, that what the CDPR said was not true, for the CDPR subsequently announced that Emerald BioAgriculture had applied for permission to use AuxiGro on tomatoes (new use), and on melons (new crop) — and, to the best of our knowledge, approval is always preceded by field testing.
On July 7, 2004, Emerald BioAgriculture requested approval of use of AuxiGro as a desiccant, disinfectant, fertilizer, fungicide, growth regulator – for increased yield and prevention of powdery mildew in various crops such as almonds, grapes, and melons. They also asked to add cole crops (including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, turnips, rutabaga, mustard, watercress, and kohlrabi) to the list of crops approved for AuxiGro use.
Approval for use on organic crops–in all states–has been requested.
What’s wrong with using glutamic acid, an amino acid found in protein, as a spray on crops?
- In protein, amino acids are found in balanced combinations. Use of free glutamic acid as a spray on crops throws the amino acid balance out of kilter.
– It’s not the glutamic acid found in protein that is being sprayed on crops, it’s a synthetic product. The spray being used most widely is called AuxiGro. The “free glutamic acid” or so called “L-glutamic acid” component being used by its manufacturer, Emerald BioAgriculture, contains L-glutamic acid, an amino acid found in protein; but it also contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other chemicals referred to in the industry as “contaminants.” The free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is processed free glutamic acid. It is manufactured — in chemical plants — where certain selected genetically engineered bacteria — feeding on a liquid nutrient medium — excrete the free glutamic acid they synthesize outside of their cell membrane into the liquid medium in which they are grown. In contrast, the free glutamic acid found in protein, and the free glutamic acid involved in normal human body function, are unprocessed. free glutamic acid, and contain no contaminants.
– No one knows what the long term effects of spraying processed free glutamic acid on crops will be.
- That the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be absorbed into the body of the plant and into the fruit, nuts, seeds, or vegetable it produces seems undeniable. If it were not, the plant would not be stimulated to grow. Neither Emerald BioAgriculture or the EPA will address this issue.
- That there will be residue left on crops has not been disputed by Emerald BioAgriculture. But no study of either the amount of that residue, or the least amount of processed free glutamic acid needed to cause a reaction in an MSG-sensitive person, has ever been done. “It should wash off” doesn’t mean it will wash off. “It seems unlikely that such a small amount would cause a reactions” doesn’t mean that a small amount will not cause a reaction or have long term health effects.
- Free glutamic acid is known to be toxic to the nervous system. But the neurotoxic effects that processed free glutamic acid will have on animals that consume the plants on which it is sprayed – effects over and above any effects caused by external glutamic acid residue – have never been evaluated. Neither are there data on the effects that spraying processed free glutamic acid will have on drinking water.
- Consider, also, that children are most at risk from the effects of processed free glutamic acid. Their undeveloped blood-brain barriers leave them most at risk from exposure to processed free glutamic acid. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that infant animals fed processed free glutamic acid when young develop neuroendocrine problems such as gross obesity, stunted growth, and reproductive disorders later in life, and that they also develop learning disabilities. Emerald BioAgriculture did not address that particular safety issue in its application to the EPA.
- No one knows how little glutamic acid is needed to kill a single brain cell or to trigger an adverse reaction.
- Free glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter. It causes nerves to fire, carrying nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.
- Free glutamic acid is a neurotoxin. Under certain circumstances, free glutamic acid will cause nerves to fire repeatedly, until they die.
- Processed free glutamic acid kills brain cells. The free glutamic acid ingested by laboratory animals that caused brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders was very often given in the form of the food ingredient “monosodium glutamate.” “Monosodium glutamate” is the name of a particular food additive. Processed free glutamic acid is the reactive component in “monosodium glutamate,” just as processed free glutamic acid is a reactive component in AuxiGro.
The glutamate industry research done in the 1970s that was submitted to the EPA by the Auxein Corporation, that pretended to find that processed free glutamic acid is “safe,” has been long refuted by independent scientists. Indeed, at the present time, neuroscientists attempting to develop drugs to block the toxic effects of free glutamic acid are using processed free glutamic acid to selectively kill certain kinds of brain cells.
- Processed free glutamic acid causes neuroendocrine disorders in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid early in life.
- Processed free glutamic acid causes learning disorders in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid early in life.
- Processed free glutamic acid crosses the placental barrier and causes learning disabilities in animal offspring of dams that ingest it.
- Processed free glutamic acid has access to the brain through the blood-brain barrier, which is not impervious to the unregulated flow of processed free glutamic acid. The blood-brain barrier is immature at birth and may continue to develop up to puberty. In certain areas called the circumventricular organs, the blood barrier is never impervious to the unregulated flow of free glutamic acid. In addition, the blood-brain barrier is easily damaged by such events as high fever, a blow to the head, drug use, stroke, ingestion of processed free glutamic acid, and the normal process of aging.
- The National Institutes of Health recognize glutamic acid as being associated with addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
- For years, free glutamic acid has been produced and used in food additives with names such as monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, and hydrolyzed soy protein. In some people, the processed free glutamic acid in food additives causes adverse reactions that include migraine headache, asthma, arrhythmia, tachycardia, nausea and vomiting, depression, and disorientation. The processed free glutamic acid in prescription and non-prescription drugs, food supplements, and cosmetics can also cause adverse reactions.
There are badly flawed industry-sponsored studies that have pretended to find that processed free glutamic acid does not cause adverse reactions. Inappropriate procedures used by the glutamate industry have included limiting subjects to people virtually guaranteed not to be sensitive to processed free glutamic acid, and/or using processed free glutamic acid or other similarly reactive substances in placebos as well as in test material. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has based its claim that processed free glutamic acid causes only mild and transitory reactions on those badly flawed industry-sponsored studies.
- Even the EPA admits that the food additive called “monosodium glutamate” causes adverse reactions.
- Even the FDA admits that the food additive “monosodium glutamate” contains processed free glutamic acid.
<>- Even the FDA admits that many consumers refer to all free glutamic acid as “MSG.”
The EPA’s approvals of use of MSG in agriculture are simple, straightforward, and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
In reviewing the application of Auxein Corporation (now Emerald BioAgriculture) for use of processed free glutamic acid in a spray to be applied to crops as they grow, the EPA failed to conform to the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which require, in part, that the EPA review any proposed action for validity, completeness, reliability, and relationship to human risk. The EPA also ignored Executive Order 13045 which requires government agencies to consider available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. For example, Auxein Corporation sent the EPA 14 industry-sponsored toxicological studies from the literature, all done in the 1970’s, but failed to mention hundreds of studies in the literature that refuted those 14 studies. Auxein Corporation even failed to send the EPA independent studies that appeared in the same book(s) as the industry-sponsored studies sent to the EPA. For example, although processed free glutamic acid causes brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders in infant animals, this special hazard faced by infants was ignored by Auxein Corporation. It would appear that Auxein Corporation restricted its consideration of “available information” to information made available by the glutamate industry; and the EPA, even after having been sent abstracts from other “available information,” has not challenged the Auxein Corporation applications. A more complete discussion of the shortcomings of the EPA approvals granted to Auxein Corporation has been submitted to the EPA.
Questions about the safety of spraying processed free glutamic acid on plants and into the environment have been raised by the Truth in Labeling Campaign and by individual consumers. The EPA has refused to address those concerns. The EPA, and, in particular, EPA spokesperson Dr. Janet Andersen, has failed to respond to allegations that in approving the spraying of processed free glutamic acid, the EPA failed to consider the reliability, validity, and completeness of the Auxein Corporation application or comply with Executive Order 13045 entitled Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, except to say that the EPA had complied with executive order 13045. Moreover, while responding to letters that asked direct questions of the EPA, Andersen failed to respond to most, if not all, of the direct questions contained in those letters.
AuxiGro, the first MSG-laced plant “growth enhancer” to hit the market, has been approved for spraying on every crop we know of, with no restrictions on the amount of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) that may remain in and/or on crops when brought to market. Even before consumers had an inkling that crops were being sprayed, the Truth in Labeling Campaign received reports that MSG-sensitive consumers had gotten sick from head lettuce and potatoes.
Federal Register notices chronicling the application and approval of processed free glutamic acid are available on the Web via GPO Access, the Federal Register, through: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html. Application for approval of use of AuxiGro was made to the EPA in 1997. Testing of the product was also approved in that year, and many of the test crops sprayed with AuxiGro were brought to market without notifying consumers. Glutamic acid was granted an exemption from establishment of a tolerance limit in January, 1998. AuxiGro was also approved for use on a number of crops in January, 1998, and approved for use on other crops later. No announcement of these approvals was made in the Federal Register.
Due to a technical glitch in the system, the glutes came to need one more approval to make their California registrations work. The glutes were asking for AuxiGro to be approved for use as a fungicide in California, but the EPA had only approved AuxiGro for use as a pesticide produce or plant growth enhancer. And when application was made for this addition to their approvals, the application was brought to our attention; and the Truth in Labeling Campaign filed a formal protest to this approval of AuxiGro. The Formal Objection of the Truth in Labeling Campaign was filed on August 16, 2001 with the EPA.
By law, formal objections filed in a timely manner must be responded to within six months. Also, by law (we were told) even though the Final Rule had not been promulgated, this additional use of AuxiGro would be considered approved unless and until the EPA determined that it should be otherwise. In July, 2004, we received a conference call from Dr. Andersen and a number of other EPA players, including an EPA lawyer — a “courtesy call” telling us that our objections had been discounted and that the Final Rule allowing use of AuxiGro as a fungicide would be published shortly in the Federal Register.
What’s wrong at the EPA?
Neither the EPA nor Janet Andersen, Ph.D., director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), are stupid. Rather, all evidence would appear to suggest that the EPA, which is charged with protecting the health of Americans, says it is protecting the health of Americans, when in fact the EPA acts to protect the bottom line of big business. Don’t think for a moment that MSG is the only toxin unleashed on the American public by the EPA. Let the words “methyl parathion” and “DDT” jog your memory.
The EPA, in granting the chemical referred to as “L-glutamic acid” an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of “L-glutamic acid” on all food commodities when applied/used in accordance with good agricultural practices (thereby allowing unrestricted amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) residue to remain in and on any and all food crops that come under the EPA’s jurisdiction) violated Section 408(c)(2)(A)(i), Section 408(c)(2)(ii), Section 408(c)(2)(B), and Section 408(b)(2)(D) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Neither “L-Glutamic Acid and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid; Exemptions from the Requirement of a Tolerance; Final Rule” (Federal Register June 21, 2001) nor “Glutamic Acid; Pesticide Tolerance Exemption; Final Rule” (Federal Register January 7, 1998), which preceded it, met the criteria established by law for granting exemptions from the restriction of a tolerance.
How did spokesperson Andersen excuse the fact that the EPA approved processed free glutamic acid for use in an EPA approved spray? First, said Andersen, the free glutamic acid used in the spray is naturally occurring, and it’s 99.3 per cent pure pharmaceutical grade L-glutamic acid. Yet, in admitting that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro is not 100 per cent pure L-glutamic acid, and that it is pharmaceutical grade, Andersen contradicted herself, and actually made the point that 1) if the free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro were truly natural, it wouldn’t be “pharmaceutical grade;” and 2) if the free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro were truly natural it would be 100 per cent, not 99.3 per cent pure L-glutamic acid.
Andersen said something else very interesting. She said that the EPA is well aware of the fact that MSG causes adverse reactions. However, when Andersen used the term “MSG” she was referring to the one food ingredient called “monosodium glutamate,” and not to the free glutamic acid in “monosodium glutamate” that causes adverse reactions. Failure to define terms, as Anderson did (and does) so handily, is both deceptive and misleading.
What Andersen did is very clever. What she said makes no sense at all. No one has ever claimed that the processed free glutamic acid in AuxiGro comes out of a box labeled “monosodium glutamate.” So for her to say it doesn’t, is meaningless. On the other hand, the claim has been made that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro will cause the same brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, adverse reactions and other diverse disease conditions that are caused by the free glutamic acid in “monosodium glutamate” and the other food additives that contain processed free glutamic acid. That claim is true, but Andersen does not address it. How do you refute someone who ignores legitimate questions and spews out irrelevant statements as though they pertained to your legitimate questions? You don’t. The EPA defense of its approval of use of processed free glutamic acid in plant “growth enhancers” and its registration of AuxiGro has two parts to it: 1) ignoring those who question EPA actions, and 2) making the irrelevant statement that AuxiGro does not contain MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Neither Andersen nor anyone else at the EPA ever addressed the criticism that approvals given by the EPA to allow the use of free glutamic acid and the product AuxiGro were inappropriate.
The EPA, which approved the used of processed free glutamic acid in plant “growth enhancers,” made a grievous error. But instead of recognizing and remedying that error once it was pointed out to them, the EPA began a cover-up. That cover-up included use of ambiguous words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to consumers. The cover-up continued (and continues still) with a variation of those ambiguous words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to legislators who inquire about spraying MSG into the environment.
You might find the Emerald BioAgriculture sales literature interesting
Sales literature promoting AuxiGro was once found on their Web site, but is now long gone. While Federal Register notices included the fact that there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro, the sales literature from Auxein Corporation did not mention the fact that their product contains free glutamic acid until the Truth in Labeling Campaign began to broadcast that information. In November, 1999, Auxein added deceptive, misleading, and untrue statements in an elaboration of its Product Page, wherein they essentially make the untrue assertion that the glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is chemically and biologically identical to that found in plants and animals.
Sales literature did (on September 12, 2000), however, contain the following:
HAZARDS TO HUMAN AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS – CAUTION”
If you think you might be reacting to AuxiGro sprayed on crops, you might want to try to (contact Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation) at the addresses that follow. (A friend recently told us that he tried to contact them by e-mail, but his e-mail was returned unopened.) By law, the company is required to forward reports of adverse reactions to the EPA. You might want to ask the EPA if Emerald BioAgriculture did so.
John L. Mclntyre, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation)
3125 Sovereign Drive, Ste. B
Lansing, MI 48911-4240
Phone: (888) 828-9346
Fax: (517) 882-7521
(From time to time, their web page, http://www.auxein.com , can be accessed by password only.)
Please feel free to copy and distribute this material, including our Web address, for those who might be interested.
The nice looking photos in the stories above are from cropcareequipment.com Of course there are valid reasons for using spraying equipment with organic or biodynamic crops, such as to spread the 500 and 501 preparations, also known as horn-manure and horn-silica. Crop care equipment’s sprayers sure do look pretty and they have nice photos of them on their website.