Company Behind MSG Says You’re Racist to Feel Negative Effects From Their Product

Op-Ed by Jason Erickson

Who knew that feeling like garbage after eating certain foods potentially makes you a racist? Apparently, this is the new marketing strategy behind a campaign organized by the Japanese company Ajinomoto, producers of the food additive monosodium glutamate — MSG. Fortunately for Ajinomoto, CNN is backing them with a feature article to help dispel not only the cultural misconceptions, but the science as well.

As part of their campaign, Ajinomoto has enlisted “activists” to “Redefine CRS” — or Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. I actually wasn’t aware that this term has its own entry in Merriam-Webster.

: a group of symptoms (such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations) that is held to affect susceptible persons eating food and especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate

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Ajinomoto’s campaign believes that redefining this term for Merriam-Webster should be first on the list for alerting the public about the reality of its product. According to CNN, the company would like this changed to “an outdated term that falsely blamed Chinese food containing MSG, or monosodium glutamate, for a group of symptoms.”

As you can see, this goes beyond any notion of racial bias and makes a direct assertion of false scientific claims.  However, like nearly everything that falls under the purview of scientific study, there is incredible complexity with how studies are conducted, how reports are written up, who funds the studies, not even to mention one’s own individual health make-up that might lead to one person feeling effects that another does not.

I, for example, love Chinese food and I love Asian culture, but I simply can’t eat anything containing MSG without feeling absolutely miserable. My symptoms are headache, nausea and heart palpitations. Incidentally, my wife and daughter have never had an issue. I am fortunate to have a local Chinese restaurant that advertises not using MSG in their food preparations. I can, in fact, eat there without issue, so this is my personal experience. However, I’m well aware that MSG and Chinese food are not synonymous; CNN is quite correct,  therefore, when they quote one of the campaign supporters:

“Calling it Chinese restaurant syndrome is really ignorant,” said restaurateur Eddie Huang, whose memoir was adapted into the hit sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat.” In the video, he pointed out that MSG is not only delicious — but found in practically all processed foods, from ranch dressing to Doritos.

This is precisely the issue for people like myself who feel negative effects from MSG — not only is it prevalent in a wide range of foods, it is now hidden under many different names. You can read here about 40 sneaky names for MSG.

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Interestingly, throughout the CNN article — which I encourage everyone to read in full — there is at least lip service paid to the subject of MSG’s health effects being debatable.  They cite studies that have concluded its likely negative consequences; and they cite those from organizations like the FDA and the World Health Organization which refute such claims.

Rather than restrict the definition as it stands in Merriam-Webster to offer a conclusion favorable to a company that produces the product, I’d suggest that the definition needs to be expanded to note that it is not singularly attached to Chinese food and that independent studies are ongoing to determine its health effects.

As for the company Ajinomoto (and CNN for that matter) — I’ve never liked their products, and now I like them even less for introducing race as a means of silencing legitimate scientific inquiry.

Do you feel negative effects from consuming MSG? Please leave your comment below.

Image: Pixabay

Jason Erickson writes for This article (Company Behind MSG Says You’re Racist to Feel Negative Effects From Their Product) may be republished in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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