These consist of a lot of words, written in officialese, a very difficult language to master. Wade through them if you choose, but first, I would like to say my piece. GRAS means "Generally Recognized As Safe" and is used by the FDA to justify not vetting it before approval. There are two criteria they use. The first is "through scientific procedures" and the second is "for a substance used in food before 1958, through experience based on common use in food". They then list a few examples, which include, salt, pepper, vinegar, baking powder, and monosodium glutamate.
Do you see the problem here? The FDA through either one or the other of two procedures has decided that MSG is as safe as pepper. This statement, in essence, makes the use of GRAS ineffective as a tool to protect the consumer. There is a preponderance of research that points to MSG and other excitotoxins, such as hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeast, and AspartameŽ as harmful to many individuals and unsafe for most of us. To call it safe should be construed as criminal.
There is an effort by John Erb (see his petition below) to have MSG removed from this paragraph. Even if he wins his court case, it will not change the fact that the FDA will not change the usage of excitotoxins by the food industry. I can understand why the food industry is fighting to use these flavor enhancers. There whole industry, from processing plants to distribution, depends on their usage. To explain why a government agency that is supposed to protect the consumer is fighting to protect the use of excitotoxins is impossible.
Generally, the food industry states, "There is no comprehensive studies that have been completed that would suggest that MSG is harmful." Sounds familiar doesn't it? Remember the tobacco industry denying that cigarettes had anything to do with cancer? Well, the fact is, there is a ton of studies that when searched out are terrifying. There are studies that have connected excitotoxins with many symptoms, some of which you may suffer from, as well as, ADHD, obesity, Parkinson's disease, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and others. One of the problems seems that there isn't a direct cause and effect with the use of excitotoxins. You just don't eat it and get sick. This is the same as the use of cigarettes and the resulting cancer. A continued use of excitotoxins may take 20 to 30 years for the final results, such as Type II diabetes, or Alzheimer's disease to set in. But make no mistake; there is a direct link to the damage that excitotoxins do and the resulting cause of these diseases.
Some people suffer immediately. These are like the canary in the mines. They are the early warning systems. It is because of these people that there was even research done on these chemicals. Read about the history of MSG and you will come to realize that their usage is only about 60 years old in the United States. It is kind of hard to compare MSG and other excitotoxins that have such a short history with salt and pepper, I would think.
As long as GRAS recognizes MSG and other excitotoxins as harmless as table salt, it is an ineffective standard to be applied by the FDA. Hopefully we can change it. The more people that become aware of the poisoning of our food source, the more people that will stand up and say STOP IT!
According to the FDA's Frequently Asked Questions:
"GRAS" is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive. For example, substances whose use meets the definition of a pesticide, a dietary ingredient of a dietary supplement, a color additive, a new animal drug, or a substance approved for such use prior to September 6, 1958, are excluded from the definition of food additive. Sections 201(s) and 409 were enacted in 1958 as part of the Food Additives Amendment to the Act. While it is impracticable to list all ingredients whose use is generally recognized as safe, FDA published a partial list of food ingredients whose use is generally recognized as safe to aid the industry's understanding of what did not require approval.
Citizen Petition Presented by John Erb
A petition was submitted under Section 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to the United States Food and Drug Agency on December 21 2007 requesting the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to revoke the GRAS standing of the food additive Monosodium Glutamate. It requests other excitotoxins have their GRAS status revoked as well.
The petition reads in part:
Request of change to Section 182.1 under Title 21 of the Food and Drug Act where the existing wording reads:
Be changed to:
removing the word Monosodium Glutamate from this paragraph and thereby revoking its place on the GRAS list.
Furthermore it is requested that
182 .1045 Glutamic acid .
182 .1047 Glutamic acid hydrochloride.
182 .1500 Monoammonium glutamate.
182 .1516 Monopotassium glutamate
as GRAS additives also be revoked.
It is further requested that artificial food additives such as Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, and other additives in which Glutamate is a primary component have their GRAS status revoked.
I further ask the Commissioner for a copy of the research showing the benefits of adding Glutamate containing ingredients to the food supply.
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