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Ask an Expert: Is MSG Safe?

By January 14, 2015April 29th, 2020Featured, In the News, MSG
MSG Safety

Dr. Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian and Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University addresses news about food and nutrition in The Daily Reflector ( This week she answers a question from a consumer about the safety of MSG and aspartame, with one of her medical students providing the research and a detailed response. For anyone who has read on the Internet about “life threatening maladies” from these two food ingredients, read on!:

“The FDA and the World Health Organization find both aspartame and MSG as safe for human consumption. These recommendations are supported by current scientific evidence and are reviewed when new information becomes available. Nutrition, food science and food safety are all reasonably young sciences and so new discoveries are made all the time.

“While some studies do raise questions about the potential harms of these substances, scientists raise major concerns about the validity of these results. The vast body of knowledge suggests these additives are safe and health agencies across the world have independently approved them for consumption. As with any substance, however, it is important to consume them in moderation to avoid experiencing unwanted effects.

“Additionally, there are certain populations that may be more sensitive to these substances and experience headaches, weakness or general discomfort following consumption. Ask your family physician if you are concerned that you may be sensitive to any food or food additive.

“In a technological age where unverified information abounds, we must be careful that the health recommendations we follow are evidence based. While an individual may have an impressive resume, the claims that they tout could be inconsistent with the current body of evidence.”

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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