(NaturalNews) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) is one of most common soy-based food "fillers" used to make literally thousands of processed food products. It's found in veggie burgers, gravy mixes, soups and many other grocery products. Last Thursday, one of the largest producers of HVP in the United States, Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc., was the subject of an FDA consumer safety warning announcement. Salmonella had been found contaminating the company's HVP production equipment, the FDA said, and a nationwide recall was initiated that now includes products from Trader Joe's, Safeway, McCormick and many other companies.
Most Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein isn't purchased directly by consumers; it's used by food production companies as an ingredient in mainstream processed foods. So it shows up in thousands of grocery products -- and most consumers are not aware they're eating this ingredient. In fact, many consumers are, for the first time, asking, "What is HVP?"
Beware of what's in your groceries
I wrote about HVP in my 2004 book, "Grocery Warning," which warned consumers about a dozen potentially hazardous food ingredients. HVP was just one of many ingredients mentioned as a potential source of hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG).
MSG, of course, is a potentially dangerous neurotoxin used to flavor countless processed food products. It's used in soups, salad dressings, processed meats, gravy mixes, flavored snack chips and virtually every popular brand of beef jerky. It is considered an "excitotoxin" by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon who has written extensively about MSG and its damaging effects on human neurology.
According to Blaylock, MSG can promote eating addictions, obesity, brain cancer, endocrine system disorders, infertility and many serious neurological disorders. That's why it's so disturbing that MSG is hidden in so many natural-sounding ingredients.
In my Grocery Warning book, I warned readers to avoid all ingredients that contain the words "hydrolyzed" or "autolyzed." In addition, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) can also be a source of hidden MSG.
But the most common source of hidden MSG is yeast extract -- a sneaky little ingredient found in huge numbers of so-called "natural" foods.
The dirty little secret of the "natural" foods industry
HVP, TVP and yeast extract are very common ingredients in the natural / vegetarian food industry. Most of the popular veggie burgers, for example, contain HVP, TVP or yeast extract. And that makes them a suspected source of hidden MSG.
As far as veggie burger companies go, I'm going to say this bluntly and boldly: In my opinion, many of the larger corporate foods companies are selling little more than chemical additives and unhealthy fillers while calling them "vegetarian" foods. This is why I personally avoid virtually processed veggie burgers and other vegetarian "meat" alternatives. There are a few exceptions to this -- just read the ingredients labels to see who's using HVP, TVP or yeast extract.
The twisted minds at the FDA...
What's really interesting about this HVP recall is that the FDA only considers HVP dangerous when it's possibly contaminated with salmonella. When HVP is sterile, on the other hand, the FDA considers it "safe."
The FDA is so ignorant about the safety of food additive chemicals that it actually believes aspartame and MSG are safe for human consumption. It's bizarre: While tens of millions of Americans are poisoning their brains with diet sodas, the FDA goes crazy over a virtually miniscule risk of salmonella contamination in TVP -- an ingredient that's usually cooked anyway (which destroys the salmonella).
Why isn't the FDA worried about MSG, aspartame, sodium nitrite (causes cancer) or yeast extract? The FDA's position on food safety boils down to this:
The FDA's philosophy of food safety:
#1) Dead foods are safer than living foods, so KILL IT!
#2) Chemicals are safe, but bacteria are dangerous.
This philosophy explains how the FDA ends up trying to outlaw raw milk while allowing MSG and aspartame on the GRAS list (Generally Recognized As Safe).
Raw milk is dangerous, they say. Why? Because there might be something living in there. You know, probiotics and that kind of thing. Scary! So the FDA wants everything as dead as possible. (Including you, most likely.)
In fact, the FDA describes instant, ready-to-eat food mixes as substances that have not gone through a "validated kill process."
Once the foods are dead, they're presumed safe even if they're loaded with neurotoxic chemicals and cancer-causing substances. So a hot dog made with sodium nitrite (a cancer-causing chemical found in most hot dogs) is considered perfectly safe as long as the hot dog is dead!
Are you getting the picture yet? HVP, TVP, MSG, aspartame, sodium nitrite and other chemical additives are all A-okay with the FDA. They're only scrutinized when they become contaminated with bacteria. It's the bacteria that freaks out the FDA, not the chemicals!
The lesson to the food companies in all this is quite simple: You can stuff practically any hazardous, cancer-causing, brain-damaging chemical you want into processed food products as long as the whole mixture is cooked until its dead. At that point, you may sell it for human consumption, even if it causes cancer.
The FDA's outright failure on food safety
Have you ever seen the FDA take urgent action to ban an unsafe food ingredient used by the big food corporations?
It almost never happens. And the really bizarre part is that many of today's most dangerous food additives were never subjected to safety testing by the FDA or any other agency -- they were simply grandfathered in and labeled safe (GRAS) solely because they had been historically used by the food companies for such a long period of time.
This is how poisons like MSG got into the food supply. Aspartame, of course, is a whole different story of corruption and collusion. But the truth is, there remain hundreds of dangerous chemicals used in food products that are never scrutinized by the FDA. HVP just barely scratches the surface of this story.
Action items: What you can do right now to protect yourself
#1) READ all food ingredients labels.
#2) AVOID foods made with any of the following ingredients: • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein • Textured Vegetable Protein • Yeast Extract • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) • Aspartame • Sodium nitrite
#4) SHARE this story with family and friends who need to know the truth about what's really in the foods they buy. Most consumers have no idea what's found in the foods they're eating. Most people don't read food labels, and as a result they end up eating all kinds of chemical ingredients that would shock them if they learned the truth.
#5) LEARN more by reading stories here on NaturalNews about common chemical food additives:
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.