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Food firms propose replacing MSG, salt with yeast extract that contains free glutamate

Monday, January 29, 2007 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: MSG, yeast extract, exitotoxins

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(NewsTarget) Dutch ingredients manufacturer DSM Food Specialties recently announced the release of its Maxarome Select product, which promises to replace the flavor-enhancing chemical MSG (monosodium glutamate) in manufactured foods, but opponents say DSM's new product is still a yeast extract that contains harmful free glutamate.

DSM claims that Maxarome can allow manufacturers to replace vilified MSG without affecting flavor. In fact, the company says that taste tests indicate foods prepared with its yeast extract replacement were more flavorful than traditional MSG preparations of the same foods.

"Food labeling has become a significant issue for manufacturers as more and more consumers are choosing to avoid foods containing ... MSG," said Maxarome product manager Iwan Brandsma. "As awareness of health issues surrounding these additives increases, Maxarome Select provides the ideal alternative for manufacturers seeking to replace MSG and achieve dramatic flavor enhancement, so creating crisps and snacks that meet consumer demands for natural ingredients and indulgent taste profiles."

Similarly, U.S.-based ingredients manufacturer Savoury Systems International (SSI) announced last week that its new, "natural" yeast extract products could be used as a replacement for salt in many manufactured baked goods.

The extracts are being primarily marketed toward consumers who want to reduce their sodium intake. According to SSI product manager Kevin McDermott, the "886" sodium replacement -- made with yeast extract -- can allow manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium in their products while retaining fluffy dough texture and salty taste.

Because it is difficult to replicate the taste of salt, it has become problematic to reduce sodium while keeping the salty flavor American consumers enjoy. According to McDermott, "886" blends potassium chloride with sugar, yeast extract and artificial flavors that mask the bitter taste of the potassium chloride, which creates a "salty perception" for consumers who want to reduce their salt intake.

However, according to consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "Grocery Warning," replacing MSG or natural sodium with yeast extract products still creates an unhealthy product.

"It's all a shell game designed to fool consumers by hiding refined taste-enhancing chemicals on the label under innocent-sounding names," Adams said. "Food companies know that consumers look for MSG on labels and avoid buying those products, so they hide MSG chemicals right on the label using different words like 'yeast extract.'"


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