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Amy's Kitchen

Amy's Kitchen responds to concerns about yeast extract with possible product reformulations

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Amy's Kitchen, yeast extract, MSG

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A recent NewsTarget article on Amy's Kitchen (a well-known producer of organic food products) resulted in a groundswell of customer comments being sent to the Amy's Kitchen company requesting they stop using yeast extract in their products. The large number of requests garnered the attention of Amy's Kitchen decision makers, and NewsTarget was soon contacted by Bill Twieg, the Technical Director of Amy's Kitchen, who offered additional information presented here.

Bill Twieg explained that the reader response resulted in, "The most emails we had ever received in one day" and indicated that due to Amy's Kitchen's commitment to serving the health-conscious community, the owner of the company (Andy Berliner) was willing to work with their product formulators to find a way to possibly remove yeast extract from the four products that currently contain it. Although no specific commitment for the removal of yeast extract was offered, the company did say that it would conduct reformulation tests and taste tests to see if the ingredient could be eliminated without compromising the taste experience expected by consumers.

Mr. Twieg also explained that Amy's Kitchen only uses yeast extract in four of its products, and there is no hidden MSG across the product line. All ingredients are listed plainly on the labels, NewsTarget was informed, and the "spices" ingredient contains only wholesome spices like sage, rosemary and thyme, not any hidden sources of MSG. Several products do use tamari, another ingredient that contains a small amount of free glutamate, but tamari is usually not problematic for consumers in the same way that yeast extract can be, possibly due to the process used to create tamari.

The "no hidden ingredients" claim that currently appears on some Amy's Kitchen products, we were told, is currently being phased in across the Amy's Kitchen product line and will be appearing on more products soon. The lack of such a descriptive claim on any current Amy's Kitchen product in no way means the product contains hidden ingredients, Mr. Twieg explained. It only means the product labels have not been updated for those food items.

NewsTarget hopes to be able to report, sometime in 2007, that Amy's Kitchen will be entirely free of yeast extract. Upon achieving that goal, and given that no other MSG-containing ingredients are used to replace yeast extract (such as torula yeast, autolyzed or hydrolyzed vegetable proteins), Amy's Kitchen will receive our full endorsement for safe, healthful and tasty organic frozen foods.

Our present view of Amy's Kitchen is that the company is making some of the highest quality organic frozen foods on the market today and is clearly a superior food company with a desire to meet the stringent quality demands of informed consumers. We only published an article critical of their use of yeast extract because we feel Amy's Kitchen is a company worth encouraging to clean up their labels. There are many other so-called "natural" food companies that aren't even worth contacting, since they have no desire to remove yeast extract or to even listen to the natural health community about hidden sources of MSG. But Amy's Kitchen is willing to listen.

The fact that Amy's Kitchen responded in a constructive way to our original article is good news, indeed. It means the company is sensitive to issues of food additives and that it is engaged in a constructive dialog intended to improve its product line and food safety. Personally, I continue to eat Amy's Kitchen products, but I carefully read all the labels now to make sure I don't accidentally consume one of the four products containing yeast extract.

Most of the Amy's Kitchen product line deserves a five-star rating for food quality, taste, texture and presentation. And given the company's ability to produce surprisingly tasteful vegetarian cuisine without having to resort to hidden sources of MSG, it certainly appears to have the resources to reformulate four of its products to be yeast extract free.

NewsTarget thanks the hundreds of readers who contacted Amy's Kitchen about their use of yeast extract, and we thank Amy's Kitchen for responding in a constructive way. We will continue to follow this story and issue reports and updates here on NewsTarget.com. We've also updated our original story on Amy's Kitchen to reflect this new information.

Background information: Yeast extract contains from 6% - 12% MSG (or "free glutamate") and is used by food companies who want to add an MSG-like taste experience to their foods without using MSG on the label. It causes extreme headaches in some people, and according to Dr. Russell Blaylock, the author of Excitotoxins, MSG is damaging to the brain, nervous system, endocrine system and even promotes obesity by interfering with appetite regulation. Baby food manufacturers voluntarily removed MSG from baby foods decades ago after being accused by consumer advocates of harming babies' nervous systems with the chemical. MSG remains widely used today in canned soups, breakfast sausage, salad dressing and other commercial foods. Many people are desensitized to the ingredient and do not experience headaches, although such desensitization does not protect them from the potential nervous system damage caused by MSG.

Read more NewsTarget articles on yeast extract at: http://www.newstarget.com/yeast_extract.html

MSG is covered in more detail in Mike Adams' book, Grocery Warning.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

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. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. 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 featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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