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What is MSG? What is monosodium glutamate?

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Question: What is MSG? What is monosodium glutamate?
MSG is a popular food seasoning derived from a natural amino acid.
Answer: MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a popular ingredient in Oriental recipes. It is a white powder derived from glutamic acid, an amino acid found naturally-occuring in many foods such as seaweed, sugar beets, cereal glutens, and other vegetables. Although it has no real flavor of its own, MSG greatly enhances the taste of savory foods, thus its popularity.

MSG may be found in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores. A common American brand-name MSG product is Ac'cent.

Some people suffer an allergic reaction to MSG exhibiting a variety of symptoms including headache, dizziness, and flushing or burning of the skin. If you are allergic to MSG, you should be aware that other food ingredients may contain MSG, such as hydrolyzed or vegetable protein and kombu extract. Ingredient listings specifying natural flavoring or natural seasoning may also contain MSG. The Food and Drug Administration does not require MSG to be specifically listed in ingredient labels. MSG is also hidden in many packaged foods such as soups, snacks, frozen foods, and salad dressings.

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