Warning of glutamate in food

Frequently glutamate in food "without flavor enhancer"

The flavor enhancer glutamate triggers considerable health problems such as headaches, reddening of the skin and nausea and even vomiting in many people. Therefore, people with a glutamate intolerance are urgently dependent on appropriate labeling of food products. But the label "without flavor enhancer", according to the Minister of Consumer Protection of Baden-Württemberg, Alexander Bonde (Alliance 90 / The Greens), often misleads the customer rather than contributing to the protection against possible health consequences.

The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Consumer Protection found in the investigation of 42 food products labeled "without flavor enhancer" that a large part of the products contained glutamate. Although the foods tested generally had no artificial glutamate, they often contained flavor enhancers made from yeast or yeast extract, with a high natural glutamic acid content, reports the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Consumer Protection. Consumers should therefore be advised to study the contents carefully if they are intolerant to glutamate and also to pay attention to the use of yeast or yeast extracts, since natural glutamate can also lead to the health problems mentioned.

Most of the foodstuffs tested contained glutamate. Although all foodstuffs tested were clearly labeled as "without flavor enhancers", experts from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Consumer Protection detected yeast or yeast extracts with a high natural glutamic acid content in 31 of the 42 foodstuffs tested. Although none of the products contained the artificial flavor enhancer Glutamat E 620, the term "without flavor enhancer" is often misleading for consumers in view of the high proportion of yeast and yeast extracts, said Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Consumer Protection, Alexander Bonde. Because in case of doubt, the glutamic acid contained threatens the same health problems as with the artificial glutamate. In the study by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Consumer Protection, both organic and conventional food products - despite different labeling - contained flavor enhancers. The consumer protection minister reports that tomato products have also been used as flavor enhancers. Since the majority of the prepared meals and dry soups examined contained glutamate, the term “without artificial flavor enhancer” was more appropriate here, said the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Consumer Protection when presenting the eco-monitoring report in Stuttgart on Monday. Bonde recommended that consumers carefully study the contents of food products.

Minimize health risks by checking the contents. For those affected, the casual handling of food producers is often an annoyance that they have to deal with in everyday life. Because the companies often seem to make very little effort to present the additives contained in them. This is now also confirmed with the label "without flavor enhancer". The fact that people with glutamate intolerance may accept health problems such as reddening of the skin, massive headaches or nausea from the consumption of the products obviously does not matter in the manufacturer's information used for advertising purposes. Since the latest information from the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Consumer Protection is unlikely to cause any changes on the part of the companies, the consumers concerned will ultimately only have to control the contents precisely in order to track down the hidden flavor enhancers and avoid health problems. (fp)

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