Hidden additives


Consumers want to avoid ADDITIVES, so food manufacturers have switched to adding innocent-sounding INGREDIENTS which contain these same additives, often claiming ‘no added whatever’.

Here is how you can recognise this trickery for the two most important additives that people seek to avoid – propionate bread preservatives and MSG.

The latest scam is to get the additives classified as Processing Aids. These do not appear anywhere on the label. See what is coming in future food products with hidden Processing Aids.

Propionate bread preservative 282


Of the 19 ways in which propionate preservatives can be added to food,
only 8 are regulated and must appear as additives. The rest are hidden.


CLAIM:
the package often says ‘no artificial/added preservatives/additives’

INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR:

  • ‘cultured’ OR ‘fermented' AND ‘wheat/wheatflour/flour/whey/dextrose/and several other things
  • OR EVEN ‘starter culture’ (in some bread products - don't forget that sourdough bread contains high levels of propionates)
  •         AND EVEN in organic products - read the label!

EXAMPLES:

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Monosodium glutamate MSG 621


Of the 131 ways in which glutamate flavour enhancers can be added to food,
only 12 are regulated and must appear as additives. The rest are hidden.


CLAIM:
the package often says ‘no added MSG’ - if the packaging says anywhere ‘no added MSG’ then it is very likely that there IS added MSG in another form.

INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR:

If the ingredients label includes any of 131 names in the following table (plus MSG), there MAY be free glutamates (which is the same as adding MSG).

There is CERTAINLY added MSG in one form or another if these appear: 627, 631, 635, ribonucleotides, nucleotides, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium 5'-ribonucleotides.

EXAMPLE:

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Processing Aids

The international Codex Committee on Food Additives have been asked by Japan to assess two enzymes which increase flavour enhancers inside foods without consumers ever knowing.

One will increase flavour enhancer 631 Disodium-5′-inosinate in foods but not appear on the label as they want it to be called a Processing Aid.

The second will convert the amino acid L-glutamine to flavour enhancer MSG L-glutamate to “in the manufacture of glutamic acid-rich yeast extracts...” This will also not appear on the label as they want to call it a Processing Aid.

It is clear that these enzymes are intended to perform a technological function. As consumers, we want to have these Processing Aids in daylight and on the label!

More details

How many ways can I legally add propionate? Let me count the ways...

One word (4 ways)

280, 281, 282, 283

Two words (15 ways)

propionic acid, sodium propionate, calcium propionate, potassium propionate, cultured wheat, cultured flour, cultured wheatflour, cultured dextrose, cultured whey, fermented wheat, fermented flour, fermented wheatflour, fermented dextrose, fermented whey, starter culture*

*in bread and gluten-free bread products

More about the effects of these additives on health, learning and behaviour

How can I legally add MSG (without saying MSG on the label)? Let me count the ways...

One word
(11 ways)

620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625, Flavour*, HPP, HVP, Ajinomoto, Yeast* (not baker’s yeast)

Two words (37 ways)

Ammonium glutamate, BBQ flavour, Calcium glutamate , Cheese powder, Chinese salt, Corn protein*, Flavour (gluten), Glutamic acid, Hydrolysed casein, Hydrolysed corn, Hydrolysed maize, Hydrolysed protein, Hydrolysed rice, Hydrolysed soy, Hydrolysed vegetable, Hydrolysed wheat, Hydrolysed yeast, Kelp extract, Magnesium glutamate, Maize protein*, Miso powder, Monoammonium glutamate, Monopotassium glutamate, Monosodium glutamate, Natural flavour*, Nutritional yeast, Plant protein*, Potassium glutamate, Rice protein*, Savoury yeast, Soy protein*, Soy sauce, Umami flavour, Vegetable extract, Vegetable protein*, Wheat protein*, Yeast extract.

Three words (63 ways)

Autolysed yeast extract, Natural flavour soy, Nutritional yeast extract, Savoury yeast flakes, Soy sauce powder, Vegetable extract (maize), Vegetable extract (soy), Vegetable extract (wheat), Yeast extract powder; plus any combination of the words below in groups of 3: Autolysed, Hydrolysed, or Lyophilised with Casein, Corn, Maize, Plant, Rice, Soy, Vegetable, Wheat, or Yeast with Extract or Protein eg Hydrolysed rice extract.

Four words (20 ways)

Dehydrated vegetable seasoning (corn), Dehydrated vegetable seasoning (maize), Dehydrated vegetable seasoning (rice), Dehydrated vegetable seasoning (soy), Dehydrated vegetable seasoning (wheat), , Flavour natural (contains corn), Flavour natural (contains maize), Flavour natural (contains rice), Flavour natural (contains soy), Flavour natural (contains wheat), Plant protein extract (corn), Plant protein extract (maize), Plant protein extract (rice), Plant protein extract (soy), Plant protein extract (wheat), Vegetable protein extract (corn), Vegetable protein extract (maize), Vegetable protein extract (rice), Vegetable protein extract (soy), Vegetable protein extract (wheat).

The list above comprises all legally regulated sources of glutamate, and all known ways in which free glutamates are currently or might be added in Australia and New Zealand, including several (*) which are clearly intended to mislead (eg natural flavour) but are in use by the food industry. In some cases, the presence of MSG-boosters 627, 631 or 635 on the ingredients label were taken as evidence that some other ingredient (eg soy protein) was in a form upon which the boosters could act.

More about the effects of these flavour enhancer additives


New Processing Aid applications

3’-Adenosine-5’-monophosphate deaminase from Aspergillus oryzae by Shin Nihon Chemical Co., Ltd. “AMP deaminase from Aspergillus oryzae is intended for use during food and beverage processing to increase the content of 5’-monophosphate (5’-IMP) in food, beverages or food ingredients to impart or enhance flavour”. See more on the “crystal meth of MSG” 

Glutaminase from Aspergillus niger by Shin Nihon Chemical Co., Ltd. “The enzyme catalyzes the conversion L-glutamine to L-glutamate, and is used in the manufacture of glutamic acid-rich yeast extracts and glutamic acid-rich protein hydrolysates. These, in turn, are added to other foods, including beverages, to impart savoury or umami taste”. See more on MSG and natural glutamates

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updated 14 November 2021