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Msg Ruled Safe For Nearly Everyone

Fri., Sept. 1, 1995, midnight

Although many people say they get sick from MSG, the flavor enhancer in Chinese food, the government concluded Thursday that it is safe for almost everyone and causes only mild, temporary reactions in a few people.

Scientific advisers to the Food and Drug Administration couldn’t determine just who would experience these reactions - generally headaches and numbness or tingling - but said some asthma patients may be more susceptible.

The report by the panel also declared that there is no scientific evidence that any “free glutamate,” the chemical family to which MSG belongs, causes or exacerbates severe diseases.

Still, the FDA said it would change the way some foods are labeled to include the free glutamate content, so that people who fear MSG and its relatives will know how much they’re eating.

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