Sunday, August 25, 2013
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg
An open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg....
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I applaud you for taking steps to combat heart disease and obesity within your jurisdiction. It is hoped that the nation will follow suit to eliminate trans-fats and reduce its intake of soda.
The next logical step would be for you to eliminate monosodium glutamate or MSG. MSG is a chemical that’s used in medical research to bring about obesity and pre-diabetes in laboratory animals. It’s also a ubiquitous flavor enhancer used in processed and prepared foods and even some beverages. It’s designed to stimulate the appetite. If a food is described “crave-worthy” or “you can’t eat only one” it most likely contains MSG. Also, MSG can cause seizures in certain individuals.
MSG can be present in foods without it being listed as an ingredient. The FDA allows food processors to omit MSG from the ingredients list if they use an ingredient that contains less than 79% MSG. A list of additives that contain MSG can be found here.
It would be wonderful if you could manage to eliminate all MSG from food. But all fast food restaurants and most dine-in restaurant chains would fight this because they’d have to recreate their menus. They’d have to replace substandard meat, fish and poultry and stale, anemic produce, with fresh, wholesome ingredients. They would no longer be able to quickly provide palatable food at their current low prices.
So instead of eliminating MSG, I would propose a new labeling standard. All restaurant menu items and packaged food sold in NYC that contain MSG must clearly be labeled as having MSG. Plus, the label should include text that describes MSG as “a chemical additive that stimulates appetite and causes obesity, diabetes and, in some individuals, seizures.”
I invite you to research the matter. Once you do, I’m confident that you will take measures to improve the food in NYC as well as the health of NYC residents and visitors.
Square Peg Guy
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was listed as one of Martha Stewart’s Food Visionaries, as published in the November, 2012 issue of Whole Living, which was subsumed into Martha Stewart Living in March.