- In the 1970s, reluctant food processors "voluntarily"
took processed free glutamic acid (MSG) out of baby food. Today it's back,
in fertilizers called "Omega Protein Refined/Hydrolyzed Fish Emulsion"
and "Steam Hydrolyzed Feather Meal," both of which contain hydrolyzed
proteins; and in a product called AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro)
produced by Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation), which
contains both hydrolyzed protein(s) and "monosodium glutamate."
AuxiGro is being sprayed on some of the vegetables we and our children
will eat, into the air we and our children must breath, and onto the ground
from which it can move into drinking water. Head lettuce, leaf lettuce,
tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts were among the first crops targeted. On
September 12, 2000, the Auxein Corporation Web site gave the following
- Crops registered include: Celery; Fresh Market Cucumbers;
Edible Navy and Pinto Beans; Grapes; Bulb Onions; Bell, Green and Jalapeno
Peppers; Iceberg Head Lettuce; Romaine and Butter Leaf Lettuce; Peanuts;
Potatoes; Snap Beans; Strawberries; Processing Tomatoes; Fresh Tomatoes;
- Today, there is no crop that we know of that has not
been approved for treatment with MSG by the U.S. Environmental Protection
- Even in California -- the only state where there are
any restrictions on the use of AuxiGro -- AuxiGro has been approved for
use on a number of crops, and Emerald BioAgriculture continues to push
for more. Field tests in California have been -- and may continue to be
-- conducted on a variety of crops, and those AuxiGro treated crops may
be sold in the open market without revealing that they have been treated.
We can't tell you which crops those are because the CDPR has refused to
send records of test trials (which are public information) to the Truth
in Labeling Campaign.
- As of June 13, 2002, AuxiGro was registered for use in
California on tomatoes, almonds, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines,
peaches, prunes, grapes (including grapes to be used in wine), and onions.
At that time, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation said they
were not aware of any testing of AuxiGro for use on other crops. They also
said that they did not have any proposals presently in house to register
additional crops for AuxiGro. It would appear, however, that what the CDPR
said was not true, for the CDPR subsequently announced that Emerald BioAgriculture
had applied for permission to use AuxiGro on tomatoes (new use), and on
melons (new crop) -- and, to the best of our knowledge, approval is always
preceded by field testing.
- On July 7, 2004, Emerald BioAgriculture requested approval
of use of AuxiGro as a desiccant, disinfectant, fertilizer, fungicide,
growth regulator - for increased yield and prevention of powdery mildew
in various crops such as almonds, grapes, and melons. They also asked to
add cole crops (including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower,
kale, collards, turnips, rutabaga, mustard, watercress, and kohlrabi) to
the list of crops approved for AuxiGro use.
- Approval for use on organic crops--in all states--has
- What's wrong with using glutamic acid, an amino acid
found in protein, as a spray on crops?
- - In protein, amino acids are found in balanced combinations.
Use of free glutamic acid as a spray on crops throws the amino acid balance
out of kilter.
- - It's not the glutamic acid found in protein that is
being sprayed on crops, it's a synthetic product. The spray being used
most widely is called AuxiGro. The "free glutamic acid" or so
called "L-glutamic acid" component being used by its manufacturer,
Emerald BioAgriculture, contains L-glutamic acid, an amino acid found in
protein; but it also contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other
chemicals referred to in the industry as "contaminants." The
free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is processed free glutamic acid. It
is manufactured -- in chemical plants -- where certain selected genetically
engineered bacteria -- feeding on a liquid nutrient medium -- excrete the
free glutamic acid they synthesize outside of their cell membrane into
the liquid medium in which they are grown. In contrast, the free glutamic
acid found in protein, and the free glutamic acid involved in normal human
body function, are unprocessed. free glutamic acid, and contain no contaminants.
- - No one knows what the long term effects of spraying
processed free glutamic acid on crops will be.
- - That the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be
absorbed into the body of the plant and into the fruit, nuts, seeds, or
vegetable it produces seems undeniable. If it were not, the plant would
not be stimulated to grow. Neither Emerald BioAgriculture or the EPA will
address this issue.
- - That there will be residue left on crops has not been
disputed by Emerald BioAgriculture. But no study of either the amount of
that residue, or the least amount of processed free glutamic acid needed
to cause a reaction in an MSG-sensitive person, has ever been done. "It
should wash off" doesn't mean it will wash off. "It seems unlikely
that such a small amount would cause a reactions" doesn't mean that
a small amount will not cause a reaction or have long term health effects.
- - Free glutamic acid is known to be toxic to the nervous
system. But the neurotoxic effects that processed free glutamic acid will
have on animals that consume the plants on which it is sprayed - effects
over and above any effects caused by external glutamic acid residue - have
never been evaluated. Neither are there data on the effects that spraying
processed free glutamic acid will have on drinking water.
- - Consider, also, that children are most at risk from
the effects of processed free glutamic acid. Their undeveloped blood-brain
barriers leave them most at risk from exposure to processed free glutamic
acid. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that infant animals fed processed
free glutamic acid when young develop neuroendocrine problems such as gross
obesity, stunted growth, and reproductive disorders later in life, and
that they also develop learning disabilities. Emerald BioAgriculture did
not address that particular safety issue in its application to the EPA.
- - No one knows how little glutamic acid is needed to
kill a single brain cell or to trigger an adverse reaction.
- - Free glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter. It causes
nerves to fire, carrying nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.
- - Free glutamic acid is a neurotoxin. Under certain circumstances,
free glutamic acid will cause nerves to fire repeatedly, until they die.
- - Processed free glutamic acid kills brain cells. The
free glutamic acid ingested by laboratory animals that caused brain lesions
and neuroendocrine disorders was very often given in the form of the food
ingredient "monosodium glutamate." "Monosodium glutamate"
is the name of a particular food additive. Processed free glutamic acid
is the reactive component in "monosodium glutamate," just as
processed free glutamic acid is a reactive component in AuxiGro.
- The glutamate industry research done in the 1970s that
was submitted to the EPA by the Auxein Corporation, that pretended to find
that processed free glutamic acid is "safe," has been long refuted
by independent scientists. Indeed, at the present time, neuroscientists
attempting to develop drugs to block the toxic effects of free glutamic
acid are using processed free glutamic acid to selectively kill certain
kinds of brain cells.
- - Processed free glutamic acid causes neuroendocrine
disorders in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid
early in life.
- - Processed free glutamic acid causes learning disorders
in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid early in life.
- - Processed free glutamic acid crosses the placental
barrier and causes learning disabilities in animal offspring of dams that
- - Processed free glutamic acid has access to the brain
through the blood-brain barrier, which is not impervious to the unregulated
flow of processed free glutamic acid. The blood-brain barrier is immature
at birth and may continue to develop up to puberty. In certain areas called
the circumventricular organs, the blood barrier is never impervious to
the unregulated flow of free glutamic acid. In addition, the blood-brain
barrier is easily damaged by such events as high fever, a blow to the head,
drug use, stroke, ingestion of processed free glutamic acid, and the normal
process of aging.
- - The National Institutes of Health recognize glutamic
acid as being associated with addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative
disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and ALS, brain
trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
- - For years, free glutamic acid has been produced and
used in food additives with names such as monosodium glutamate, sodium
caseinate, and hydrolyzed soy protein. In some people, the processed free
glutamic acid in food additives causes adverse reactions that include migraine
headache, asthma, arrhythmia, tachycardia, nausea and vomiting, depression,
and disorientation. The processed free glutamic acid in prescription and
non-prescription drugs, food supplements, and cosmetics can also cause
- There are badly flawed industry-sponsored studies that
have pretended to find that processed free glutamic acid does not cause
adverse reactions. Inappropriate procedures used by the glutamate industry
have included limiting subjects to people virtually guaranteed not to be
sensitive to processed free glutamic acid, and/or using processed free
glutamic acid or other similarly reactive substances in placebos as well
as in test material. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has based its
claim that processed free glutamic acid causes only mild and transitory
reactions on those badly flawed industry-sponsored studies.
- - Even the EPA admits that the food additive called "monosodium
glutamate" causes adverse reactions.
- - Even the FDA admits that the food additive "monosodium
glutamate" contains processed free glutamic acid.
- - Even the FDA admits that many consumers refer to all
free glutamic acid as "MSG."
- The EPA's approvals of use of MSG in agriculture are
simple, straightforward, and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and
- In reviewing the application of Auxein Corporation (now
Emerald BioAgriculture) for use of processed free glutamic acid in a spray
to be applied to crops as they grow, the EPA failed to conform to the requirements
of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which require, in part, that
the EPA review any proposed action for validity, completeness, reliability,
and relationship to human risk. The EPA also ignored Executive Order 13045
which requires government agencies to consider available information concerning
the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of
consumers, including infants and children. For example, Auxein Corporation
sent the EPA 14 industry-sponsored toxicological studies from the literature,
all done in the 1970's, but failed to mention hundreds of studies in the
literature that refuted those 14 studies. Auxein Corporation even failed
to send the EPA independent studies that appeared in the same book(s) as
the industry-sponsored studies sent to the EPA. For example, although processed
free glutamic acid causes brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders in
infant animals, this special hazard faced by infants was ignored by Auxein
Corporation. It would appear that Auxein Corporation restricted its consideration
of "available information" to information made available by the
glutamate industry; and the EPA, even after having been sent abstracts
from other "available information," has not challenged the Auxein
Corporation applications. A more complete discussion of the shortcomings
of the EPA approvals granted to Auxein Corporation has been submitted to
- Questions about the safety of spraying processed free
glutamic acid on plants and into the environment have been raised by the
Truth in Labeling Campaign and by individual consumers. The EPA has refused
to address those concerns. The EPA, and, in particular, EPA spokesperson
Dr. Janet Andersen, has failed to respond to allegations that in approving
the spraying of processed free glutamic acid, the EPA failed to consider
the reliability, validity, and completeness of the Auxein Corporation application
or comply with Executive Order 13045 entitled Protection of Children from
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, except to say that the EPA
had complied with executive order 13045. Moreover, while responding to
letters that asked direct questions of the EPA, Andersen failed to respond
to most, if not all, of the direct questions contained in those letters.
- AuxiGro, the first MSG-laced plant "growth enhancer"
to hit the market, has been approved for spraying on every crop we know
of, with no restrictions on the amount of processed free glutamic acid
(MSG) that may remain in and/or on crops when brought to market. Even before
consumers had an inkling that crops were being sprayed, the Truth in Labeling
Campaign received reports that MSG-sensitive consumers had gotten sick
from head lettuce and potatoes.
- Federal Register notices chronicling the application
and approval of processed free glutamic acid are available on the Web via
GPO Access, the Federal Register, through: <http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html>http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
Application for approval of use of AuxiGro was made to the EPA in 1997.
Testing of the product was also approved in that year, and many of the
test crops sprayed with AuxiGro were brought to market without notifying
consumers. Glutamic acid was granted an exemption from establishment of
a tolerance limit in January, 1998. AuxiGro was also approved for use on
a number of crops in January, 1998, and approved for use on other crops
later. No announcement of these approvals was made in the Federal Register.
- Due to a technical glitch in the system, the glutes came
to need one more approval to make their California registrations work.
The glutes were asking for AuxiGro to be approved for use as a fungicide
in California, but the EPA had only approved AuxiGro for use as a pesticide
produce or plant growth enhancer. And when application was made for this
addition to their approvals, the application was brought to our attention;
and the Truth in Labeling Campaign filed a formal protest to this approval
of AuxiGro. <http://truthinlabeling.org/msg-objection-s1.html>The
Formal Objection of the Truth in Labeling Campaign was filed on August
16, 2001 with the EPA.
- By law, formal objections filed in a timely manner must
be responded to within six months. Also, by law (we were told) even though
the Final Rule had not been promulgated, this additional use of AuxiGro
would be considered approved unless and until the EPA determined that it
should be otherwise. In July, 2004, we received a conference call from
Dr. Andersen and a number of other EPA players, including an EPA lawyer
-- a "courtesy call" telling us that our objections had been
discounted and that the Final Rule allowing use of AuxiGro as a fungicide
would be published shortly in the Federal Register.
- What's wrong at the EPA?
- Neither the EPA nor Janet Andersen, Ph.D., director of
the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), are stupid.
Rather, all evidence would appear to suggest that the EPA, which is charged
with protecting the health of Americans, says it is protecting the health
of Americans, when in fact the EPA acts to protect the bottom line of big
business. Don't think for a moment that MSG is the only toxin unleashed
on the American public by the EPA. Let the words "methyl parathion"
and "DDT" jog your memory.
- The EPA, in granting the chemical referred to as "L-glutamic
acid" an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues
of "L-glutamic acid" on all food commodities when applied/used
in accordance with good agricultural practices (thereby allowing unrestricted
amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) residue to remain in and
on any and all food crops that come under the EPA's jurisdiction) violated
Section 408(c)(2)(A)(i), Section 408(c)(2)(ii), Section 408(c)(2)(B), and
Section 408(b)(2)(D) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
- Neither "L-Glutamic Acid and Gamma Aminobutyric
Acid; Exemptions from the Requirement of a Tolerance; Final Rule"
(Federal Register June 21, 2001) nor "Glutamic Acid; Pesticide Tolerance
Exemption; Final Rule" (Federal Register January 7, 1998), which preceded
it, met the criteria established by law for granting exemptions from the
restriction of a tolerance.
- How did spokesperson Andersen excuse the fact that the
EPA approved processed free glutamic acid for use in an EPA approved spray?
First, said Andersen, the free glutamic acid used in the spray is naturally
occurring, and it's 99.3 per cent pure pharmaceutical grade L-glutamic
acid. Yet, in admitting that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro is not 100
per cent pure L-glutamic acid, and that it is pharmaceutical grade, Andersen
contradicted herself, and actually made the point that 1) if the free glutamic
acid used in AuxiGro were truly natural, it wouldn't be "pharmaceutical
grade;" and 2) if the free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro were truly
natural it would be 100 per cent, not 99.3 per cent pure L-glutamic acid.
- Andersen said something else very interesting. She said
that the EPA is well aware of the fact that MSG causes adverse reactions.
However, when Andersen used the term "MSG" she was referring
to the one food ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," and
not to the free glutamic acid in "monosodium glutamate" that
causes adverse reactions. Failure to define terms, asAnderson did (and
does) so handily, is both deceptive and misleading.
- What Andersen did is very clever. What she said makes
no sense at all. No one has ever claimed that the processed free glutamic
acid in AuxiGro comes out of a box labeled "monosodium glutamate."
So for her to say it doesn't, is meaningless. On the other hand, the claim
has been made that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro will cause the same
brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, adverse reactions and other diverse
disease conditions that are caused by the free glutamic acid in "monosodium
glutamate" and the other food additives that contain processed free
glutamic acid. That claim is true, but Andersen does not address it. How
do you refute someone who ignores legitimate questions and spews out irrelevant
statements as though they pertained to your legitimate questions? You don't.
The EPA defense of its approval of use of processed free glutamic acid
in plant "growth enhancers" and its registration of AuxiGro has
two parts to it: 1) ignoring those who question EPA actions, and 2) making
the irrelevant statement that AuxiGro does not contain MSG (monosodium
- Neither Andersen nor anyone else at the EPA ever addressed
the criticism that approvals given by the EPA to allow the use of free
glutamic acid and the product AuxiGro were inappropriate.
- The EPA, which approved the used of processed free glutamic
acid in plant "growth enhancers," made a grievous error. But
instead of recognizing and remedying that error once it was pointed out
to them, the EPA began a cover-up. That cover-up included use of ambiguous
words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to consumers. The
cover-up continued (and continues still) with a variation of those ambiguous
words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to legislators
who inquire about spraying MSG into the environment.
- You might find the Emerald BioAgriculture sales literature
- Sales literature promoting AuxiGro was once found on
their Web site, but is now long gone. While Federal Register notices included
the fact that there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro, the
sales literature from Auxein Corporation did not mention the fact that
their product contains free glutamic acid until the Truth in Labeling Campaign
began to broadcast that information. In November, 1999, Auxein added deceptive,
misleading, and untrue statements in an elaboration of its Product Page,
wherein they essentially make the untrue assertion that the glutamic acid
used in AuxiGro is chemically and biologically identical to that found
in plants and animals.
- Sales literature did (on September 12, 2000), however,
contain the following:
- "PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS
- HAZARDS TO HUMAN AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAUTION"
- If you think you might be reacting to AuxiGro sprayed
on crops, you might want to try to (contact Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly
Auxein Corporation) at the addresses that follow. (A friend recently told
us that he tried to contact them by e-mail, but his e-mail was returned
unopened.) By law, the company is required to forward reports of adverse
reactions to the EPA. You might want to ask the EPA if Emerald BioAgriculture
- John L. Mclntyre, Ph.D.
- President & CEO
- Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation)
- 3125 Sovereign Drive, Ste. B
- Lansing, MI 48911-4240
- Phone (888) 828-9346
- Fax (517) 882-7521
- (From time to time, their web page, http://www.auxein.com
, can be accessed by password only.)
- Please feel free to copy and distribute this material,
including our Web address, for those who might be interested.