Call for clear labels that reveal the hidden chemicals
WOOLGOOLGA-based food researcher and 2010 NSW Senior Australian of the Year Sue Dengate has launched an online petition to prevent food processors from hiding monosodium glutamate (MSG) in food by listing it as a "processing aid."
The application is expected to be considered by Food Standards Australia New Zealand in early June.
MSG can cause serious health effects including migraine and headaches, rapid heartbeat, arthritis, sleeplessness, weight gain and poor memory.
Sue's husband, food scientist Dr Howard Dengate said there were two things wrong with the enzyme the processor wanted to use.
First it considerably increased the level of free glutamates in the food, making it more strongly flavoured because it increased the MSG which many people sought to avoid.
Second it would never be shown on the label.
"If this enzyme is approved and hidden, there will be many more used to manufacture currently regulated food preservatives inside your food so that they are not listed on the label.
"You will have no idea that there are propionate or benzoate preservatives hidden in the food.
You will have no idea that the free glutamates have been vastly increased then boosted further with hidden ribonucleotides.
"And the label may legally say no MSG or no added MSG or no preservatives."
A voluntary consumer advocate for 27 years, Sue Dengate lobbies for awareness of the effects of harmful food additives and the use of safer alternatives.
She is the author of the best-selling Fed Up series of books which explores the effect of chemicals in foods on health, behaviour and learning.
Sue and Howard Dengate also run the international Food Intolerance Network, and post-approval monitoring of food additives.
Sue's petition to the food authority, Reject a new way of hiding MSG in foods, can be found on change.org