September 25, 2023

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TikTok conspiracy theorist fights MSG misinformation for Ajinomoto

MSG began getting a bad reputation in the 1960s when a small group of doctors blamed it for causing them to experience numbness, headaches and palpitations after eating Chinese food. The published reports fueled Chinese xenophobia and many Americans began associating MSG with being dangerous, even though it is “generally recognized as safe,” according to the FDA.

MSG isn’t just found in Chinese restaurants, either, but also in fast food, condiments, pizza and other products. 

This isn’t the first time Ajinomoto, a Japanese company, has fought against the misconceptions about MSG. In January 2020, it tried to persuade Merriam Webster to update the entry, “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome,” the umbrella term for that numbness, headaches and palpitations doctors wrote about. The entry includes a disclaimer that the term is “dated” and “sometimes offensive.”


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