Maggi ban: List of other foods with MSG

Updated at: May 25, 2015
Maggi ban: List of other foods with MSG

The 2-minute noodles 'Maggi' has come under regulatory scanner for containing added MSG in excess of the permissible limit; however, MSG is everywhere. Here is a list of foods with MSG that we should be wary of.

Ariba Khaliq
Exercise & FitnessWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: May 22, 2015

Maggi lovers may not be liking the sound of the news as our beloved Maggi could face a ban due to excessive amounts of monosodium glutamate (MSG) present. Trouble erupted when an English Daily's report published on May 16 stated that Maggi samples collected in some parts of Uttar Pradesh were found to be containing added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead in excess of the permissible limit.

The controversial ingredient which isn’t a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral and has absolutely no health benefits. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a form of the naturally occurring amino acid glutamate, and is used as a food additive to intensify taste of food. This flavour enhancer, originally extracted from seaweeds and used in Asian cuisines, has now become a common find in many food products.

It has been linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue and its habitual usage can increase your risk of obesity, ADHD, memory loss, liver disease and other pancreatic and psychological disorders. Though the instant noodle brand has taken to social media to clarify its stand and maintain that it is not being banned, and is safe to consume.

Breaking news: MSG is found in a lot of foods and most people are not even aware of it.

MSG Foods

It's Everywhere

Ask us the most well-known source of MSG, and we will tell you it’s your favourite Chinese restaurant. That doesn’t mean that those packets of processed, packaged and takeaway foods you conveniently grab don’t have it. They do—to enhance the flavour. Imagine it in abundance in your food supply.

Natural foods have MSG too so you must avoid those if you’re particularly sensitive.


A lot of fat-free and reduced-fat milks are made with powdered milk, which contains processed free glutamic acid (MSG). It is because pasteurization of these milks affects MSG content in them. “Ultra-pasteurized” varieties are especially risky because the higher temperatures break down more milk protein, resulting in more processed-free glutamic acid.

Unfortunately, even organic whole milks aren’t safe from additional MSG either. Granted, the label doesn’t specifically state that ingredient. All of the following dairy products may contain MSG:

  • Ultra Pasteurized Products
  • Powdered Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Fat-free Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Reduced Fat Milk
  • Ice Cream


Packaged and Processed Foods

You name it and we shall tell you that all your favourite junk foods have MSG in it: Potato chips, frozen dinners, cold cuts, ready-to-eat gravies, salad dressings, salty flavoured snacks, and the list goes on until you’re convinced. And honestly, MSG is added to so many packaged and processed foods that it is nearly impossible to name them all here.

Of course you will forget this list by the time you have your next shopping trip, so keep your guard up and read food labels to check for suspicious ingredients. If the food labels list ingredients like hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, glutamic acid and yeast extract, avoid buying them because they contain MSG. Fermented packaged foods such as soy sauce are also culprits.

Restaurants and MSG

That fatty burger and fried chicken that you absolutely can’t avoid even for all your weight issues should now be scrutinised for more lethal effects on your body. Fast-food restaurants commonly use MSG to enhance flavour of anything from chicken nuggets to the seasonings used on some French fries. Even dine-in restaurants may use MSG to flavour their food.

Foods with MSG

You certainly don’t want to experience headache, numbness, chest pain and sweating after eating those foods. So, eat at the restaurants that advertise "No MSG" on their menu. If it's not mentioned, inquire before ordering.

Baby Formulas and Baby Foods

Jaw dropping? Yes it is. The food industry employs its usual tactic in the face of consumer criticism with MSG, especially with baby food. They buried it under new names. Most powdered infant formulas contain some of the following ingredients including processed milk and or/soy proteins, enzymatically hydrolyzed reduced minerals, whey protein concentrate, corn syrup solids, casein hydrolysate, modified corn starch, and carrageenan, which are broken down into MSG during the manufacturing process.

Natural Food Culprits

Free glutamate could be present in some foods, which is a result of protein breakdown. This free glutamate may combine with free sodium and create MSG. If you're particularly sensitive you might need to avoid foods with naturally-occurring MSG. These foods include potatoes, peas, tomatoes and tomato juice, mushrooms, grapes, grape juice and other fruit juices, as well as cheeses such as Parmesan and Rocquefort. However, we will advice that before cutting out on these otherwise healthy foods unnecessarily, assess your tolerance first.

Since, all pre-packaged food products contain MSG, the only way to avoid it is by cooking your own food rather than eating out and purchasing frozen meals. You should also carefully examine all your food labels—considering the damage MSG can do to your body, the inconvenience may be worth it.

Image Source: Getty/

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