An American pressure group is suing the Food and Drug Administration because the additive mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) is not required to be included on food labels.
The Truth in Labeling Campaign claims to represent millions of Americans who experience mild to life-threatening reactions to MSG.
The suit, which has been filed in federal court, asks for MSG to be listed on labels of all processed foods.
The campaign maintains that MSG is found in the new chickenpox vaccine and in various foods that even claim to be "MSG-free". Most canned tuna packed in water also contains MSG in hydrolyzed protein.
It also states that the FDA built its case about the safety of MSG on false evidence supplied by the glutamate industry. It reckons that up to 25 per cent of the population is MSG-sensitive, with reactions ranging from skin rash, hyperactivity, depression, irregular heartbeat, asthma and seizures (Townsend Letter for Doctors, November 1995).