Tag Archives: artificial flavors

Man Awarded $7.2 Million After Contracting “Popcorn Lung”

A federal court has awarded a Denver man $7.2 million because he contracted “popcorn lung” from microwave popcorn.

As reported by NPR’s food blog, “The Salt,” Wayne Watson – a furniture salesman from Denver, Colorado – claimed to have contracted “popcorn lung” from eating about two bags of Kroger brand microwave popcorn a day for about 10 years. “Popcorn lung” is a nickname for a serious respiratory illness. In Watson’s case, he says “popcorn lung” has left him with about 53 percent lung capacity.

The ingredient in the popcorn that’s being blamed is a chemical called diacetyl. Diacetyl is used in many foods to create a dairy flavor. Many who work in plants that produce the chemical have seen many forms of respiratory illnesses, however ,Watson is the only to have made a successful case regarding health issues from eating small amounts of the product. (more…)

Is MSG Bad for You? The Facts about Monosodium Glutamate Make for a Hung Jury

It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.

For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?

First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. (more…)