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A letter answered from Arby's

Battling the MSG Myth » Sharing Ideas, Suggestions, and Information » A letter answered from Arby's « Previous Next »

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Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 7:07 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Am I to assume that your ingredients under the name disguised as Natural Flavor is MSG??
Many suffer under this "food additive" and it would be nice to know for sure that this is not MSG!
Why dont you clearly state what this is?

Any feedback would be appriciated.
Thank you,

patrick "


Dear Patrick,
Thank you for contacting Arby's.
For any item which contains MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), it is listed exactly as such in the ingredient statement.
The following items served in Arby's restaurants list monosodium glutamate (MSG) among the ingredients:
1. Italian Sub Sauce (served on Arby's Roast Beef Sub & Arby's Italian Sub)
2. Creamy Ranch Spread (served on Arby's Market Fresh Roast Turkey, Ranch & Bacon)
3. Hidden Valley Ranch(R) Dressing - Hidden Valley brand salad dressing may be served in some Arby's restaurants.
4. Fish Fillet (served on Arby's Fish Sandwich, seasonal item Feb/March)

Arby's Roast Beef does not contain MSG.

The wording "Natural Flavors" is not meant to disguise anything. As we obtain our ingredient statements for each product from the supplier who makes it, usually "natural flavors" or "spices" is used in regard to proprietary ingredients that are confidential. This phrase is used by most food suppliers. We are more than happy to assist you in finding out if any of the "natural flavor" ingredients are on your list of sensitivities. You can reply directly to this email with your needs and we will do our best to get you all the information in a timely manner. As we do need to request the information from the supplier in most cases, we do ask for your patience. Sometimes it can take up to a week or more for us to get this information back following a request.
Again, thank you for your time and I hope we can assist you in the future.


Arby's Customer Service
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 7:58 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Patrick, I know the people at the butcher shop I get my meat from. When I asked them about their Italian sausage, they told me that it did not contain MSG. They said they used a prepackaged mix (with natural flavors) of seasonings that they added to their own pork. I asked if I could see the package and I was shocked by what they considered natural besides the oregano, fennel, salt, and pepper. There was lactic acid, citric acid, dextrose, autolyzed yeast...but what the average person who answers our company inquiries doesn't understand, is that free glutamate is present in such proprietary substances.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 8:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol, what can you tell us about Proprietary ingredients? How in the world can a company be allowed to add things that don't have to be labeled just because they are proprietary? What if they contain substances that harm the chemically sensitive? Sure, they are protecting their secret ingredients so that other food companies don't copy, but that means they are hiding it from the poor consumer.
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005 - 5:33 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Proprietary is the buzz word used by food manufacturers that means the same as "secret recipe". The secret Coke formula, etc. Usually they can get away with it by using words like spices, flavorings, etc. It lets them do the same thing that someones annoying aunt will do when asked for her award winning Irish Soda Bread recipe. Basically "I ain't tellin'" They don't patent their recipes, hence the secrecy. Since most food manufacturers do not consider free glutamic acid a problem, I think even asking them about what is in their products will result in frustration. I have been to the food conventions where chemical companies hawk their wares. The food scientists who walk by the tables who get hooked by chemical companies into formulating with these jars of pastes and powders have no clue what's in them. They are like women at the cosmetic counter trying out the latest shade or fragrance of this or that. They are shown by the counter girl how to apply the makeup, but they don't really know what's in it - nor do they seem to care.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 8:31 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks so much, Carol. I knew you'd be able to help me understand that better. And the comparison to cosmetics was excellent! :-)
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 11:17 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unfortunately, secrecy is the key word. Food companies rely more on secrecy than patents because when you patent an idea, recipe, whatever, you must detail exactly how you make your product. In the food industry it takes two years to roll out a new product, timing is everything, and patents don't last forever. People remember the first product out in the market place - being first will ensure people remember your brand name and not the other guy who comes after you, with or without a patent. And, when the patent runs out after a set number of years, you don't have dibs on your own product anymore - even if you invented it in the first place. Some secret recipes are passed down for generations. In order to be first and not let the competition know how you work your magic, you have to keep secrets. When I worked at M&M/Mars, at Lipton, and at American Home Products I had to sign many secrecy agreements. The ingredient amounts, the process, and the equipment were proprietary information. It 's like in the Willy Wonka movie. Not as silly, but you get the point. When people would ask me how we made M&M's I would say "I would tell you but then I'd have to kill you..." :-) We actually even had code names for new products. Fortunately the new allergen law was passed. The food companies have to list 9 or 10 foods in plain English (Contains WHEAT or MILK etc.) that cause 90% of food allergies. They think this covers them, and it does help folks like me with food allergies, but it does not help my boyfriend Eric who gets asthma attacks from MSG. At least they recognize that gluten is an issue for people, but until the FDA follows their own advice and forces companies to list the free glutamic acid content, we will be in the dark, especially due to the proprietary nature of "secret recipes".
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2005 - 1:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had to share this e mail I received yesterday. I hope the sender doesn't mind, but I felt it would lift your spirits and let you know about the positive results of all our efforts. It brought tears to my eyes (and Mike's, too).
"Hello Debby,

I can't THANK YOU enough for writing this book. You have completely turned our lives upside down and reversed everything that we were taught our entire lives growing up. I/we have always been taught that the foods tha we have been eating were good for us. And although most of them were, a lot were not. Looking back to the birth of our son and what he has experienced his entire 5 years it just all makes sense now. Whenever we tried to give him food that was processed he would throw up or get really mean after eating it. From the age 18 months on he has always had an attention span difficulty. It wasn't that he was hard I didn't know how hard he was until after I had the girls and couldn't pay as much attention to him as before. He started to get into trouble every time I turned around. In his speech class the last quarter the teachers were watching him for ADHD. He just turned 4 - it just didn't make sense! I started to talk to my husband and read on nutrition and how that could be the link. But I just didn't know how to go about starting. My husband ordered your book and that gave us the power to get our son and my life under control. I felt as though (at times) of how horrible of a mom I was because I felt like such a failure as a parent. I didn't like who my son was becoming, my husband I felt lost because when he came home from work our son would act negatively to get his attention. Since we have been on your diet probably 95% of the time our son is a blessing to be around. I have him back!! I have only talked to you one time and I feel that you have touched our lives in such a positive way that I can only cry and say thank you so much. Ronan has suffered from severe stomach cramps that would double him over in pain at school that they had to contact me at home to come and get him because the teachers have never seen a child in that much pain before. He has been to our pediatric doctor who then sent us to a pediatric GI specialist who inturn did a test to find out if he had any ulcers in the stomach or in the Esophagus tube. Well he did end up having inflammation in the esophagus tube. Not a lot but enough to cause pain. The pediatric GI Specialist put him on pain medicine and prevacid 15 mg a day. We only gave him tylenol for pain and the prevacid. The stomach pain didn't go away and every time I turned around he was in more and more pain. I cried right along with him because there was nothing I could do for him I didn't know why he was in all this pain. The Pediatric GI Specialist moved up his prevacid to 30 mg which was the same amount I was taking. I did that for about 4 weeks and stopped using it. That amount was ok for an adult but I felt it was to much for a small child. That's when I got the books and was checking into ADHD. But my husband found you and we decided to try it. We started it and you have just been a blessing.
He's just completely different and doesn't complain of his stomach hurting anymore. I on the other hand feel that a lot of my problems are because of MSG I have severe migraines and I think that my TMJ that I have is due to the MSG that I have consumed for the past 30 years is to blame. I am off almost all medications. I just want to let you know also that I have a set of girls twins and one is completely healthy the other one is my sick little one. She's had 4 ear tube replacements, Her adnoids removed, she had reflux in the uriter (the tube that connects the bladder and the kidney), With all of this she's allergic to all sulpha drugs and all pennacillins she was on Furadantin for about a year so that she wouldn't get any more infections and so far it's worked. We went to the dr and she had a VCUG and a Renal Ultrasound and she has no more reflux. I believe that it's because we try to follow your diet the best we can. I know I've said it before but I'll say it again Thank you to you and Mike. You have truly inspired myself and my husband Patrick to do good for ourselves and our family. I do have to go because if I don't I'm going to start crying and babbling on and on. Please take care and I hope to speak to you on your message board that you've started. I Love You and May God Bless You!!"
Boy, messages like that make me so happy. Imagine what that little boy has been going through and multiply that by so many more children whose parents are in so much turmoil. I keep hoping for the day when I'm out of a "job" educating and warning the public about MSG. Until then, we keep doing what we can. Thanks to all of you who are involved in this cause...her thanks to me are my thanks to you, too.
Dr. Greg Carpenter
Posted on Saturday, October 01, 2005 - 7:52 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does your Roast Beef Have Hydrolyzed Vegatable Protein?

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