Just bought a seafood spice mix to go with the wild salmon that I microwaved for lunch (don't get me started!). It says: salt, spices, dehydrated garlic, paprika and dehydrated onion. What can the food companies include under "spices"?
Oh, whew! There is a box that says: All Natural, No MSG, No preservatives, Gluten Free. It's Chef Paul Prudhomme's - Magic Seasoning Blend - btw. But what if they hadn't stated that explicitly?
Just because it says "NO MSG" doesn't mean much. It may still have ingredients which act like MSG. Anything hydrolyzed, most extracts (yeast extract, spice extract) and most natural flavors, flavorings and spices contain free glutamate- which is essentially the same as MSG. Instead of adding straight monosodium glutamate they process ingredients in such a way (hydrolyze is one way) as to create free glutamic acid to get the desired effect without labeling.
The existing replies are correct: MSG can and often is hiding in "natural/artificial flavoring" or "hydrolyzed" anything. However, "spices" CANNOT include MSG, so your seafood spice mix should be MSG-free if those are the only listed ingredients.
I think that usually means "sugar" in some form...but best thing to do...buy your spices individually and just combine yourself ahead of time so you have them..then you ALWAYS know what's in them.Kind of a pain in the arse at first but once you've gotten them done it's wonderful!
Spices contain proteins. When not consumed FRESH they most definitely contain free glutamate. This is so because as foodstuffs age they begin to breakdown into their constituent elements. It is quite difficult to find FRESH spices unless they are in whole seed form and ground as needed. The issue isn't MSG (the most palatable form of glutamate) the issue is free glutamic acid, its prevalence in foods, and its rate of absorption. I twitch and sweat whenever I have anything with "spices" added (especially if it contains tomato sauce/puree/paste as tomatoes naturally contain free glutamic acid). Think down the road a few decades and ask yourself if you want to deal with dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, RLS (to name a few conditions that may result from excessive dietary exposure to free glutamic acid and which are, incidentally, being treated with glutamate blockers - ALS and schizophrenia are more extreme conditions that may result from the neurotoxic effects of unbound glutamate). Glutamic acid is a non-essential amino acid (meaning that the body can produce it on its own). Exposure to excessive dietary glutamate can cause nerve cells to fire UNTIL THEY DIE.
I wonder that too. Sometimes I look at something like a soup mix, which has NO dairy in the ingredients, but then on the bag it says "contains dairy." The only ambiguous ingredients are the "spices" so I guess it can mean anything!