It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I have just seen your website for the first time and I certainly find it interesting. I am sure that I will be trying some of your recipes. I couldn't help but notice an advertisement for Campbell's Soups, most of which contain MSG. As a person who is severely allergic to MSG, what is your take on advertising such products?
This is always a difficult question. We do fund our web site through advertising and we work hard to monitor what ads are displayed. For example, we do not allow ads for pharmaceutical products, supplements or fast food products, and if they do creep in we remove them as soon as they are identified. Campbell's does have some soups that are advertised on the site through an advertising network that we use. In one recipe on the web site I even use one of their products in a Tuna Noodle Casserole. This is from their Healthy Requests line and does not contain any MSG by their report.
Some of their soups do contain MSG and this can be a problem - not just from the standpoint of the amount of added sodium, but also because of issues like yours. While I am not allergic, I do have what I feel are some mild reactions to too much MSG (I don't eat at very many Asian restaurants as a result). Allergies are a serious issue for some, but our allowing Campbell's to advertise is the same as allowing Planter's nuts to advertise. There are many people who are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts as well as other ingredients, but our blocking advertising for every allergy or adverse reaction is simply not practical.
Folks with true allergies are cautious about ingredients and it's great that you are paying attention. We have responded by offering folks the ability to use The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan and eliminate fish, shellfish and nut allergies, for example. We have not added the ability to block MSG because products that are specified in dishes were not found to contain MSG during testing of the recipes.
Thanks for your nice words about the Dr. Gourmet website and we so much appreciate your question.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP