I hadn’t given much thought to Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein before today. Really, I don’t think I knew it existed and I am still having a hard time pronouncing it. But here we are with a recall of this substance that turns out is in tons and tons of processed foods. It is a common flavor enhancer like MSG, OH WAIT A MINUTE it is MSG, sort of.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, commonly referred to as HVP, is a vegetable protein (soy, corn, wheat) that has been broken down into its component amino acids by boiling it in a strong acid or base solution, or using an enzyme to stimulate the naturally occurring hydrolytic process; then neutralized in a solution with sodium hydroxide. This chemical breakdown of the protein results in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form monosodium glutamate (MSG). It looks like a dark colored liquid that is then used as a flavor enhancer in many commonly used foods like soups, bouillon, dressings, dips, seasoning packets, stews, chili , hot dogs and more. So when a food processor adds HVP to the foods being processed, they don’t have to list MSG as an ingredient..sneaky.
So now one of the biggest manufacturers of HVP, Basic Food Flavors, Inc. of Las Vegas, NV, has reported that Salmonella (Salmonella Tennessee) has been found in the processing plant and batches of this HVP have tested positive for Salmonella Tennessee. This has resulted in a massive recall of all products that are made with the HVP from this plant. Authorities are predicting tens of thousands of products will be recalled making it the largest food recall in American history.
“This situation clearly underscores the need for new food safety legislation to equip FDA with the tools we need to prevent contamination," said Dr. Jeff Farrar, associate commissioner for food protection, FDA’s Office of Foods. I say the situation clearly underscores the need for Americans to stop eating processed foods. If it wasn’t the Salmonella that got you, then it would be something else. Can HVP be good for you? How many food items is HVP an ingredient and I didn’t even know to look? In an effort to eat foods as close to their natural form, where does Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein come in?
FDA: Recall Product Information ListBeth Ann Bentley is the publisher of iLunchBox.com, a nutrition educator and the mother of four school aged children.