MSG in Chinese food isn't unhealthy -- you're just racist, activists say

A jar of Ajinomoto MSG (monosodium glutamate) seasoning.

(CNN)If you've heard of the term "MSG," you might have also heard of its common -- but inaccurate -- connotations.

For years, monosodium glutamate, a food additive known as MSG, has been branded as an unhealthy processed ingredient mainly found in Chinese food, despite a lack of supporting scientific evidence.
This perception, which activists argue is outdated and racist, is so widespread that the Merriam-Webster dictionary has an entry for the term "Chinese restaurant syndrome" -- a type of condition that allegedly affects people eating "Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate," with symptoms like dizziness and palpitations.
Now, activists have launched a campaign called "Redefine CRS." Headed by Japanese food and seasoning company Ajinomoto, the online campaign urges Merriam-Webster to change its entry to reflect the scientific consensus on MSG -- and the impact of misinformation on the American public's perception of Asian cuisine.
    Japanese company Ajinomoto produces MSG seasoning and spice mixes.
    "To this day, the myth around MSG is ingrained in America's consciousness, with Asian food and culture still receiving unfair blame," said the company in its campaign website. "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome isn't just scientifically false — it's xenophobic."
    In a video released by Ajinomoto, several Asian American figures, restaurateurs, and medical professionals spoke out against the misconceptions surrounding MSG and Chinese food.
    "Calling it Chinese restaurant syndrome is really ignorant," said restaurateur Eddie Huang, whose memoir was adapted into the hit sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat." In the video, he pointed out that MSG is not only delicious -- but found in practically all processed foods, from ranch dressing to Doritos.