The Truth about Canned Soup

Your soup could be canned up in a chemical stew.

By Leah Zerbe


Don't know what's in your canned soup? You're not alone.Flavor Enhancers
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) brings out wonderful flavors in canned soup, but if you're one of the many people sensitive to this flavor enhancer, the food additive could lead to a crushing headache. Animal studies have found that MSG is toxic to the brain, and researchers believe it causes migraines in people because it dilates blood vessels and impacts nerve cells in the brain. Along with headaches, people sensitive to MSG often experience pressure in the neck and face, sweating, abdominal cramps, and tingling in the fingers.

If MSG makes you sick, you should also look out for ingredients like "natural flavoring" and "hydrolyzed vegetable protein," two other additives that also contain glutamate, according to CSPI's Food Additives database.

Pesticides and GMOs
As our food system becomes more industrialized, more and more farm chemicals are winding up not just on our food, but also in the food we eat. Within the last 20 years, chemical farmers have overwhelmingly adopted genetically modified seeds, or GMOs, for crops like corn and soy, two common ingredients in canned soup. (There are more than a dozen different ingredients derived from corn and soy.) These seeds have been genetically engineered to withstand heavy sprayings of Roundup, and when that happens, the pesticide is absorbed by the plant and winds up in your food. Roundup is used so heavily, in fact, that scientists recently detected it in rain. Constant low-level exposure to the pesticide can cause obesity, heart problems, circulation problems, and diabetes, says Warren Porter, PhD, professor of environmental toxicity and zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As if that's not bad enough, the process of genetic modification, when a plant's DNA is changed in a lab, not by nature, is known to cause spontaneous abortion and infertility in animals and has been linked to the skyrocketing rates of food allergies in people over the past decade.