War on the Lowly Onion

I'd like to start a campaign against the onion.

People have waged somewhat successful campaigns against certain food allergens. They have managed to get notices printed on some food products if they contain wheat or milk, for example. There has been limited success getting monosodium glutimate (MSG) removed from some foods. Notoriously, it is still very much in use in most flavored potato chips. It is also very much in use in many soups and in some other prepared foods. MSG is a deadly neurotoxin, and quite a few people are allergic to it. I am one of them. The longer you live and the more of it you eat, the more sensitive you become, unless you are a lucky Asian and have the genetic capacity to handle it, but I imagine that plenty of Asians died off before the immunity became widespread.

I once called Campbell Soup Company. I told them that if they continued to disguise MSG under other names, of which there are about thirty (the most pernicious of them being "natural flavors"), and someone suffered adverse consequences, they would be legally liable. I told them that failure to reveal it as an ingredient was fraud. Within a couple of months, all the MSG in Campbell Soups was clearly labeled as such! You see, it does work to complain, if you know what to say.

Of course, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere at all if I had been just one person against the world. But fortunately, I'm not.

So what did the food companies do when we prevailed upon them to take the MSG out of many foods? They substituted onions! Onions are cheap and flavorful. They are widely liked. And I am told they contain MSG. I can tell you this: my body reacts to them in much the same way it reacts to MSG.

Being sensitive to onions is a very serious problem because nearly all prepared foods contain onions. I would say probably 95% of the frozen dinners contain onions. Maybe 98%. It makes it almost impossible for me to buy something I can simply pop in the microwave. The exceptions are getting really old; I am sick and tired of eating them.

But my troubles don't end there. Trying to discover which foods contain onions can be a bit of a challenge. Far too many products have their ingredients listed in tiny, tiny print, often on red backgrounds. They don't want you to read them! So maybe we need to tell them the same thing I told Campbell. If they don't print the ingredients so they can be read by the people who need to read them most (the elderly whose eyesight has deteriorated, for example), they could be legally liable if people get sick from their foods.

I believe that sensitivity to onions is widespread. A number of family members cannot handle onions, either. I have met plenty of other people who can't handle them. So why are they so popular? Beats me! For some reason, food companies don't worry about selling to people like us.

Well, we need to make ourselves heard.

The food companies could easily find other ingredients to use. Some of us who cannot tolerate onions do just fine with moderate amounts of garlic. And I'm told that onion can cause health problems even in those who aren't sensitive, while garlic is prized for its immune-building qualities. Garlic isn't used primarily because it is more expensive. But it could be. It tastes similar to onions.

So here is what I would like to ask you to do. Go to the web sites of various food manufacturers and complain about the number of products that contain onions or MSG. In the next few weeks, I will list some of the worst culprits here, with live links, for your convenience.

Thank you.

Stouffer's Warning: they'll make you enter your address and phone number, and if you use their link back, all your information will be erased, and you'll have to start over.

Campbell's Soup

Some of the background material graciously provided by Wizzle