HVP, or Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, is a processed food product that is most often produced as a liquid, generally dark in color. The full name of the product is actually Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein because it is a product made in part by using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.
HVP is a free glutamate like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Some people show symptoms of an allergic reaction to MSG and may show similar reactions to HVP.
HVP is made by first boiling corn, wheat or soy in hydrochloric acid. The solution that is produced from boiling the cereal or legume is then neutralized with sodium hydroxides, which causes the acid to breaks down or hydrolyze the protein in the cereal or legume into their individual amino acids. Hydrolysis is the science of a chemical reaction that happens when water molecules are split into protons and anions.
According to the Canadian Government Health Website, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein is a free glutamate similar to other hydrolyzed proteins. MSG is a free glutamate also, which is how the two products are related to each other. But by using HVP companies can get away with claiming “no added MSG” or “contains no MSG” even though HVP also contains free glutamates. Neither MSG nor HVP are regulated food additives, and both are considered a flavor enhancing ingredient. Only the smallest amount of these products should be used to enhance the flavors of food.
There is no current regulation in the USA or Canada on the amounts of MSG and HVP that are allowed to be contained in food. When used in appropriate quantities these products are not a health hazard to consumers. However, in a recent recall by several manufacturers hydrolyzed vegetable protein was found to contain salmonella in several soup mixes, dressings and other manufactured food products.