Japanese maker pushes umami overhaul for much-maligned MSG

By Sara Hussein

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Why not just rely on natural flavourings like salt, pepper, herbs and spices? I think people who lack imagination resort to MSG.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Pukey, that is because it is a natural flavoring, found in many vegetables, and most notably seaweed. Kikunae Ikeda did not invent it, he isolated it from seaweed and determined its structure; he also proposed it to be responsible for the fifth sense of taste, which he called umami. Unfortunately, internet warriors do not trust scientific reasoning, but fake myths such as "Chinese restaurant syndrome" sticks with the public opinion.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Timeon is right. When Asians add fish sauce or oyster sauce to a dish, when Italians add parmesan cheese, when Japanese flavour dishes with dashi, they are all adding glutamate, the same thing as MSG. They do it to increase umami, "savouriness" or whatever you want to call it.

An alternative way to make foods taste better is to add fat, salt, and sugar. This is widespread in the food industry. Is that better than msg?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It makes my tongue feel like it's sweating and I can feel my taste buds being juiced up. I'd rather taste the flavor of the vegetables or meat on their own.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Regardless of whether it's safe or not, if you need MSG in it it's probably not worth eating. Anything with it on the label screams WASTE OF MONEY to me

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If you believe that MSG a negative effect on your body, that’s likely what you are going to experience.

The origins of “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” are attached to perceptions of Chinese in America and the low cost-value attached to their labor. If Chinese food was historically very expensive, like French cooking, we would likely point our suspicions elsewhere.

Nobody seems to get “Italian Restaurant Syndrome” even though you will find the very same ingredients in most red sauces and strong cheese.

You may begin your down voting now.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Wobot, absolutely!

There are so many natural ways of flavouring your food.


Pukey, that is because it is a natural flavoring, found in many vegetables, and most notably seaweed

Well then, use vegetables and seaweed. Back home, I can find lovely vegetable stock cubes without MSG. It's just not needed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reaction to ingredients of any kind is highly personal. Individual bodies react differently. And while beliefs as well as discrimination regarding some cultures over others can also contribute to perceived reactions, they aren't solely responsible.

For example, I react negatively to nightshades--a fact that went undiagnosed for more than a decade. Throughout that time I had no idea what caused the ongoing reactions which contributed to my often extreme discomfort. I also reacted negatively to MSG--decades before learning it was a "thing". Naturally, I make an effort to avoid both. As a result I enjoy life and food without discomfort.

This attempt to rehabilitate a specific product extracted from naturally occurring flavour (which is designed to give a boost to those whose taste buds demand a greater punch because they've been defiled by dependence on chemically enhanced "food") is a marketing ploy. Nothing more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I avoid additives & preservatives, basically anything produced in a lab when it comes to my daily food and drink. Ajinomoto can try to repair MSG's image all they want, even to the point of calling those that avoid MSG "xenophobic" (which is a disgusting way to promote a product), I still will not consume it. I prefer natural salt, pepper, herbs, and spices to any lab concoction. Most of the food that has MSG is junk food, which I would avoid even if it didn't have MSG.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites