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Monosodium Glutamate Factsheet: “From A to Umami”

By August 17, 2015June 26th, 2024Featured, MSG
just the facts

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) has published a new factsheet on monosodium glutamate and its relationship with the umami taste. The factsheet is titled “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): From A to Umami.”

According to IFIC:
“Has there ever been a taste that you enjoyed, but couldn’t quite explain? Perhaps you are noticing what has been coined as the fifth taste, “umami”; a taste attributed to foods containing glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. Think about a bowl of hot pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, a freshly grilled steak with a rich mushroom sauce, or stir-fried seafood and chicken with crisp vegetables in a savory soy sauce. In all of these dishes, there is a common flavor denominator that may be surprising to many: monosodium glutamate, also called MSG. This fact sheet provides everything you need to know about MSG and its umami flavor.”

As part of the factsheet, IFIC lists the following “Fast Facts” about monosodium glutamate:

  • “A natural fermentation process is used to produce MSG.
  • MSG is composed of simply sodium and glutamate.
  • MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt.
  • Glutamate and MSG are gluten-free.
  • MSG is safe to consume, according to scientific research and several large regulatory authorities.
  • MSG is not an allergen, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  • There is no scientific evidence for “MSG sensitivity.” Some individuals have reported symptoms (similar to symptoms of a food allergy) after consuming MSG, but no scientific research has been able to reliably show that consuming MSG causes these symptoms.”

The IFIC MSG Factsheet has been favorably reviewed by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The full factsheet is available here.

For more facts about MSG and umami seasoning, click here.

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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