Determined to advance healthy eating and wellness among Nigerians, the management of AJINOMOTO Foods Nigeria Limited has embarked on an awareness creation drive with a focus on the importance of consuming foods with less salt as part of activities marking the 2023 Umami Seasoning Day.
According to the company, The Umami Seasoning Day is celebrated on July 25 every year to raise awareness about the importance of the Umami seasoning popularly known as AJI-NO-MOTO® Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in cooking.
The company further said that the safety and benefits of using its food seasoning which promotes low salt intake, healthy living and enhances the flavour of foods have been validated by food scientists, nutritionists, researchers, and national and global regulatory bodies.
Noriyuki Ogushi, managing director of AJINOMOTO Foods Nigeria Limited said the food giant had developed global products and seasonings by utilizing its salt-reduction technologies.
According to him, as part of its long-term strategy, the company has over the years, developed AminoScience and Enzyme technologies to create unique flavours for food products without compromising on quality or safety standards set by regulatory bodies worldwide.
Commenting on the significance of the event, he said the day is also used to sensitise the public about the safety of consuming the seasoning, which gives foods a delectable flavour, brings out their deliciousness and promotes the palatability of dishes & cuisines across the world.
Ogushi further said that the safety of the seasoning had long been scientifically proven and its safety was approved by authorized agencies of the United Nations
He explained, “Since its founding, the Ajinomoto Group has been consistently engaging in initiatives to resolve social issues through its business. We do this through our philosophy of contributing to the well-being of all human beings, our society and our planet with AminoScience.
“Umami” translates to “deliciousness”, and the term was named in 1908 by a Japanese scientist Ikeda Kikunae to describe the savoury taste produced by glutamate.
“Umami is the taste of the amino acid glutamate – one of the most prevalent amino acids in nature and naturally present in foods like tomatoes, seafood, vegetables, cheese, and milk.
“We are actively developing products and seasonings that utilize salt-reduction technologies and the safety of AJI-NO-MOTO® has long been scientifically proven and its safety approved by authorized agencies of the United Nations.”
Also, backing the safety of the Japanese food seasoning is a Professor of Enzyme and Food Biotechnology, Abdulkarim Sabo Mohammed, who affirmed that various scientific findings had proven that the seasoning is safe for consumption.
Mohammed who is the Vice-Chancellor, of Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State, said, “Glutamic acid is a prominent amino acid that contributes to the umami taste.
“Glutamate is essential for living bodies, it is a good energy source of the brain and helps boost good feeling by regulating impulse transmission in the nerves.”
The food safety expert reiterated, “There is no scientific proof to directly associate MSG with any health issues as suggested. Research suggested that umami (MSG) in AJINO-MOTO® acts to both enhance flavour and promote a feeling of satiety.
“A further Ajinomoto Group initiative is its Smart Salt project, promoted as a “Japan model” for delicious salt reduction.
“Smart Salt project provides consumers with information on reduced salt products and preparing easy, delicious, and healthy meals using AJINOMOTO® umami seasoning which contains two-thirds less sodium than table salt and other flavour seasonings.”
Mohammed urged Nigerians to debunk the myths and unscientific claims about MSG and to work with facts and science.