monosodium glutamate

The Truth About MSG in Noodles: How is MSG Made?

The Truth About MSG in Noodles: How is MSG Made?

MSG, also known as monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer commonly used in the food industry, including in the production of noodles. It is a controversial ingredient that has sparked debates and concerns among consumers. In this article, we will explore how MSG is made and address the common misconception about its origin.

What is MSG?

MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid. It is produced through a fermentation process that involves the use of certain bacteria. Glutamic acid can be found naturally in a variety of foods such as tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms. MSG is used to enhance the savory or umami taste in food, making it more flavorful.

The Production Process

The production of MSG involves several steps. First, a carbohydrate source such as sugar cane or molasses is fermented using bacteria. The bacteria used in this process are carefully selected and are not derived from animals. During fermentation, the bacteria convert the carbohydrates into glutamic acid. The resulting glutamic acid is then purified and crystallized to form MSG.

Dispelling the Myth

There is a common misconception that MSG is derived from animals, particularly pigs. However, this is not true. The production of MSG does not involve the use of any animal products or by-products. It is a purely vegetarian ingredient. The idea that MSG is made from pigs may have originated from a misunderstanding or misinformation.

It is important to note that the use of pigs or any other animal in the production of MSG would not be economically viable or practical. The production process of MSG is highly controlled and regulated to ensure quality and safety. The ingredient undergoes rigorous testing and is subject to strict food safety standards.

Safety and Health Concerns

MSG has been the subject of various health concerns over the years. Some individuals claim to experience adverse reactions after consuming foods containing MSG, such as headaches, flushing, and sweating. However, scientific research has not been able to consistently link these symptoms to MSG consumption.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when consumed in normal amounts. It is important to note that MSG is present in many common food items, such as soups, sauces, and snacks, and is not limited to noodles alone.

It is worth mentioning that some people may have a sensitivity or intolerance to MSG, just like any other food ingredient. If you experience any adverse reactions after consuming foods that contain MSG, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

According to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued guidelines regarding the use of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in food products. According to these guidelines, pre-packaged food shall not be described or presented on any label or in any labeling manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character in any respect. Specifically, MSG cannot be added to pasta and noodles. The FSSAI has fixed the maximum permissible limits of MSG in canned crab meat at 500mg/kg. However, no guidelines currently exist for the maximum limit of naturally occurring MSG in food. If a food sample contains “naturally occurring MSG”, the manufacturers cannot label the pack “No added MSG”.

In the case of Maggi noodles, the FSSAI identified three problems: lead levels higher than the permissible quantity of 2.5 ppm (parts per million), misleading labelling on the package that stated “No added MSG”, and release of “Maggi Oats Masala Noodle with Tastemaker” without product approval. The FSSAI has asked for sampling of the product from across the country to check quality, and legal action will be taken against manufacturers who fail to abide by these guidelines.

In 2015, samples of Maggi noodles were found to contain added monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead in excess of the permissible limit in Uttar Pradesh, leading to an inquiry and the initiation of a process to cancel the licence for Maggi. Nestle, which manufactures Maggi, maintains that it does not add monosodium glutamate to the product, but the presence of excess lead is “surprising” for the company. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said it will examine the case once it receives a detail report from UP and will immediately order sampling from other states. Nestle said so far it has not been informed about any cancellation of licence or ban on the product. Maggi noodles “conform to all applicable food laws and regulations”.

Conclusion

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly used in the production of noodles and other food products. It is made through a fermentation process that does not involve the use of any animal products or by-products. The notion that MSG is derived from pigs is a myth. The safety of MSG has been evaluated by regulatory authorities, and it is considered safe for consumption when consumed in normal amounts. As with any food ingredient, individual sensitivities may vary, and it is always best to listen to your body and seek professional advice if needed.