By O’star Eze
Dieticians and food scientists in Anambra state have denied the over five decades of apprehension that the use of Aji-no-moto seasoning in preparing foods is cancerous and could causes diarrhea. They said that the story is false and an unfounded propaganda.
Speaking during the 111 year anniversary celebration of Aji-no-moto in Onitsha, Helen Henry-Unaeze of the Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Applied Food Sciences and Tourism, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, explained that the constituent of ‘maggi white’ which is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a naturally occurring substance in many protein food and ingredients and has no negative effect on the body system.
She said that contrary to the speculation that Aji-no-moto was cancerous and affects the digestive system negatively, several researches around the world have proven that MSG helps reduce salt intake, heightens and intensifies the natural flavour of food, and is beneficial to the gastro-intestinal tract and has no negative effect on the body.
She stressed that “MSG, which is the constituent of Aji-no-moto, is naturally prevalent in many protein foods and ingredients.
“It is beneficial to our gastro-intestinal tract, because, it has a rapid and efficient metabolism in the GIT. MSG contains only one third the amount of sodium found in table salt and, in 2010, the Institute of Medicine recommended the use of MSG as an alternative for the use of salt in our diets.”
The dietician claimed that a double blind tests conducted in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on persons, who said that they were getting harmful experiences after consuming MSG as found in Aji-no-moto, disclosed that there were no negative experiences from MSG consumption; adding that the US Food and Drug Administration as well as Food Standards Organisation of Australia, New Zealand, and the National Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC; have all certified all foods cooked with ‘maggi white’ as safe for consumption.
Others, who lent voice to the correction of impression were Head of Laboratory, National Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Agulu, Dr. Mrs Olubukola Irurhe; the Dean of faculty of Agriculture, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Ernest Chukwusoro Igwe; popular comedian and radio presenter, Helen Paul and a Nigerian journalist, as well as the media personality and professional chef, Miyonse Amosu.
Earlier, the managing director of West African Seasoning Company Limited, a subsidiary of Aji-no-moto seasoning company, Mr. Junichi Niki, said that Aji-no-moto seasoning is produced from natural fermentation of sugarcane meant to enhance taste of cuisines.
He noted that the negative myth about Aji-no-moto seasoning was informed by a mistake made by a United States experiment sometime in the 1960s, which was corrected 30 years later, coupled with some wrong notions that were spread in Nigeria after it was widely accepted when it was launched in 1991.
On his part, the president of Association of Resident Doctors, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Dr. Stanley Egbogu, insisted that the company should sponsor a localised research on the product.
“We want the owners of the seasoning to domesticate the research on the seasoning. This will help us to confidently change the perspective of our patients on the product,” Egbogu said.