Monosodium Glutamate is a unique flavor enhancer with a quite a history. According to Harold McGee in his book, on food and Cooking, it was proven in 2001 that humans have a specific receptor just for MSG, separate from the other four, sweet, sour, salty and bitter! This is nearly a century after Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikeda, first isolated it as the very unique taste in Konbu, a seaweed traditionally used as the base for miso soup and a many other Japanese dishes. During that century MSG, isolated and sold commercially, achieved great popularity, particularly in Asian cuisine and as an inexpensive additive for commercially packaged snacks and products. Its downfall in the US started in the 60’s when people began to report unfavorable side effects after consuming Chinese food.
While some people are sensitive to MSG, many studies have apparently concluded that it is safe for most people. Though still widely used in Japan and other countries, the FDA requires food manufacturers to clearly label if a product contains MSG. We tend to agree with McGee, that MSG has been “exploited to provide a cheap, one-dimensional substitute for real and remarkable foods.” Sheffa, therefore, uses no MSG, or “cheater powder”, as we like to call it.
This blog posted by Leslie