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Understanding MSG

A demonised ingredient to modern-day cooking. Such a fascinating topic.

Firstly, Pepper & Me respects the opinion of those that do not want MSG in their foods. We remain largely MSG-free. We have five products that contain MSG. Blow my coals, both our Fried Chicken Seasonings, Wayo and On Yaa Onion Dip Mix.

We have worked hard to make our seasoning suitable for as many people as we can - Where and when can we work to be gluten, dairy, nut, soy and shellfish-free.

HOWEVER, we firmly believe that people do not know the information surrounding MSG. After a lot of research, here are some super simple facts for you.

  • MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is one of the most abundant and naturally occurring non-essential amino acids.

  • MSG has been one of the most extensively researched substances in food for more than 40 years. Internationally, many scientific assessments have been performed, creating hundreds of studies on the topic. Even with these hundreds of international studies, there is no conclusive evidence linking MSG to asthma or 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. A few people sensitive to a range of foods, especially with asthma, may also be affected by glutamate.

  • MSG is naturally present in a vast number of foods. Tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms and meat, to name a few.

  • According to the NSW Food Authority, "the human body treats MSG as natural as glutamate found in food. For instance, the body does not distinguish between free glutamate from tomatoes, cheese or mushrooms and the glutamate from MSG added to foods." Glutamate is glutamate, whether naturally present or from MSG.

To summarise, if you have a sensitivity to added MSG - you will also be sensitive to tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms and some meats.

MSG contains 1/3 the amount of sodium as table salt (13% vs. 40%) and is commonly used in much smaller amounts. So you are someone who is watching their sodium levels and are not sensitive to tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, and meats, MSG can be a FANTASTIC salt alternative for you.

It's a shame that some old inaccurate research has left MSG demonised within the common household conversation. This misunderstanding has caused widespread insult to Chinese people and their cuisine. Pretty unfair, to say the least, as it was Americans adding it to junk and snack foods to get mouths watering.

Check out our interview with Seven Sharp on the topic of MSG.

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