A food scientist and a dietician have expressed different views on the safety of food seasonings containing monosodium glutamate, commonly known as MSG.
Speaking with PUNCH Healthwise in separate interviews, Deputy Director, Food Technology Department and Head, Food Product Development Division, Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos, Dr. Mrs. Funmi Oladunmoye, said MSG seasoning poses no health risk.However, an Assistant Chief Dietician at Ajeromi General Hospital, Olusola Malomo, warned that MSG must be used in moderation, noting that it has been linked to diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
According to Oladunmoye, MSG is a flavour enhancer and just like others, has no side-effect whatsoever on the body.
“Monosodium glutamate, MSG, is a flavour enhancer and is safe for human consumption,” the deputy director said.
She, however, added that MSG should be consumed in moderation.
According to the FDA, MSG is the sodium salt of the glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is naturally present in our bodies, and in many foods and food additives.
The FDA also said MSG occurs naturally in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheese, noting that it is has been classified as generally safe by the agency.
Oladunmoye added that “people need to know that MSG is very safe for consumption, with no detrimental effect to human health, if used in moderation.”
She dispelled rumours that say MSG causes fibroid, noting also that it does not have any negative effect on weight loss.
However, speaking with PUNCH Healthwise, Olusola Malomo, said the use of MSG remains controversial.
Malomo said that besides its enhancing flavour effect, MSG has been linked with obesity, metabolic disorders, neurotoxic effects, adding that it also has detrimental effects on the reproductive organ.
Citing a study done in rats, the dietician said MSG increases the level of total protein, cholesterol and oestrogen which leads to increased proliferation of fibroid cells.