Ajinomoto Salt
Ajinomoto Foods Nigeria Limited has released a healthier alternative to the use of salt in food.

To mark this year’s Umami Seasoning Day, experts have tasked Nigerians on the need to consume foods with less salt. According to experts, the body needs a small amount of sodium to function, but most people consume too much sodium.

Studies have shown that high sodium consumption can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The experts spoke during an annual a sensitisation workshop organised by the Management of Ajinomoto Foods Nigeria Limited.

Continuing, they reassured Nigerians that the safety of the food seasoning which promotes low salt intake, healthy living and enhances the flavour of foods. Speaking, the Managing Director of Ajinomoto Nigeria Ltd., Mr Noriyuki Ogushi, said the food giant had developed global products and seasonings by utilising its salt-reduction technologies.

Ogushi noted that the safety of Ajinomoto had long been scientifically proven and its safety was approved by authorised agencies of the United Nations He explained that Umami translates to “deliciousness”, and the term was named in 1908 by a Japanese scientist Ikeda Kikunae to describe the savoury taste produced by glutamate.

Speaking, a Professor of Enzyme and Food Biotechnology, Abdulkarim Sabo Mohammed, affirmed that various scientific findings had proven that Ajinomoto is safe for consumption.

Mohammed who is the Vice-Chancellor, of Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State, said, “Glutamic acid is a prominent amino acid that contributes to the umami taste. “Glutamate is essential for living bodies, it is a good energy source of the brain and helps boost good feeling by regulating impulse transmission in the nerves.

“A further Ajinomoto initiative is its Smart Salt project, promoted as a “Japan model” for delicious salt reduction. Smart Salt project provides consumers with information on reduced salt products and preparing easy, delicious, and healthy meals using Ajinomoto umami seasoning which contains two-thirds less sodium than table salt and other flavour seasonings.”

Mohammed urged Nigerians to debunk the myths and unscientific claims about MSG and to work with facts and science.

Speaking, a Nutritionist- Dietitian at the Department of Food, Nutrition & Home Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Port- Harcourt, Dr Helen Henry Unaeze, also confirmed that MSG promotes significant sodium reduction.

“MSG has two-thirds less sodium than table salt and imparts umami – a savoury taste and so 30 to 40 per cent salt reduction can be achieved by adding MSG without changing the taste of the food.

“Taste is a key factor in what people decide to eat. Using MSG as a replacement for some salt in the diet and to increase the appeal of nutritious foods can help make healthy eating easier, likely leading to a positive impact on health”, the dietician said.

The Assistant General Manager Marketing & Communications, Management, food company, Mr Isa Hassan Shallangwa, said the Umami Seasoning Day was aimed at educating people for a better understanding and appreciation of umami and its essential role in food. According to him since its discovery over 100 years ago, MSG has been used safely as a food ingredient and seasoning in many different cultures.

“Extensive scientific research confirms MSG’s safety and role in the diet. Monosodium glutamate or umami seasoning has 2/3 less sodium than table salt and can be used in the place of some salt in certain dishes to reduce the sodium by up to 61 per cent without compromising flavour,” he said.

The Umami Seasoning Day is celebrated every July 25th to raise awareness about the importance of the seasoning popularly known as Ajinomoto, Monosodium Glutamate, MSG, in cooking.