Free MSG


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In Australia, when something is marked "MSG Free", it means it doesn't contain Monosodium glutamate.

In Indonesia, if I ever saw a sign that said "MSG Free"…. I would know it would just mean they weren't going to charge me extra money for the MSG already in the dish.

Seriously, today I had some noodles and I was pretty sure the only topping was MSG, with a dash of kecap manis.

I was pondering today the potential damage all the MSG might be doing to me.  In Australia, I remember there being a huge panic about MSG and then all the Chinese restaurants started having "MSG Free" signs up.

So I decided to do some trawling.

According to Wikipedia, claims it is bad for you are unsubstantiated.

According to a letter to the Jakarta Post, it's all fine.

"MSG functions as a seasoning in foods, due to its umami or savory taste characteristics. Umami is recognized as the fifth basic taste alongside salty, sweet, sour and bitter. We can obtain optimum umami by adding 0.1-0.8 percent MSG to food served."

Huh?  It's written by a government official though.  You should never trust the government.

But according to this panicky website, probably bought to us by the same people who coined the term "Millennium Bug" and are still finishing off their tinned mung bean supplies, MSG causes autism, breast cancer, obesity, diabetes and more.

Who to believe?

Maybe I should put myself in the safe hands of the The Glutamate Association, which runs the website

"The Glutamate Association,
established in 1977, is an association of manufacturers, national
marketers, and processed food users of glutamic acid and its
salts, principally the flavor enhancer, monosodium glutamate
Based upon the thorough review and endorsement
of MSG's safety by international regulatory authorities and
the scientific community, The Glutamate Association
supports the use of MSG as a safe and extremely effective
flavor enhancer, increasing the palatability of a wide variety
of foods."

Well, the Association certainly sounds like an impartial body to get the facts about MSG from.

only does MSG make good food taste better for consumers, new
studies show that MSG may play a role in the overall health
and nutrition of people who need it most. Aging,
as well as a number of diseases and illnesses, decrease our
ability to taste and smell. This decrease in our senses is
a major contributor to poor nutritional status in populations
like the elderly, making it increasingly difficult for doctors
and nutritionists to ensure that their patients get much-needed

Well, it sounds like it's practically a wonderfood.  Get some of that shit to Africa, it will sort out the famines stat.

So, as a consumer, what should I do with all this conflicting information?

*shrugs shoulders*

*starts watching something funny on TV*

*forgets about it*

One Response to " Free MSG "

  1. Erique says:

    MSG topping?? Oh my, no wonder why the world always say that Indonesia is a screwed-up place, LOL. I’m Indonesian, and I run a food blog, and never in my life have I encountered such abomination in Indonesia! (and I call myself an Indonesian, sheesh!) Maybe I should eat more street food (I’m one of those Indonesians who almost never had street food in Indonesia before – due to very strict parental instructions to avoid Indonesian street food at all costs. No matter how starving I am.)
    I thank God for you, expats, to discover such unique daily catastrophes that is Indonesia! I’m a fan of your blog now!