The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) has published a new fact sheet on monosodium glutamate and its relationship with the umami taste.

The fact sheet is titled “Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): From A to Umami.

IFIC explains the purpose of the fact sheet:

“Has there ever been a taste that you enjoyed, but couldn’t quite explain? Perhaps you are noticing what has been coined as the fifth taste, “umami“; a taste attributed to foods containing glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. Think about a bowl of hot pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese, a freshly grilled steak with a rich mushroom sauce, or stir-fried seafood and chicken with crisp vegetables in a savory soy sauce. In all of these dishes, there is a common flavor denominator that may be surprising to many: monosodium glutamate, also called MSG. This fact sheet provides everything you need to know about MSG and its umami flavor.”

As part of the fact sheet, IFIC lists the following “Fast Facts” about monosodium glutamate:

  • A natural fermentation process is used to produce MSG.
  • MSG is composed of simply sodium and glutamate.
  • MSG contains only one-third the amount of sodium as table salt.
  • Glutamate and MSG are gluten-free.
  • MSG is safe to consume, according to scientific research and several large regulatory authorities.
  • MSG is not an allergen, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
  • There is no scientific evidence for “MSG sensitivity.” Some individuals have reported symptoms (similar to symptoms of a food allergy) after consuming MSG, but no scientific research has been able to reliably show that consuming MSG causes these symptoms.

The IFIC MSG Fact Sheet has been favorably reviewed by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.