Since its discovery in Japan in 1908, monosodium glutamate (MSG) has become one of the most beloved and vilified ingredients in history. It is a pantry staple across the globe, yet the subject of skepticism in the US where stigmas prevail despite extensive research proving its safety.
Looking to get the topic out in the open and shed some light on it has been Ajinomoto Co., Inc., the world’s first and leading MSG supplier. Last fall saw Ajinomoto host the first “World Umami Forum,” a two-day consortium in New York City. Food science, research and the culinary expert speakers included Ali Bouzari, PhD, chief science officer at Pilot R&D; Gary Beauchamp, PhD, emeritus director and president, Monell Senses Center; Chef Chris Koetke, CEO of Complete Culinary LLC; and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern.
Other participants included food science writer Harold McGee; historic gastronomist and author Sarah Lohman; food historian and writer Nadia Bernstein, PhD; Jason Riis, PhD, senior research fellow, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD, Nutrition Edge Communications; and Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful Podcast.
Although there’s not a similar event planned for 2019, the event sponsors have created two websites for use by food industry marketers, food scientists and corporate chefs. Those sites are www.worldumamiforum.com or www.whyusemsg.com.