In the wake of some Maggi noodles samples reportedly found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a section of Indian dietitians and nutritionists maintain that there is no scientific evidence to establish adverse health effects of MSG. Experts said, "The concerns over MSG are unfounded since MSG is one of the most abundant and naturally-occurring amino acids that are added to foods as a flavor enhancer."
Prominent nutritionist Hena Nafis said, "Recent reports of MSG having adverse effects such as headache, flushing and excessive sweating, which are typically associated with Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (CRS), have not been clinically established. It is more of a personal choice for consumers. One is advised to avoid packaged food if its intake induces similar symptoms. Consumption of MSG is not harmful as long as it is used in moderation. It does not have a detrimental effect on health as long as a person does not have any food allergies to it."
AdvertisementIn addition, Nafis also pointed out that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the addition of MSG to foods to be 'generally recognized as safe' (GRAS).
Dharini Krishnan, president of the Indian Dietetic Association, based in Chennai, said, "In addition to packaged foods, people have been consuming MSG in its natural form as well. It is found in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and many other vegetables and fruits. MSG is generally a flavor enhancer, and is either found in natural sources or added artificially."
The industry watchdog Food Safety Standards Authority of India had taken more samples of Maggi across India for testing after certain harmful substances were allegedly found in a batch in quantities higher-than-permissible-limits, said the government. Nestle, manufacturer of Maggi, said, "We understand that consumers are concerned by reports that the authorities in Uttar Pradesh have found elevated levels of lead in a sample pack of Maggi noodles. We are fully cooperating with the authorities who are conducting further tests and we are awaiting their results."