P2MI's Efforts to Eradicate the Negative Stigma of Monosodium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate, or known as MSG, still have negative stigma in Indonesian people. This is indicated by the presence of negative information about the negative point of consuming MSG. Including, negative and unbalanced news from a number of media about MSG. That fact makes the Monosodium Glutamate and Glutamic Acid Indonesia Factory Association or (P2MI) which consist of Ajinomoto, SASA, and Miwon Companies, hold an educational campaign to the media and the public in a massive way.
Muhammad Fachrurozy, Head of P2MI, said that to eliminate the negative stigma, P2MI held a number of educational programs. For example, P2MI in collaboration with the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) launched the book "Review of Monosodium Glutamate". In the book information on the results of the study and the facts of the MSG are presented in a balanced manner. "In this book, there is also a rebuttal from many professor who emphasized that MSG is safe for consumption," he said.
Other efforts, P2MI also wrote at the same time submitting a letter of objection to the media that publicly published the issue of glutamate. "There are some media that respond positively to our rebuttal letters, but there are also some who do not respond at all," he said.
Recently, with Forum Warta Pena, P2MI also held an educational program titled "Balanced Nutrition from Halal Food Additives". That educational event was attended by various national media in Jakarta. On that occasion, experts were also invited. Among them. There are Prof. Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah M.Sc, as IPB nutrition expert who is also Chancellor of Sahid Jakarta, Tetty R. Sihombing as the acting (Acting) Deputy of BPOM RI Processed Food Supervision, and M. Fachrurozy, Chair of the Monosodium Glutamate and Glutamic Acid Indonesia Factory Association.
Prof. Hardinsyah explain, the emergence of the notion of the dangers of MSG for health was first put forward by Dr. Ho Man Kwok, after sending a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1988. In his letter, he described the possible causes of the symptoms he experienced every time he ate at Chinese restaurants in the United States. Later these symptoms became known as 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome'.
However, according to him, MSG or by the Indonesian people is known as Vetsin, it is not harmful for human health. What is felt by Ho Man Kwok is a reaction from his body that refers to allergic, to the ingredients contained in the glutamate substance. "Based on a study, it was found that some people felt allergic to MSG," said Prof. Hardinsyah.
Tetty added, in the last five years, BPOM RI has issued 153 marketing license numbers for the flavor enhancing product (MSG) category. "From that number. 139 are domestic products and 14 are imported products. "
She further emphasized, currently the challenge of the company that manufactures flavor enhancing products is how to place the position of MSG properly, including socializing that MSG is safe and harmless. "BPOM also makes it easy for people to check the safety of the products they consume through the application Come Check BTP (Food Additives)," Tetty said.
On the same occasion, Prof. Hardi also denied the issue of saying that MSG if consumed by children would reduce their intelligence. "there is no evidence that MSG intake interferes with the brain, because intelligence is determined by brain cells," he said.
He also denied that there were those who stated that MSG consumption in Japan was low. "Countries that consume a lot of MSG in the world are Japan and China. But the two countries have made the most innovation in Asia, if the people are stupid it is impossible to be able create innovation. It's simple," he explained.
Similar opinion was conveyed by the Chairman of the Indonesian MSG & GA Factory Association (P2MI) M. Fachrurozy. He said it was wrong if someone stated that MSG consumption in Japan was low, because MSG was found for the first time in Japan. "Ajinomoto has produced 110 seasonings, one of which is MSG. And Ajinomoto Indonesia exports to Japan, because they have not produced MSG, "he explained.
Fachrurozy added, Food Additives (BTP) such as MSG or fermented vegetables in the food industry are strictly and well regulated by BPOM. For example MSG, is a BTP that serves to strengthen the UMAMI or savory taste.