By Chikwe Azoma, Lagos
In a move to guarantee Nigerians of the health safety of its products, the West African Seasoning Company Limited (WASCO), makers of AJI-NO-MOTO food seasoning, last week took its safety campaign to Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN.
The event which was the 10th Annual Symposium/Award ceremony of HEWAN was one of the platforms, WASCO has continued to use to engage key stakeholders in the medical profession, food science and technology, sectors, women groups, traditional rulers among others, to discuss the safety of the Japanese Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) food seasoning.
According to the company, AJI-NO-MOTO which has been in existence for over 100 years, was consumed in over 130 countries by enhancing taste and increasing deliciousness of food.
Speaking at the event tagged “Curbing the High Rate of Brain Drain in the Nigerian Health Sector”, which held in Lagos recently, WASCO’s Head of Marketing, Mr. Isah Shallangwa, explained that the benefits of the seasoning include enhancing and promoting the deliciousness of meals.
According to Shallangwa the product is economical, reduces salt intake and rich in glutamate, which is one of the free amino acids. “Almost all seasoning contains MSG,” he said.
He told the journalists drawn from the print, broadcast and online media platforms that contrary to negative rumours, AJI-NO-MOTO is 100 per cent safe for human consumption.
Shallangwa assured journalists that the safety of the product had long been scientifically proven and its safety approved by authorised agencies of the United Nations.
He said WASCO was committed to bringing out the natural taste in cooking through safe and cost-effective seasonings, urging them to dispel any myth or misconception about AJI-NO-MOTO through their write-ups.
“Umami substance is present in most natural foods such as meat, seafood, vegetables, cheese and milk. Glutamate is also abundant in breast milk. Umami seasoning enhances the taste of dishes and is a universal taste. It is one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter. We have a lot of glutamate in our local foods. Iru, for instance, is umami. When you take Iru, you take a lot of glutamates” he explained.
On her part, WASCO’s Corporate Communication Officer, Mrs. Francisca Ikediashi, urged the heath journalists debunk myths and misconceptions about the seasoning and present facts to the public.
Responding, the president of HEWAN, Mrs Chioma Obinna, commended WASCO for supporting and contributing to the success of this year’s symposium, pledging that the members of the association would continue to provide consumers with factual information about the product through their stories.