comments_image Comments

Do We Really Have a 5th Taste? What Is the Umami Fad All About?

Is the umami fad nothing more than a massive counterattack against a few decades of anti-MSG bad press?

Continued from previous page


He also rails against Ajinomoto and the rest of the glutamate industry. 

"Every time someone has a finding that shows MSG is dangerous, the glutamate industry has a study funded to show that the first study is wrong. They draw upon their stable of cooperating scientists and fund them to do another study which may very well have been designed or written by the glutamate industry. They're very good at recruiting scientists from highly regarded universities." When the umami fad began, "they started spending big money in an attempt to get some scientists to declare that MSG was the 'fifth taste.' These aren't really studies," seethes Samuels, who says he has been threatened by glutamate companies twice. 

"MSG kills brain cells and causes a variety of adverse reactions.  It doesn't matter if you call it umami or not," he declares, adding that hydrolized proteins manufactured in the United States contain propanols, which the UN/WHO-affiliated Codex Alimentarius Commission consider carcinogenic and genotoxic. In other words, as Samuels tells everyone who will listen, at least one source of umami causes cancer.  

Meanwhile, the Umami Information Center, founded by the Umami Manufacturers' Association of Japan, held its first umami workshop in Paris on April 17th. During the workshop, adults and their children heard a lecture about umami, then learned to cook Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes. As we read at,: "The children were very excited to learn the secret of umami, and their parents left feeling inspired to incorporate umami into their daily cooking. … The Umami Information Center was able to put together a textbook for French children."  

With the help, we also read, of Ajinomoto. 

Anneli Rufus is the author of several books, most recently The Scavenger's Manifesto (Tarcher Press, 2009). Read more of Anneli's writings on scavenging at

See more stories tagged with: