Background: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is an extensively used additive in food industry
as a taste enhancer and found naturally in fruits and vegetables.
Aims: To examine and assess the use of taste enhancers and correlate with the amount of salt (sodium)
in instant noodles sold in the Omani market. A pilot study was also conducted to assess public perception
towards MSG use in these products.
Methods: The different names and written forms of taste enhancers and salt (sodium) content are
printed on the outer pack of instant noodles and 200 questionnaires distributed to public were recorded,
collected respectively and subsequently analyzed.
Results: There were 93 instant noodles varieties collected in which MSG was either not used (27.8%)
or used alone (32.3%) or with other additives (39.9%). Three popular brands; Indomie (14 varieties),
Maggie (9 varieties) and Koka (18 varieties), were considered for further examination for the number
of food additives used and the correlation between MSG and salt (sodium) content. One of these
brands has a significant amount of food additives used and in these products there is a tendency
(p = 0.051) that the use of MSG is associated with reducing the amount of salt (sodium) content. The
survey showed that public perception towards MSG is better among Asians. Noodles are popular
among participants despite the awareness of the presence of MSG.
Conclusion: Large numbers of noodles products contain MSG in addition to other additives. It seems
that consumption of instant noodles is influenced by the culture or the media or the surrounding.