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Food Additives

Japan With Kids - Forums: Consumer Reports: Food Additives

By rach on Saturday, November 30, 2002 - 9:17 am:

I would like to know whether food products available in Japan carry food additivies like MSG(Monosodium Glutamate) and Ajinomoto, are these banned here?

How are they written in Japanese so one can be careful while buying them

By Jack Bayles on Sunday, January 5, 2003 - 10:55 am:

By Jack Bayles on Sunday, January 5, 2003 - 09:54 am:

Additives in foods... they are everywhere. MSG has a number of ways that it can be written on a label. Most common is aminosan. Easy to read the kana. For a longer discourse in English on reading a Japanese food label contact Tengu Natural Foods at or
We are an English language based mail order natural foods home delivery service operating in Japan.

By Cornelia on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 5:55 pm:

Ajinomoto (MSG) is not required to be written on food labels (though it may be included as per the manufacturer's inclination). MSG is believed to enhance other allergies (make a consumer more sensitive to a food allergy). They call it "Chinese Food Syndrome" in some Japanese medical papers. Egg, milk, wheat, peanuts and buckwheat are the 5 food ingredients required by law to be listed on food labels in Japan due to the possible danger to some (allergic) consumers. Buckwheat, bee stings, gelatin and egg whites can be just as fast killers as peanut butter for people who have those allergies. But MSG is not something that people are known to be allergic to in Japan. Ajinomoto has the patent on MSG:
It is considered a flavoring (natural, developed/isolated from seaweed), and the Japanese are actually sort of proud that one of theirs developed it!

(This is a summary of an English lesson that I used to discuss food allergies and MSG food additive with a doctor...)

By Nancy on Sunday, May 1, 2005 - 9:47 pm:

I have a severe intolerance to MSG and I contacted the following restaurant management company the use of MSG at their restaurants. I received a reply "We regret to say that it shall be difficult for you to find restaurants
which does not use MSG in Japan." But still they went to the trouble of preparing a laminated card for me, in English and Japanese, explaining the situation. This has been really helpful.

By Scott Hancock on Sunday, May 1, 2005 - 10:07 pm:

Wow, that is pretty exceptional, don't you think? They have English sites for all their restaurants, some of which are familar. Certainly makes me more inclined to patronize hearing that kind of response. (Even though they use MSG...:(

By Nancy on Sunday, May 1, 2005 - 10:16 pm:

It's been a lifesaver for me, literally. But recently we went to Garlic Jo's and the waiter told me that every dish used MSG. We got up and left and I wrote a complaint to American House Maybe they will make me a wallet card too! But for a restaurant that uses fresh garlic and offers a smoke free environment, why they need to use a chemical additive in their cooking is a mystery to me.

By Mina on Thursday, October 6, 2005 - 10:25 pm:

Is asparatame required to be written on drinks? How is it written in Japanese so that I can avoid it for my child?
Do Aquarius, Pocari Sweat, CC Lemon have aspartame? Can anyone suggest a sports drink without aspartame?

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