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Monday, 8 January, 2001, 11:54 GMT
Arrests in Indonesian MSG scandal
msg
Ajinomoto is one of the most popular brands
Indonesian police have arrested two Japanese executives whose company used pig by-products in the manufacture of monosodium glutamate.

The president and vice-president of PT Ajinomoto Indonesia, Mitsuo Harakawa and Yasuhi Oda, were detained on Sunday for violating consumer protection laws.

Ajinomoto factory
Police guard the factory in case of attack
If convicted, they could face up to five years in jail.

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a popular flavour enhancer across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

Ajinomoto had labelled its product as suitable for Muslims, but later admitted the product contained enzymes grown on pork fat.

The consumption of pig meat is forbidden in the Islamic faith.

Apology

Ajinomoto's Japanese technical director, Yosiko Togama, and five Indonesian company officials were also detained over the weekend. Police said more arrests would follow.

The company, which has issued a public apology, has been given three weeks to withdraw its MSG, one of the country's most popular brands.

Ajinomoto said the pork product was only a catalyst and was not present in the flavour enhancer itself.

It has promised to replace the pork derivative with one made from soy.

About 80% of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslims.

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See also:

06 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Pork scandal hits Indonesia
03 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian outcry over 'pork-tainted MSG'
04 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Islamic law for Aceh
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