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Ajinomoto

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Ajinomoto head office Ajinomoto products

Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (味の素株式会社, Ajinomoto Kabushiki-gaisha?) (TYO: 2802), is a Japanese company that produces food seasonings, cooking oils, foods and pharmaceuticals. The literal translation of Aji no Moto is “Essence of Taste,” used as a trademark for the company’s monosodium glutamate (MSG). As of Feb 2009, Ajinomoto produces around 33% of the world’s MSG.

Ajinomoto is active in 100 countries and regions worldwide, employing around 24,861 people as of 2004. Yearly revenue stands at US$9.84 billion.

Ajinomoto’s signature product, monosodium glutamate (MSG) seasoning, was first marketed in Japan in 1909, having been discovered and patented by Kikunae Ikeda. The company rapidly expanded to other countries, with Ajinomoto U.S.A., Inc., having been established in 1956. Since then, Ajinomoto has become a conglomerate spreading to other areas, though mostly in the food industry.

AJI-NO-MOTO is registered as a trademark in Indonesia and Thailand.

Ajinomoto’s chairman, Kunio Egashira, died on April 7, 2008.[1] He had been chairman of the company since June 2005.[1] Egashira had previously served as the company's president from June 1997.[1]

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Controversy

In early 2001, Ajinomoto was involved in a scandal in majority-Muslim Indonesia when it emerged that a pork-based enzyme had been used in its production of MSG [1] [2] [3]. This gave ironic significance to the company’s advertising slogan in some parts of the world: “What is Ajinomoto made of?”

Lysine price-fixing conspiracy

Ajinomoto was a member of the Lysine price fixing cartel in the mid-1990s. Along with Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, and Sewon America Inc., Ajinomoto settled with the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division in September 1996. Each firm and one executive from each pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain to aid in further investigation. Their cooperation led to ADM settling charges with the US Government in October 1996 for $100 million, a record antitrust fine at the time.[2] The cartel had been able to raise Lysine prices 70% within their first nine months of cooperation.[3]

Subsidiaries

Ajinomoto USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Ajinomoto AminoScience LLC is part of the Ajinomoto USA subsidiary that provides amino acid products and services to a number of manufacturing and research industries.[4] In the UK, it is produced through Britannia Pharmaceuticals Limited, a UK-based subsidiary. On January 13, 2006, they bought the cooking sauce and condiments manufacturer Amoy Food Limited previously owned by French dairy product company Danone. Ajinomoto Food Ingredients LLC produces Aspartame.[5] Calpis

See also

Ajinomoto Stadium Monosodium glutamate Motoko-chan no Wonder Kitchen, a mid 1990s Super Famicom video game that advertises their then-current products

References

^ a b c Uranaka, Taiga (2008-04-09). ``Ajinomoto chairman Kunio Egashira, 70, dies``. Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUST17677720080409. Retrieved 2008-04-19.  ^ Meredith E. B. Bell and Elena Laskin, ``Antitrust Violations``, 36 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 357 ^ James M. Griffin, Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen., Antitrust Div., Dep't of Justice, The Modern Leniency Program After Ten Years: A Summary Overview of the Antitrust Division's Criminal Enforcement Program, Aug. 12, 2003 ^ Ajinomoto AminoScience homepage, visited November 18, 2005 ^ ``Ajinomoto Aspartame``. http://www.aji-aspartame.com/. 

External links

http://www.ajinomoto.com/ - Global v â€¢ d â€¢ e Nikkei 225 companies of  Japan

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