Ajinomoto Panda Bottle - © Ajinomoto via the Japan Times

MSG Making A Mainstream Comeback At McDonald’s?

McDonald’s has revealed that its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich – the real deal, in competition with Popeye’s, the Colonel and Chick-Fil-A – will be prepared with MSG, the flavour enhancer associated in the past with a number of ailments, but which recently has been cleared of responsibility for them…

McDs Crispy Chicken Sandwich - © McDonaldsMcDonald’s new Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Now in market testing.
Does knowing it’s made with Mono-Sodium Glutamate
negatively affect your decision to buy one?

What is MSG?

From my previous, post on MSG (August 21, 2019):

“MSG – short for Mono-Sodium Glutamate – is a combination of Glutamine, an amino acid that blesses everything it touches with an umami halo, and Sodium, which is merely there to stabilize the Glutamine so it can be processed into convenient flakes.

“MSG was first isolated from Seaweed over 100 years ago by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda. It quickly became popular in China and Taiwan and came to North America with Chinese immigrants. After the Second World War, Chinese (Asian) restaurants became extremely popular in North America, and MSG became a standard – though hidden – part of the Caucasian diet.

MSG was even touted as a ‘third seasoning’ along with Salt and Pepper, in the post war years and at its peak of popularity was sold as a branded product, Ac’cent, by the 1950s. The advertising line was, a little Ac’cent could make anything savoury taste better. Millions of Ac’cent users agreed with that contention.”

What’s wrong with MSG?

‘Nothing’, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after decades of study and controversy: “FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.”

Now, back to that Chicken Sandwich

McDonald’s is in the middle of a market test of its new Chicken Sammy,prepared with MSG, in Houston, TX, and Knoxville, TN. It runs until January 29.

McDonald’s told YAhoo! Finance in a statement: “We are always listening to our customers regarding our menu offerings. So far, our customers in Houston and Knoxville have had a positive response to the test of our Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Deluxe Crispy Chicken sandwich. Feedback and insights from the test will inform our decisions moving forward.”

Okay. So far, so good. But if you’re still a believer in ‘Chinese Food Syndrome’ or other alleged ills caused by MSG, you should know that Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s both use MSG in their market-leading Chicken Sandwiches. Have you been enjoying those Sammys headache-free all along?

McDonald’s stands firm

McD’s Chief Nutritionist Dr. Cindy Goody said in a statement: We’re passionate about our food and take great care to offer delicious, quality menu options to our customers that are produced and sourced in a responsible way. We use real, quality ingredients to elevate the taste of our food so our customers all over the world can enjoy. We are committed to providing customers with easy access to ingredients and nutritional information to help them make informed food choices when they order from the McDonald’s menu.”

McDonald’s does not use MSG in any of its permanent menu items. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is still in market testing and it is not on the permanent menu.

Changed your mind?

Have any of the revelations in this post changed your mind about the western world’s favourite Fried Chicken Sandwiches? Even cast doubt on your present or future allegiances? Remember, McDonald’s is always listening to its customers. If you have something to say, tell them, not me, at: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/contact-us/restaurant-feedback.html .

~ Maggie J.