Ask a Healer Food Additives Series
Are you sensitive to MSG? Then, garlic sauce and cheese bisquits may be out for you!
by N J Howell
How to Detox MSG
I went to Red Lobster with a friend. I had been there before, but not for a while. I couldn't remember if what I usually had, the shrimp scampi, used to cause msg-reaction symptoms but decided to stay away from it and ordered the tilapia and veggies in the parchment bag.
I also ate some of their cheese bisquits and wondered, at the burst of yumminess that hit my mouth when I bit into one, whether they might have msg.
I asked the hostess for an allergen list. She brought me one but it did not even mention monosodium glutamate as an allergen. It listed gluten, wheat, peanuts, soy but nothing on msg. In surfing and searching on Red Lobster and msg, I finally came across the same incomplete allergen list I was handed at the restaurant I frequented.
I also asked the waiter who said, and I quote, "I don't know what to tell you."
He went back and asked the manager and came back saying that none of Red Lobster's foods contain msg; they don't use it and haven't for over 9 years. I've learned to be skeptical but went ahead and ate the bisquits.
I ended up with msg-reaction symptoms though certainly not on a par with, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Campbell's Soup.
So, I came home and started researching to see if, even though that waiter adamantly said "no msg", what he really meant was no added msg by the name "monosodium glutamate". Since restaurants and food manufacturers are not required to reveal msg that is hidden in other ingredients, it often exists (sometimes in great quanity) even as they can honestly say there is no monosodium glutamate added.
Of course, I went first to the source, the Red Lobster website. I could find NOTHING on allergens or food by food ingredient list whatsoever. Hmmmm.... I tried repeatedly to request an ingredient list from the website feedback form and repeatedly got an error saying I had not filled out all required fields. I had filled out all fields, required or not. So, no easy way to contact a person who could give me an ingredient list.
There was a link referring to allergen information. When I clicked that link, I got the following error message: We're sorry, the page you are looking for is currently unavailable.
Please contact your local Red Lobster directly for this information.
Online references to Red Lobster and Monosodium Glutamate:
I found reference to the garlic sauce that is used on the shrimp scampi. If this is the true ingredient list, I would definintely assume that the butter sauce contains hidden msg:
Garlic powder, maltodextrin, salt, onion powder, hydrolyzed soy protein, torula yeast, dehydrated parsley, malic acid, sugar, natural and artificial flavor (maltodextrin, butter oil), with not more than 2% silicon dioxide added as an anti-caking agent. Contains: Milk, Soy.
From what I've read, anything hydrolyzed contains msg so when I came across this info about Red Lobster, straight from a representative of the company, it appeared to me that they simply are not willing to disclose and that their products may have a lot more msg than they will admit. I defintely think the bisquits contain it.
Here's what was posted from a Red Lobster representative on the MSG Report Blog:
"We cannot guarantee the absence of MSG in our menu items. Our products may contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) as part of the spice blends. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is used as a flavor enhancer and individuals who are sensitive to MSG may also react to HVP."
Monosodium Glutamate is in every fast food restaurant I've checked so far, including Ruby Tuesday, a sit down restaurant, and fast food giants like Wendy's..
Health Care Disclaimer: MSG is considered safe for human consumption, according to the FDA. This in spite of the fact that msg-related health questions and complaints abound. I believe it's a toxic ingredient and should be banned, particularly in foods for babies and children. Whatever your position, this information is given for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice or attention, should you be dealing with acute msg sensitivity.