Things are heating back up in the chicken sandwich wars, and the pressure has reportedly pushed McDonald’s to use the flavor enhancer MSG in its new Crispy Chicken sandwiches in its bid to compete with rivals Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
Bloomberg reported that MSG, also known as monosodium glutamate, is being used in the sandwiches, which are currently being tested in Houston and Knoxville, Tennessee. The test was announced on December 2 and will run until January 26.
Yahoo Finance reached out to McDonald’s for confirmation on the report, and a spokesperson responded, “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.”
MSG is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration, but it has been a controversial ingredient for many years because some people react negatively to it. Some people say they experience headaches and numbness, and others say they associate MSG with processed or unhealthy foods.
It’s important to note that both Popeyes and Chick-fil-A currently use MSG in their chicken sandwiches, and both companies post their full ingredients lists online. McDonald’s doesn’t use MSG in its food that is on the national menu, and there are no updates from the company yet on whether the Crispy Chicken Sandwiches will be added to the menu permanently.
McDonald’s has been making strides to use purer ingredients in its food. Most recently, it switched to fresh beef patties in its Quarter Pounders and is looking to make a full switch over to cage-free eggs.
“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,” McDonald’s Chief Nutritionist Dr. Cindy Goody said in a statement to Yahoo Finance. “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.”
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
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