Say NO to MSG
Dedicated to the Public Awareness of Monosodium Glutamate and other Excitotoxins.
An Incident at Perkins
by Mick Zellar


An experience that Sassafras and I had a few years ago in Kalamazoo, MI, is worth relating. We had stopped at a Perkins and noticed they had a new menu with new items. I explained to our server that my wife was allergic to MSG and we knew the Perkins menu pretty well, but we would like to ask some questions about the new items. She said that Perkins didn't use MSG. "He looked kind of shocked... [over their use of] MSG"We had heard this at a couple of other Perkins locations in Michigan and I took umbrage to it. She very pleasantly said that her Regional manager was in the store. She asked if I would like to talk to him since he was the one that had told them that in a meeting. Well, I went and met him and he assured me that Perkins used no MSG. I questioned him on this and told him what would happen if my wife ate something that had MSG in it. He said that he had just returned from a training seminar in Tennessee and they had told him that Perkins did not use MSG. When I started to tell him the dishes that I knew for sure contained MSG, he took his cell phone off of his belt and made a call, asking me to hold on a minute. He started to talk to somebody and told him what I had said about MSG being in his menu. He looked kind of shocked and when he hung up, apologized to me. He said the Corporate Trainer he talked to clarified it for him. Perkins did not add any MSG, and they did not use any products like Lowry's or Mrs. Dash at their restaurants, but much of the food they serve is prepared and frozen at a regional center and that this center did use MSG to enhance the flavor so that it could be frozen and then microwaved.

This gentleman was so apologetic I felt sorry for him. He willingly accepted a couple of pages of information concerning MSG. They were a copy of the list of ingredients that contain MSG and the list of symptoms that can come from its use. As an addendum to this story, we bumped into him in an East Grand Rapids, MI location a few months later and he recognized us. He said he had something to show us. In the restaurants operations manual he had added the handouts we gave him and said he had put it in every operations manual in his region. He also said that he had shared it with other regional managers, but couldn't attest to if they were going to use it as well. We thanked him. By the way, this didn't make the food safer at Perkins. 80% of their menu still contains excitotoxins, but it made the experience of eating there safer because their management and wait staff were now aware of excitotoxins and that they were found in the Perkins menu.