Chicken crimpy behaviour?

A failsafe mother wrote about her sister, who tries to do failsafe but gets slack:

"her boy was running around in circles and hasn't done it for ages until the last 24 hours..."

What did he eat? 

"She said she met a friend at the park and he had gone nuts on chicken crimpies ... disgusting... could it be that ?"

A look at the ingredients


The ingredients include Flavour enhancers (E621, E635) - that's MSG and MSG boosters. Plus natural flavour. Altogether that suggests a big dose of both artificial and natural glutamates.

So YES -  those crackers could cause behavioural changes in a child, as reported by our readers.

What our readers say (including a teachers' aide and a doctor)

I have worked out that my son's bad behaviour is all due to added MSG. He is OK on cheese and other natural MSG products - but give him a KFC chicken nugget packet and their chicken salt chips with the so called "secret herbs and spices" and you can see the reaction within 30 to 60 minutes. I'm not surprised as I get very similar reactions with MSG although my reaction is different  ... I have Irritable Bowel and my reaction to MSG is to have a bad IBS attack. Sometimes I get an almost "high on drugs" feeling where my skin starts to crawl - from story [244] 

I work as a teachers’ aide in special schools ... I can tell you from my experience assisting children with autism during snack and lunchtime that most of the kids come with processed food, usually chips and crackers ... I can see a child go from calm to extreme change in behaviour after eating foods like BBQ Shapes and some types of Harvest Snaps, both containing glutamates ...  Eating changes their behaviours significantly, hand flapping increases, closing ears, pacing etc ... Sheree from story [1509] 
My ASD son, now 18, is definitely sensitive to glutamates, both artificially added and naturally occurring. His tolerance has improved over the years - he can have small amounts without too much effect, eg some peas in food. Artificial glutamates (MSG type additives) are another story - definite behavioural changes with these ... we get nasty mood swings and extreme anger that is easily triggered ... never violent to people, but often throws things, smashes things, slams doors etc ... – Leanne from story [1508]

Glutamates and MSG - observed behaviour: defiance, prolonged tantrums, aggressive (out of character), poor concentration, irritable, difficulty settling at night for up to one week -- Helen GP from story [1334]
Just one single meal with actual MSG or other flavour enhancers is too high (for my DD12) ... her reaction is delayed, remaining completely calm for 18-20 hours after ingestion, but then Bang! Full on emotional meltdown with unstoppable angry crying and ranting even when removed from the situation, such as continuing to yell from the other side of the road at a friend about something minor. This then continues for a full 5 days, from a single ingestion, worse each day when triggered with all emotions ramped up (happy, sad, angry, whatever ... they’re all maxed out) to the point where my normally calm and adored by her teacher girl in Prep worked her way through all levels of disciplinary procedure to the Head of Junior School in the space of 3 days as nobody could handle her. She then woke up on day 6 calm as, back to normal, full emotional regulation back on track - Tracy from story [1510]

Warning: MSG is not always called MSG

Several years ago, we asked our members to read labels on supermarket shelves and report different names for MSG. Altogether we found 129!!!

One family wrote:

“We are a family of four – we all react to MSG with moodiness and picking fights. The day after we've broken our diet it is hard to all live under the same roof.  When we found out that hydrolysed vegetable protein is the same as MSG it made a big difference for us – no more flavoured rice crackers in our house!”

See 129 ways to add MSG and fool consumers

See more

MSG factsheet

More reader stories about 621 and 635 in our story collections

Our blog post: MSG for kids to be limited