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Jul 14, 2009 08:03 AM

does OLD BAY SEASONING, from Macormick, contain any msg-like artificial ingredients for enhancing its flavour?

i once cooked 1 pound hamburger patties after seasoned them with 2 tasp of the old bay seasoning, made by mcormick.
i tasted the hamburger and felt like it containing some kinds of artificial seasoning.
is my suspicion could be correct?

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  1. Here is the ingredient list:

    Ingredients in Old Bay Seasoning: Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices (including Mustard, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Bay [Laurel] Leaves, Cloves, Allspice [Pimento], Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon), and Paprika

    I always thought Old Bay was pretty "real."

    1. Celery salt often tastes very artificial to me. Could be that aspect of the Old Bay Seasoning, a product I often use myself. Never tried it with hamburgers, though.

      7 Replies
      1. re: jmnewel

        I like a touch (a very light touch) of Old Bay in certain fish and poultry dishes. To my palate the flavor doesn't go well with red meat.

        1. re: BobB

          hey do you think the ingredients of the spice rub that bobby flay pat on his burger patty are smewhat similar to those of old bay seasoning???
          i didnt try yet BF's spice rub but suspect it will probably immitate the taste of old bay seasoning

          1. re: hae young

            No. Old Bay Seasoning would not be a Bobby Flay flavor profile. A Bobby Flay rub would have something like Ancho chile peppers, cumin, salt, pepper, perhaps some paprika, mexican oregano. Now this is just a guess, but ... look I found his rub!

            Spice Rub

            Bobby coats the patty with a rub before grilling: Mix 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika, 1 teaspoon each dried oregano, ground coriander, dry mustard, ground cumin and kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon ground chile de arbol. (He also sells rubs at


        2. re: jmnewel

          hey i dont know why but heard many saying that celery salt is good natural subsitute for msg-like flavour. as i know, celery salt or celery seasoning contains just celery seeds and some typs of salt.
          is there some real diffrences just within ground celery seeds or could it be that celery seeds are also processed chemicaly with mixed salt so it mimick that atifiical taste.
          i didnt try yet but how about if i buy good ground celery seed and mix with pure salt and then taste it and add to the meat.
          would it produce similar result like when i used celery salt from some brand in supermarket?

          1. re: hae young

            i just don't get celery with red meat.

            1. re: hae young

              Celery is not high on the glutamate scale but does have a lot of umami IMO

              1. re: scubadoo97

                And it's usually not really celery seed but lovage or wild celery seed, which has a different (more vibrant) flavor profile.

          2. Old Bay does not contain MSG or any "MSG-like" ingredients.


            3 Replies
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              That is an incorrect statement. MSG cannot be legally listed as a 'spice'. MSG is a food additive and FDA regulates it's usage and labeling. It has to appear on an ingredient statement as "MSG or Monosodium Glutamte"

              1. re: rshigemura

                do you mean there is some possibilities msg or msg-like may be in old bay seasoning but not listed?

                1. re: rshigemura

                  How is this incorrect then? I'm confused. If you're saying that MSG or Monosodium Glutamate would have to be listed as such, and it's not on the label, then how is Uncle Bob's statement wrong?

              2. So here's the problem with the "Ingredient List"; it says "Spices (including...)". That's a red flag. If it listed the spices and did not say "spices" that would make a world of difference. MSG can legally be listed as a spice. Also, asking the company is pointless, because unless you ask for the specific form of Glutamate (there's a lot of different names - and MSG is only one form that adds free glutamates to food - soy sauce, hydrolyzed protein, etc all add different levels of it) they will never tell you it contains that ingredient unless you ask for the exact form and the exact name they are using in the product - and they are still legally correct in saying 'no' because technically it doesn't contain MSG, but may contain hydrolyzed protein or autolyzed yeast, etc. Don't believe it - look up autolyzed yeast or yeast extract or hydrolyzed protein, wikipedia, google, etc. Sounds nothing like MSG does it - but they do exactly the same thing - and have the same effect as MSG.

                "According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hydrolyzed protein is used to enhance flavor as it contains free glutamic acid and may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). When added this way, the labels are not required to list MSG as an ingredient."

                (quoted from wiki)

                Everyone says - "oh they don't want to tell you their secrets" - that's baloney - listing ingredients is not giving away secrets - especially when people have food allergies and are putting it into their bodies. I, for one, believe that Old Bay HAS MSG - I would luv to send it to a lab and test it. You can definitely taste it for one, and several people I now have had reactions to it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: jfvwi

                  MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a natural product - Asians have been using it for eons - in the form of seaweed, and many soy products.

                  MSG is a form of Glutamic Acid, an amino acid that is needed for making the body's proteins - and we can/do make make it.

                  Is it possible that celery seed is rich in Glutamic Acid - its certainly possible but I don't feel like researching that question.

                  1. re: rich in stl

                    Yes it is all natural. People can not have an allergic reaction to it but they can have a sensitivity to it.


                    1. re: DishDelish

                      I love MSG I use it whenever I want that awesome unami flavor profile,

                      1. re: worldwarz

                        I haven't actually used it myself except the msg that naturally occurs in shoyu, but I certainly have enjoyed it in meals that others have prepared. ;)

                2. Oh, goodness. The MSG police are in the house again. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have an allergic reaction. Although I doubt a lot of those who say they're allergic really are.

                  Old Bay seasoning has such a distinctive yet complex flavor it only fits the bill to season seafood, usually crab or lobster. Using it to fit other flavor profiles is something one does at one's own risk. Personally, I don't use it. Nor am I particularly fond of *any* "seasoning" amalgam. I do want to try one or two of those that Penzey's offers, however.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: shaogo

                    I've had some mighty fine fries seasoned with Old Bay!

                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      I season the flour for my fried chicken woth Old Bay and I also like it occasionally in tuna salad. i do think that it goes better with seafood or chicken or fries of course rather than beef.

                      1. re: baseballfan

                        It is excellent in egg salad. I add it to ratatouille as well, and to all fish dishes.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Great idea for the egg salad. I hadn't thought of that.

                      2. re: nofunlatte

                        I use old bay in my homemade bloody mary mix. Wonderful! tomato juice, worcheshire, horeseradish, tabasco sauce, celery seed, old bay and lemon juice. I also use it on chicken, especially wings and chicken breasts, and of course fish. Never had any adverse reaction to it...

                        1. re: mrsbuffer

                          Oh, my! Old bay bloody mary! It must be Sunday morning somewhere in the world right now... eh, it's not. But I will definitely give it a go soon.
                          As far as msg goes, I have no sensitivity to it and dig out my Accent when I feel it's needed, especially for Asian dishes. I find it really gives a dish the "something" that may have been missing.

                      3. re: shaogo

                        """Oh, goodness. The MSG police are in the house again.""""
                        yes, the msg issues seem to pop up with some regularity. watcha gonna do?

                        hebrew national franks have glutamates, too.