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Many people find making homemade soups, casseroles or other savoury dishes a whole lot easier when using commercially-bought stock. Whether it is chicken, beef or vegetable stock, using a liquid stock helps reduce preparation time. The problem with this is that many commercially-bought stocks contain nasty additives. And this is not always obvious when reading the packaging.

One example is Massel Chicken Style Stock.

If you need to eat low FODMAP or you are vegan/vegetarian, this “chicken style” stock could be suitable. BUT, if you react to MSG/glutamates, this may not be suitable for you.

Be careful with products like these. The first red flag for me when I read this product’s packaging was “chicken style”. This means it is not chicken stock, it is chicken “style” stock. Once a product claims to taste like something without having that something in the product, there is going to be one or more flavours and/or flavour enhancers present.

The product states it contains “no added MSG”, BUT yeast extract (and possibly natural vegetable flavours) contains free glutamates which can cause similar reactions as MSG. This means that if you react to MSG, you will most likely also react to yeast extract. Strictly speaking, there is no MSG added to the product, but this does not mean that the product is free of MSG-type chemicals. Massel is not alone in this – Continental and Campbell’s chicken stocks are the same.

If you are looking for real chicken stock, not “chicken style” stock, there are a couple of fabulous alternatives, free of MSG-type chemicals. Obviously homemade stock is best – making up a large pot of stock with chicken bones, leek/onions, carrots, swede, parsnip, celery, garlic and salt (or your preferred veggies to suit your dietary requirements) and freezing in cups or litre containers is perfect for homemade dishes. But not everyone is willing (or able) to do this!

One additive-free commercially-available chicken stock I love is the Celebrate Health Organic Chicken Stock found in the health food section in Coles supermarkets. Another one is the Woolworths Gold Free Range Chicken Stock*. There are additive-free alternatives, so next time you are buying a packaged chicken stock, try one of these instead.

*the Woolworths Gold Free Range Chicken Stock labelling states it has “No added MSG”, with a note that it “may contain naturally occurring glutamates”. I have asked Woolworths which ingredients would have naturally occurring glutamates, however they haven’t provided an answer yet. So if you are super-sensitive to glutamates, this product may not be suitable, but in saying that, if you are super-sensitive to glutamates you may not be buying any commercially-bought stocks.

If you need personalised help in avoiding additives to improve the health, wellness and/or learning of your family, please give me a call or drop me an email. I’m conducting online Zoom/Skype wellness sessions with clients during COVID-19 restrictions.

Jenny Ravlic, 4 September 2020

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