McDonald’s is the king of marketing, having created a cult-like following surrounding their “McRib” sandwich. Originally introduced in 1981, McDonald’s made the sandwich a ‘special’ selection menu item available in certain regions at different times. It has come and gone throughout the years, now making a triumphant return at the end of 2013.
Disturbing is the only word to use to describe such a monstrosity, as the “McRib” contains over 70 ingredients for an item that is supposedly compiled from a bun, a barbecue patty, pickles, and onions. In fact the McDonald’s official website is daring enough to list all of the ingredients contained within the franken-creation.
*Taken from the McDonald’s website
MCRIB PORK PATTYIngredients: Pork, Water, Salt, Dextrose, Preservatives (BHA, Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid).
The ‘pork’ is restructured meat, meaning that there is no real quality meat involved. Instead they use the disposable innards of the pig such as tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, which are then turned over to a process that cooks all of the pig scraps in water and salt. This process extracts all of the salt-soluble proteins and congeals everything together into a rubbery concoction respectfully titled as a “pork patty.” (1)
Notice the ingredients propyl gallate and BHA. This preservative is one to look out for, as it can cause promoted urinary bladder and thyroid carcinogenesis. Studies have noted that BHA and propyl gallate showed additional effects in inducing stomach hyperplasia and cytotoxicity. (2)
But we already knew McDonald’s meat was sub-par. Let’s move on to the bun.
The McRib Bun
Allergens: WHEAT AND SOY
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Yeast, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less: Salt, Corn Meal, Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oils, Dextrose, Sugar, Malted Barley Flour, Cultured Wheat Flour, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate, Soy Flour, Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono- and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono- and Diglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Guar Gum, Calcium Peroxide), Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Soy Lecithin.
CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY
That’s almost 40 ingredients for the bun alone. Interesting that high-fructose corn syrup is the fourth ingredient considering it is known to cause pancreatic cancer. (3) If the hydrogenated oils alone don’t ring your alarm, then perhaps the ammonium and calcium sulfate will, seeing how their common usage is as a soil fertilizer. That’s nothing to worry about, however, considering the FDA approved it as a safe food additive. Azodicarbonamide takes the cake for unnecessary ingredients, acting as a ‘dough conditioner’. Azodicarbonamide is used in the manufacture of foamed-plastics in the U.S. and is banned in Europe and Australia. (4) The use of this chemical in Singapore actually results in jail time.
The McRib Sauce
Ingredients: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Tomato Paste, Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Natural Smoke Flavor (Plant Source), Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sugar, Spices, Soybean Oil, Xanthan Gum, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Chili Pepper, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Caramel Color, Beet Powder.
Here we see high fructose corn syrup again as a main ingredient.
Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Alum, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Polysorbate 80, Extractives of Turmeric (Color).
Even the pickles are carcinogenic. Potassium sorbate is a genotoxic and mutagenic compound. (5)
Surely a ‘ribless’ rib patty would raise questions for anyone as to how such a thing could even exist. Marta Fearon, Marketing Director for McDonald’s, says the lack of actual “ribs” is what gives the item its “quirky sense of humour” — an interesting spin from a marketing director.
If this information were common knowledge, would people still be eating these things? The good news is that fast food nutrition awareness is spreading like wildfire. McDonald’s was shut down and banned in Bolivia, Bermuda, and Iceland in the past decade. Stories such as the “Strange Fibers Found in Chicken McNuggets” and the “McRib Breakdown” are making headlines as people are beginning to make more conscious decisions about the food they are choosing to put in their bodies. Perhaps the day of worldwide McDonald’s prohibition is just around the corner. Let us at least hope.
1.) digitalcommons.unl.edu (restructured meat info)
2.) www.ewg.org (Propyl gallate information)
4.) apps.who.int (azodicarbonamide information)
5.) nutritionfacts.org (potassium sorbate information)