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Health

McDonald's Answers Some Uncomfortable Questions About Food

| by Jonathan Wolfe

McDonald’s took a page out of Taco Bell’s book recently and answered some questions about the ingredients and additives used in their food. The answers can be found on their website, but we’ll save you some time and post several of them here.

For starters, McDonald’s says they do not use mechanically separated meat – sometimes referred to as “pink slime" – in their beef.

“Lean finely textured beef treated with ammonia, what some individuals call “pink slime" or select lean beef trimmings, is not used in our burgers,” the company says. “Any recent reports that it is are false.”

The company admits they used to use “Pink Slime”, but stopped doing so after widespread negative media coverage of the product in 2011. (Side note: this is why it’s important to call companies out on questionable practices. It can make a difference.)

McDonald’s also denies they use the variation of azodicarbonamide found in yoga mats and plastics in their food.

“We recognize the difference between using ingredients in food versus using a variation of those ingredients for non-food purposes can be confusing,” they write. “We also realize that sometimes the scientific name for an ingredient may sound scary. For example, the salt you use to de-ice a driveway is a variation of the salt you use in the kitchen, however they are both sodium chloride.”

Here are more questions and answers for a number of their products:

Q: Are your hamburgers made using real beef?

Answer: Yes. Our burgers in the US are made using only 100% USDA-inspected beef. There are no preservatives, no fillers, no extenders and no so-called “pink slime” in our beef. The only thing added to our burgers is a bit of salt and pepper during grilling.

Q: Do you use so-called ‘Pink Slime’ in your burgers?

Answer: Lean finely textured beef treated with ammonia, what some individuals call 'pink slime' or select lean beef trimmings, is not used in our burgers. Any recent reports that it is are false.

McDonald’s USA had begun the process of removing it from our supply chain prior to widespread media coverage on its use and it was completely removed from our supply in 2011. While select lean beef trimmings are safe, we decided to stop using the product to align our global standards for beef around the world.

Q: Do you import beef from Brazil, from clear-cut rainforests? Do you import chicken from China?

Answer: Most of our beef we use in our U.S. restaurants comes from the U.S, although we import a small percentage of our 100% beef from suppliers in Australia and New Zealand to supplement our U.S. purchases. These suppliers must also meet McDonald’s quality and safety standards and USDA regulations. In fact, we’ve maintained a global policy against using beef sourced from de-forested rainforests since 1989.

All of the chicken we use in our U.S. restaurants is born and raised in the U.S. and comes from our trusted USDA-inspected American suppliers. 

Q: Why do your chicken McNuggets include and anti-foaming agent?

Answer: McDonald’s frying oil contains a small amount of an additive called dimethlypolysiloxane, which helps prevent oil from foaming and spattering in our restaurants.  

All of the ingredients we use, including dimethylpolysiloxane, meet recognized food quality and safety standards.  Because dimethylpolysiloxane is used in some non-food products, like putty, caulks  or cosmetics, there have been individuals who have erroneously claimed that these items are also in our food.

We recognize the difference between using ingredients in food versus using a variation of those ingredients for non-food purposes can be confusing. We also realize that sometimes the scientific name for an ingredient may sound scary. For example, the salt you use to de-ice a driveway is a variation of the salt you use in the kitchen, however they are both sodium chloride.

Q: Is the McRib made using the same plastics as yoga mats?

Answer: We use ingredients that are commonly used by the food industry and meet recognized food quality and safety standards. Azodicarbonamide is used by bakers to help ensure a consistent texture in each batch of bread they bake. It is used in many items on grocery store shelves, like some hot dog and hamburger buns and other bread products you may already purchase.  

Because a variation of this ingredient is used in some non-food products, including yoga mats, there have been individuals who have erroneously claimed that our food contains that same rubber or plastics. This is simply not true. 

We recognize the difference between using ingredients in food versus using a variation of those ingredients for non-food purposes can be confusing. We also realize that sometimes the scientific name for an ingredient may sound scary. For example, the salt you use to de-ice a driveway is a variation of the salt you use in the kitchen, however they are both sodium chloride.

Sources: McDonald's, Mail Online