“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…”
Who doesn’t know about McDonalds’? Even children as young as 3 recognize it. With a marketing campaign that targets us from the playpen to the grave how can they lose? And they’re everywhere, from Azusa California to the Eastern Cape in South Africa, from the Bronx to Sri Lanka, everybody loves Mickie Ds’! Currently there are over 33,000 outlets in 123 different countries. They aren’t the largest fast food franchise that honor goes to Subway but they are in more countries than Subway.
Yep, like many of you, I grew up on McDonalds’, so did my kids and now my grandkids are doing the same. However a lot has changed since the days of my youth and the famous 15 cents burgers. Now we are constantly hearing about the ills of fast foods. Last week I caught a report on channel 4 about a certain chemical McDonalds’ uses in preparing their hamburger patties. The chemical, ammonium hydroxide is the same chemical used in fertilizers, household cleansers and even homemade bombs. Sounds yummy huh?
Well McDonalds’ claims they stopped using the chemical months ago even though the U.S. Agriculture Department has classified the chemical as “generally recognized as safe.” The chemical is widely used in the food industry as a way to kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoans in meats. In other words it allows McDonalds’ and others to use “inedible meat” in their burgers. Some claim that what they are doing is “Basically we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest form for dogs and making it ‘fit’ for human consumption.” Sort of makes you want to rush out and and get a Big Mac and fries doesn’t it?
Worse yet, because it’s approved by the USDA as a part of the meat production process, there is no way of knowing when the chemical is in our food. The only sure way to avoid it would be to choose fresher meat products and cook it at home. What! No more Big Macs, Happy Meals or Quarter Pounders? I don’t think so. Although many people are surprised by the report, it will no doubt have little affect on sales. McDonalds’ is a way of life, a cultural icon, it will take a lot more than some chemical to slow them down.
Of course you have to realize that some of our most popular foods are laced with questionable chemicals. You may not care about what’s in the food you eat or even want to know what’s in that secret sauce. But for those of you who do, here are a few more questionable chemicals that we consume regularly with our take out foods.
Propylene glycol: chemical very similar to ethylene glycol, a dangerous anti-freeze. This less-toxic cousin prevents products from becoming too solid. Some ice creams have this ingredient; otherwise you’d be eating ice.
Carmine: Commonly found in red food coloring, this chemical comes from crushed cochineal, small red beetles that burrow into cacti. Husks of the beetle are ground up and forms the basis for red coloring found in foods ranging from cranberry juice to M&Ms.
Shellac: Yes, this chemical used to finish wood products also gives some candies their sheen. It comes from the female Lac beetle.
L-cycsteine: This common dough enhancer comes from hair, feathers, hooves and bristles.
Lanolin (gum base): Next time you chew on gum, remember this. The goopiness of gum comes from lanolin, oils from sheep’s wool that is also used for vitamin D3 supplements.
Silicon dioxide: Nothing weird about eating sand, right? This anti-caking agent is found in many foods including shredded cheese and fast food chili.
And this is just the tip of the ice berg. There are over 78 different chemical additives in Mc Donald’s products. A Big Mac has 18 different additives, a cheeseburger 17, and those tasty McNuggets’, well we wont even go there.
So, maybe next time you have a craving for a Big Mac extra value meal or those chicken nuggets for the kids, you’ll stop for just a moment and think about all the chemicals you’re ingesting when you eat McDonalds’. Maybe you’ll finally realize just what your putting in your mouth and decide to cook something up at home instead. But then those burgers are so tasty and those mouth watering fries are hard to pass up, so maybe not. Besides, Mikey D’s is counting on you…