The McRib Is Back. And People Actually Eat It!

Well before I became a vegetarian I stopped eating McDonalds. The reason? I was completely disgusted by the thought of what horrid animals parts were chopped up in the “meats.” Turns out that I was right to be disgusted, but now I also know that I was doing right by my body. It’s not just flecks of skin and bits of stomach getting ground in, but also dangerous chemicals.

The McRib is back!

I’d never paid attention to said sandwich in the past, but a Facebook friend posted its ingredients a couple of nights ago, and yesterday I drove by a big banner along the road heralding it’s return. The McRib apparently has a cult following.

Let’s cut to the chase. Some terrifying information on the McRib: (Thank you, Time Healthland.)

  • Comprised of an astounding 70 ingredients.
  • Has 980 mg of sodium.
  • Boasts 10 grams of saturated fat.
  • One of the “ingredients” is azodicarbonamide, “a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes. The compound is banned in Europe and Australia as a food additive. (England’s Health and Safety Executive classified it as a “respiratory sensitizer” that potentially contributes to asthma through occupational exposure.) The U.S. limits azodicarbonamide to 45 parts per million in commercial flour products, based on analysis of lab testing.”
  • Another ingredient, ammonium sulfate, is used in fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and in flame retardants.
  • And, polysorbate 80, one more additive, is apparently used pretty commonly in foods, but here’s what I learned about it: “In general, polysorbate 80 is safe and well-tolerated, although a small number of people may be sensitive to this substance, and it may be harmful to people with Crohn’s disease.” Why are we eating this stuff?

When I looked a bit further for information on this uber-unhealthy sandwich, I learned that I was right to be nauseated at the thought of ever eating McDonald’s meats: (Thank you, Consumerist for finding this passage from Food Chains: From Farmyard to Shopping Cart.)

“Most people would be extremely unhappy if they were served heart or tongue on a plate,” he observed. “But flaked into a restructured product it loses its identity. Such products as tripe, heart, and scalded stomachs are high in protein, completely edible, wholesome, and nutritious, and most are already used in sausage without objection.” Pork patties could be shaped into any form and marketed in restaurants or for airlines, solving a secondary problem of irregular portion size of cuts such as pork chops. In 1981 McDonald’s introduced a boneless pork sandwich of chunked and formed meat called the McRib, developed in part through check-off funds [micro-donations from pork producers] from the NPPC [National Pork Producers Council]. It was not as popular as the McNugget, introduced in 1983, would be, even though both products were composed of unmarketable parts of the animal (skin and dark meat in the McNugget). The McNugget, however, benefited from positive consumer associations with chicken, even though it had none of the “healthy” attributes people associated with poultry.”

So, good news, People! The McRib is back!

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