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McDonald's Happy Meal-Takes a lickin' and keeps on...whatever [moved from Food Media and News]

Phaedrus Oct 12, 2010 10:24 AM

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

Six months on a shelf and no sign of decay. Excellent!

  1. chowser Oct 18, 2010 11:57 AM

    Who says Americans can't make long life products? Seriously, I was talking to someone whose family is in funerals (undertakers) and he claimed that people last longer these days, post-mortem, before they start decaying. I have no idea what the truth is but if these preservatives make food last longer, it's possible it can affect our bodies similarly.

    13 Replies
    1. re: chowser
      i
      ios94 Feb 2, 2012 10:12 AM

      I'm bumping an old thread where we had a discussion (half way through this thread) about fillers in McD's beef patties. Some people were ok with and didn't question McD's stating that the only ingredient in their beef patty was beef, salt and pepper.

      I guess pink slime could technically be considered part of the cattle (the parts that your butcher won't sell) and not filler, but treating it with Ammonium Hydroxide?!?!?! lol

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/pink-slime-fast-food_n_1237206.html?ref=mostpopular

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

      1. re: ios94
        s
        small h Feb 8, 2012 10:16 AM

        Seen this?

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831548

        1. re: ios94
          c
          Clams047 Feb 8, 2012 11:01 AM

          Considering the incredible amount of salt (a preservative) in McDonald burgers, it shouldn't surprise anyone that they might last as long as cured meats.

          1. re: Clams047
            e
            ediblover Feb 8, 2012 12:27 PM

            A McDonald's hamburger has 520 mg of salt.

            An In-n-Out burger with onions has 650 mg of salt.

            A Junior hamburger from Wendys has 620 mg of salt.

            Where is this "incredible amount of salt" that you're talking about? You do know that a high end restaurant will have far more salt in their foods than any of the burgers above, right?

            1. re: ediblover
              c
              Clams047 Feb 9, 2012 05:39 AM

              For a start, ever taste a McDonald burger? Its flavor is essentially salt, unless you over power it with a lot of mustard & ketchup. Their fries actually have less than half the sodium content of their burgers. 100 grams of ground beef start with about 70 mg of sodium. The rest is added by McDonalds.

              A 265 gm portion of a Five Guys burger has 430 mg of sodium vs. the 520 mg of a 100 gm McDonald burger (about 1/3 the salt).

              1. re: Clams047
                tommy Feb 9, 2012 05:47 AM

                Overpower it with ketchup? 1 T of Heinz has 160 mg sodium. LOL!

                1. re: tommy
                  c
                  Clams047 Feb 9, 2012 09:54 AM

                  Ever see anyone dump about half a bottle of ketchup on a burger, fries, scrambled eggs, etc? Along that line, I've never did understood why so many have to add so much sugar to their burgers, etc.

                  For me, a simple grilled pepper and perhaps grilled onions and / or mushrooms are all a burger really needs.

                2. re: Clams047
                  e
                  ediblover Feb 10, 2012 03:35 PM

                  And, the point is? The discussion was never amount the quality/taste of McDonald's foods.

                  It's fairly clear that McDonald's salt content is average in the fast food realm (For the record, BK's hamburger has 490mg). There's no, "incredible amount of salt" as you falsely claim. 600 is hardly a huge amount when the RDA is 2,300.

                  If all you add to a burger is pepper and onions/mushrooms, then you know nothing about cooking (Bashing ketchup, arguably the perfect condiment, only confirms this). A burger, and just about every food out there, needs salt to reach its full potential. No salt = Bland.

                  1. re: ediblover
                    tommy Feb 10, 2012 05:07 PM

                    When I make 40 ounces of pizza dough, which makes 4 10 ounces pizzas, I add about 5 grams of salt. Sometimes people add up to about 15 grams.

                    Figure 10 grams is the average, divided by 4 pizzas, and that's about 1 pizza per person, not counting toppings, and additional salt, and oh my goodness, that's 2500mg of salt! I'm making fast food that only tastes of salt!

                    Actually, haha, I'm making good food. Something that cooks do, and they do that in part by using salt.

                    1. re: tommy
                      c
                      Clams047 Feb 10, 2012 05:58 PM

                      "oh my goodness, that's 2500mg of salt! I'm making fast food that only tastes of salt!"

                      Fully agree.

                      A bit of salt agreeably can enhance flavor. Excessive salt (or sugar in the case of ketchup) simply drowns out real flavor (although for some, can make up for an otherwise flavorless item).

                    2. re: ediblover
                      c
                      Clams047 Feb 10, 2012 05:52 PM

                      Sums up well why fast food places (and other cheap chains) load up everything with salt and sugar (and fat). It's a lot cheaper than flavor where the average Joe believes that's flavor. Of course, that's why McDonalds, Olive Garden, Subway, etc continue to draw in the average Joe.

                      Makes one wonder, does McDonalds et al add all that salt to cater to an average Joe's palate or do they do that to minimize potential food poisoning?

                      Hint - try a roasted / grilled pepper on your next burger. It needs no high salt level nor ketchup (basically sugar) to produce a flavorful item.

                      Where do you get 2300 mg as normal? That's a MAXIMUM - top limit for an adult.

                      http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsSodium/

                      "We all need a small amount (e.g., between about 180 mg and 500 mg per day) of sodium to keep our bodies working properly."

                      It's nice to know that one can get their entire daily sodium requirement through one child size burger.

                      "The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500 mg of sodium per day as the Adequate Intake level for most Americans and advises everyone to limit sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day, the Tolerable Upper Limit."

                      Getting back to my original point, there should be no question why a McDonalds burger (and other similar burgers, as you point out) could last months without decay. All that salt is a great preservative - basically cured meat..

                      1. re: Clams047
                        tommy Feb 10, 2012 06:17 PM

                        "Makes one wonder, does McDonalds et al add all that salt to cater to an average Joe's palate or do they do that to minimize potential food poisoning? "

                        Probably not the latter.

                        1. re: tommy
                          i
                          ios94 Feb 14, 2012 09:54 AM

                          I'd be more concerned with the parts of the beef Mcds uses to make their burger as opposed to the salt content.

          2. josquared Oct 18, 2010 10:32 AM

            I've seen a similar report before some time back. While I think this is a bit of a stunt, it would make for a fascinating long-term science experiment.

            Does the fast-food place matter? For example, take similar products from other fast-food places and run them through the same test gamut.

            How about taking ingredients sourced out by several mom & pop type burger joints, parse it out in the same proportions as a typical McDonald's Happy Meal, and cook it with McD's methods. You could also have a set which are prepared the way those particular diners would do so to see if that makes a difference.

            This is but the tip of the iceberg methinks for some fun pop-culture research.

            2 Replies
            1. re: josquared
              John E. Oct 18, 2010 12:01 PM

              I don't think the particular hamburger and fries matters so much as the atmosphere in the room in which it is placed. In a dry environment, they will dry out. In a damp environment, they will rot.

              1. re: John E.
                josquared Oct 18, 2010 01:21 PM

                That's why I say have something that's more controlled than random examples from this lady and the Spurlock movie.

                I suspect you're right, but why not go all out and truly make it as "scientific" as possible. Heck, we can even take humidity as the variable and see what happens (put a happy meal in various levels of humidities and track the resultant effect). Could be a fun long-term project for something like a Mythbusters or similar type show

            2. monku Oct 14, 2010 12:40 PM

              The only amazing thing is someone would leave a burger and fries out on their table for over a day.

              If nothing happened to it after a few days, nothing is probably going to happen to it six more months from now...I'm sure we'll find out.

              Under similar conditions anyone can duplicate the feat, preservatives or not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: monku
                g
                GibsonGirl55 Oct 17, 2010 09:17 PM

                I beg to differ. In Supersize Me, the burger and fries from a regular diner deteriorated in a short time as opposed to the McDonald's products--especially the fries--which seemed immortal.

              2. r
                rockycat Oct 13, 2010 07:49 AM

                I neither like nor dislike McDonalds. They seem to be a very easy target, though, for anyone with an anti-meat, anti-processed food agenda. So what did this prove? That the artist was very adept at getting publicity for herself? Ooo, and I bet the food also contains ingredients with big, polysyallabic words unpronouncable by anyone without a 4th grade education. That must make it bad for you.

                I did like McDonalds' response, though. They managed to turn the "experiment" into a statement about the quality of their food handling - obviously no bacteria, micro-organisms, etc., present in their food.

                By the way, if you left an organically grown apple sitting out in the same conditions, what do you think would happen? Do you think it would just dehydrate (like the burger and fries) without rotting? Does that make it scary and bad for you, too?

                25 Replies
                1. re: rockycat
                  dmckean Oct 13, 2010 12:36 PM

                  Bread that doesn't mold kind of scares me but a lot of bread from the grocery store won't mold either. I really wouldn't expect anything else to rot, the meat and fries are cooked at such a high temp and have so much fat and salt how could they?

                  1. re: dmckean
                    John E. Oct 13, 2010 09:01 PM

                    The reason the bread didn't mold is because it is in a dry environment, a shelf. Mold doesn't grow in a dry environment. I would be more surprised if the bun had mold growth than if it did not have mold. If it had mold, that woman's apartment wouldn't be fit to live in because breathing in mold spores is very bad for your lungs.

                    1. re: John E.
                      i
                      ios94 Oct 14, 2010 05:50 AM

                      "McDonald's hamburger patties in the United States are made with 100% USDA-inspected ground beef," Riley wrote. "Our hamburgers are cooked and prepared with salt, pepper and nothing else -- no preservatives, no fillers.

                      Is this statement accurate? No preservatives, no fillers? Really?

                      There are preservatives in grocery store bread just like I'm sure there is in the Mcd's buns. When I buy grocery store bread it keeps for a long time, when I buy fresh bread from a good baker who doesn't use preservatives it starts getting mould after 4 or 5 days of sitting on the counter. Isn't it normal for the yeast to get moldy after a few days, (or maybe I just have a problem in my house).

                      I guess the ultimate test to compare apples to apples is that she should have cooked a homeade burger at home to see how that would react in the same conditions.

                      1. re: ios94
                        r
                        rockycat Oct 14, 2010 07:00 AM

                        I'm not sure where you're buying your bread but when I made homemade bread, which is often, and there's any left after a day or two, which is infrequent, the bread dries out. I have never had homemade bread go moldy and I certainly don't add preservatives at home.

                        1. re: ios94
                          f
                          ferret Oct 14, 2010 07:24 AM

                          "Is this statement accurate? No preservatives, no fillers? Really?"

                          There's no reason for McDonald's to put preservatives in their burgers or fries. They deal in massive volume and don't stockpile anything.

                          You leave bread out on the counter unwrapped for four or five days? I'd be surprised that it didn't dry out (my mom used to dry her bakery-bought bread all the time to make breadcrumbs and it would dry before it could get mold).

                          1. re: ferret
                            i
                            ios94 Oct 14, 2010 09:59 AM

                            Not unwrapped, in a plastic bag this happens with Campagne ("Country" style) French bread from local bakers who don't add any preservatives, when left in the bag mould will start after a few days if there's any left. More like 5 or 6 days so now I just put it in the fridge after a few days.

                            I still have a hard time believing there are no preservatives at McD's. Impossible.

                            1. re: ios94
                              f
                              ferret Oct 14, 2010 10:38 AM

                              "In a bag" = moisture.

                              "I still have a hard time believing there are no preservatives at McD's. Impossible."

                              Why is it impossible? Frozen meat doesn't typically have preservatives.

                              1. re: ios94
                                k
                                kmcarr Oct 14, 2010 12:13 PM

                                I still have a hard time believing there are no preservatives at McD's. Impossible.
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                The McDonalds' spokesperson was referring specifically to the beef patties. Here is the ingredient list for McDonalds regular hamburgers:

                                "100% pure USDA inspected beef; no fillers, no extenders. Prepared with grill seasoning (salt, black pepper)"

                                The buns do contain preservatives:

                                "Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin."

                                1. re: kmcarr
                                  i
                                  ios94 Oct 14, 2010 12:39 PM

                                  "100% pure USDA inspected beef; no fillers, no extenders. Prepared with grill seasoning (salt, black pepper)"

                                  You actually think that's the end all to a Mcd's pattie? lol

                                  She's not giving you the full story, I'm not saying she's lying she's just not telling the whole truth, she's only discussing what constitutes the beef in her statement and the composition of the pattie. Obviously she's not going to start talking about all the other things that go into the final product.

                                  You are completely naive if you don't think they use preservatives of course they do. You think just because they freeze the patties that they don't use preservatives? Cmon, that's making me laugh. Go look at the ingredients of a box of frozen beef patties at your grocery store and it's safe to say that the same things are used in a Mcd's pattie. Trust me, the ingredients will be slightly longer than; beef, salt and pepper.

                                  1. re: ios94
                                    d
                                    djohnson22 Oct 14, 2010 01:03 PM

                                    "...she's only discussing what constitutes the beef in her statement and the composition of the pattie. Obviously she's not going to start talking about all the other things that go into the final product"

                                    So, in your mind, they are pumping their beef patties full of preservatives sometime between the freezer and cooking?

                                    Ingredients of the McDonalds plain hamburger (from the nutritional information page on their website):

                                    Hamburger
                                    Serving Size: 3.5 oz (100 g)

                                    <snipped nutritional information>

                                    Ingredients (Allergen statement in ALL CAPS.)Back To Top

                                    100% Beef Patty
                                    100% pure USDA inspected beef; no fillers, no extenders. Prepared with grill seasoning (salt, black pepper).

                                    Regular Bun
                                    Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.

                                    CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY

                                    Ketchup
                                    Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, water, corn syrup, salt, natural flavors (vegetable source).

                                    Mustard
                                    Distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, spice extractive.

                                    Pickle Slices
                                    Cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, potassium sorbate (preservative), natural flavors (plant source), polysorbate 80, extractives of turmeric (color).

                                    Onions
                                    Chopped onions.

                                    Food ExchangesBack To Top
                                    2 carbohydrate, 1.5 medium fat meat


                                    Note: Nutrient contributions from individual components may not equal the total due to federal rounding regulations. Percent Daily Values (DV) and RDIs are based on unrounded values.

                                    ** Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

                                    To customize menu items that display components:

                                    * Remove components by unchecking the box next to the component. Then click the Recalculate button.
                                    * Add back components by checking the box next to the component. Then click the Recalculate button.

                                    The nutrition information on this website is derived from testing conducted in accredited laboratories, published resources, or from information provided from McDonald's suppliers. The nutrition information is based on standard product formulations and serving sizes. All nutrition information is based on average values for ingredients from McDonald's suppliers throughout the U.S. and is rounded to meet current U.S. FDA NLEA guidelines. Variation in serving sizes, preparation techniques, product testing and sources of supply, as well as regional and seasonal differences may affect the nutrition values for each product. In addition, product formulations change periodically. You should expect some variation in the nutrient content of the products purchased in our restaurants. None of our products is certified as vegetarian. This information is correct as of October 2010, unless stated otherwise.

                                    SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener is the registered trademark of McNeil Nutritionals, LLC
                                    EQUAL® 0 Calorie Sweetener is a registered trademark of Merisant Company

                                    1. re: djohnson22
                                      i
                                      ios94 Oct 14, 2010 01:36 PM

                                      Yah, I was just looking at their website before you posted this. I wonder how much of that "100% pure USDA inspected beef" is beef chuck, maybe they should mention that.

                                      I like how they need to mention "no fillers, no extenders" lol

                                      I'd love to see a breakdown of the composition of that pattie. That is not what a hamburger tastes like, feels like or looks like in my world. They mention the additives in other products, gotta love the anti-foaming agents used in mcnuggets. They have to be leaving something out, I gotta assume their "burger" is the equivalent of a hot dog.

                                      I haven't eaten there in over 12 years and didn't care much for it even when I was young. Preservatives and other God knows what chemicals are in a lot of our foods unfortunately and I have made a personal choose to limit any products that contain them. Heck are fruits get sprayed with a bunch of insecticides but I would love to know exactly what is in their patty.

                                      1. re: ios94
                                        d
                                        djohnson22 Oct 14, 2010 02:10 PM

                                        why would you assume that they would be leaving something out if they go to the trouble of listing additives in other items (i.e. the anti-foaming agents in the McNuggets)?
                                        I would venture to guess that the turnover rate on the beef patties is high enough that they do not need preservatives in the patties - unlike the supermarket frozen patties the you mentioned previously...
                                        I figure they likely added the "no fillers, no extenders" bit as a result of being accused/asked about it frequently - it is one of the questions on their Products FAQ...

                                        Really just playing devil's advocate here as I do not particularly like the taste of McDonalds hamburgers either... more particularly I don't like the after-taste. On the rare occasion that I stop at McDonalds it is in the morning, for a sausage McMuffin with egg - which is an even rarer occasion now as I have found a better egg and sausage sandwich if I need to grab something on the way to work in the morning

                                        1. re: djohnson22
                                          b
                                          beachmouse Oct 14, 2010 02:55 PM

                                          IIRC, they had some sort of filler/extender in the infamous McLean Deluxe, and the bad feedback and sales from the product led to another '100% American beef' ad campaign and elimination of the McLean shortly after the complaints hit full steam.

                                        2. re: ios94
                                          r
                                          rockycat Oct 14, 2010 04:59 PM

                                          So basically what you're saying is that you refuse to believe anything McD's says and you are sure that they are leaving themselves open to all kinds of lawsuits for fraud, intentional infliction of harm, etc., by deliberately lying to the FDA and the public. McD's has too much at stake financially and too professional a legal department to do anything as stupid as you are suggesting.

                                          Don't like it? Don't eat it. But the simple fact that you don't like their food doesn't mean that the company must be intentionally duplicitous.

                                          1. re: ios94
                                            tommy Nov 8, 2010 08:15 AM

                                            100% chuck makes some pretty lousy burgers.

                                        3. re: ios94
                                          m
                                          mpjmph Oct 14, 2010 03:05 PM

                                          I was just at the grocery store, and having also just read this thread I was curious. My grocer carries three brands of frozen hamburgers (Bubba's, a store brand, can't remember the 3rd...). All three have several varieties based on lean/fat ratio. I checked every variety of every brand (yeah, I'm a geek), and every single one had beef listed as the only ingredient. I'm cynical enough to believe that some food manufacturers/distributors will falsify the ingredient list of their packaging, but I have a hard time believing they all do.

                                          1. re: ios94
                                            k
                                            kmcarr Oct 14, 2010 05:13 PM

                                            You are completely naive if you don't think they use preservatives of course they do.
                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                            I'm not so naive to believe that McDonalds would violate food labeling laws and expose themselves to enormous fines. What is the benefit to them to counter balance this risk? Obviously other items on their menu have preservatives. Do you believe that if they used preservatives in their burgers and disclosed it suddenly people would stop eating there? Your position seems to be the naive one; you have a preformed conclusion that they are lying about their product and refuse to acknowledge any logic or evidence to the contrary.

                                            1. re: kmcarr
                                              i
                                              ios94 Oct 14, 2010 05:45 PM

                                              If you read between the lines of my previous post I give them the benefit of the doubt since they mention the full ingredients for other products. Now the question is what parts of the beef do they use? That's something I don't think we want to know or else trust me they would be marketing it as such to let us know. 100% pure beef is way too vague.

                                  2. re: John E.
                                    g
                                    GibsonGirl55 Oct 15, 2010 10:19 AM

                                    I have had bread--with no preservatives--mold on me. And it was not in the fridge either.

                                    1. re: GibsonGirl55
                                      John E. Oct 15, 2010 10:29 AM

                                      I would expect bread with no preservatives to mold on you. (Was it in a plastic bag?) I would not expect a McDonald's bun to get moldy in a dry environment, I would expect it to simply dry out as it did here. I would expect the same of a cooked beef patty. It woul dry out like jerky.

                                      1. re: John E.
                                        g
                                        GibsonGirl55 Oct 15, 2010 02:17 PM

                                        Then you would concede that McDonald's buns have preservatives, no?

                                        1. re: GibsonGirl55
                                          John E. Oct 15, 2010 02:51 PM

                                          I think that's already been established. I don't think the burger and fries didn't spoil because there are preservatives, I think they didn't spoil because they were sitting in a dry environment not hospitable to bacteria or mold.

                                          1. re: John E.
                                            dmckean Oct 15, 2010 05:09 PM

                                            Not only that, they were cooked to a ridculously high temp and covered in salt. What's going to grow in that environment?

                                            1. re: dmckean
                                              f
                                              ferret Oct 15, 2010 11:18 PM

                                              That makes no sense whatsoever. "Ridiculously high temperature"? A burger is cooked on a griddle and fries are immersed in hot oil. These are cooked at the same temperatures as any french fries or burgers anywhere.

                                2. re: rockycat
                                  g
                                  GibsonGirl55 Oct 15, 2010 10:17 AM

                                  You must not have seen the movie, Supersize Me. Morgan Spurlock conducted a similar experient in his documentary. He placed in covered jars McDonald's burgers and fries as well as a burger and fries from a diner.

                                  The burgers and fries were nearly immortal; the burger and fries from a traditional diner spoiled within a day or so. The McDonald's fare held up for weeks and the fries were in the same condition as they were the day they were purchased. Reminds me of the occasion or two when I ran across a stray fry when I cleaned my car. Hadn't been in McDonald's for some time and the morsel was in mint condition.

                                3. f
                                  ferret Oct 12, 2010 12:31 PM

                                  Of all the evils you can accuse McDonald's of, stockpiling food is not one of them. They burn through raw product like the proverbial sailor on shore leave. So they don't load anything up with preservatives. Their burgers are 100% beef, their fries are frozen potatoes and their produce is produce. It may not be the ideal source for a meal but it's not some preservative-laden science project. As John has already pointed out, this is a stunt, not science.

                                  1. John E. Oct 12, 2010 11:48 AM

                                    She left the hamburger and fries on a shelf for 6 months. Of course the bun didn't mold and the burger and fries just dried up. The air is dry and there are not any mold spores in the air of her apartment. She apparently doesn't have any flies in there either. If she would have put the plate with the food on it in the refrigerator, it would have been a spoiled mess in just over a week.

                                    It's obvious this woman is an artist and not a biologist.

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