10 SHOCKING Facts McDonald’s Doesn’t Want You To Know
In 2012, the fast food chain entered an “Age of Transparency.” No longer would it hide grotesque secrets about its food, forcing the chain to turn to healthier alternatives a fast food joint could be proud of. Despite their efforts, however, we’re still able to drudge up these ten facts that they probably don’t want you to know!
The “Healthier” Options
If you think you’ll be able to walk into a McDonald’s and actually get something healthy off of the menu, you may be sorely mistaken; that is unless you order sliced apples from the kid’s menu. The fact of the matter is the chain’s “healthier” options, like the oatmeal and salads, tend to be on par with, say, a simple burger. For instance, if you go for the southwest salad with grilled chicken, you’ll be eating just ten fewer calories and 4 grams less fat than if you just had a burger, and that’s not counting the dressing. The fruit and maple oatmeal without brown sugar, which disguises itself as a fairly healthy option, packs just 40 calories less than an Egg McMuffin.
The McDonald’s Addiction
Perform a Google search for “McDonald’s Addiction” and you’ll be met with multiple stories across many pages about an alleged addiction to McDonald’s food. It’s no secret that there are substances like dextrose in the food that plays to our dopamine receptors, which is how we get stories like that of Stacey Irvine. At the time of her tale in early 2016, Stacey was 17 years old and had been living on a diet of chicken nuggets and French fries since she was a toddler. She couldn’t get enough of the McDonald’s bite-sized treat and refused to break away from her habit despite multiple warnings. In February of 2016, Stacey collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where she was found to have anemia and breathing complications. The teen survived but is joined by many self-proclaimed “McDonald’s Addicts.”
Nothing should give you a warmer and fuzzier feeling about a product than when the 3rd party employee resource’s website warns employees not to indulge in the product they’re selling. Of course, the warning to employees, long-since removed, is just the HR department’s way of covering the company’s rear as the food is far too accessible to employees, but as a consumer, it’s still disheartening to see something like “eat at places that offer a variety of salads, soups, and vegetables to maintain your best health.” It’s all obvious information, but when you read it and then hear CEO Don Thompson defend McDonald’s by saying they “don’t sell junk food,” you have to wonder who is pulling your leg.
As if cramped quarters and higher mortality rates weren't bad enough, McDonald’s attempt at ridding the negative stigma of caged hens isn’t going in the direction it expected. In 2015, an undercover PETA investigator equipped with a hidden camera caught upsetting footage of the conditions at a Tyson Food farm used by McDonald’s for its chicken supply. In the video, birds were recorded being beaten and abused. Workers were seen stepping on their beaks and pulling on their bodies to break their neck. The nonchalant brutality of the workers and disregard for deplorable conditions may outweigh the cramped conditions of a caged environment.
With McDonald’s push for complete transparency, the company also made some changes to its food supply that seems more humane. Rather than get eggs from caged birds, McDonald’s made the switch to cage-free chickens, but while the phrase “cage-free” sounds like a step in the right direction, it may not be the change you expected. Cage-free hens may not live in cages, but they may be subject to extremely tight living spaces, reduced contact with sunlight, and a higher potential for exposure to diseases and injury. In fact, a five-year study into the living conditions of caged and cage-free chickens produced surprising results that showed a higher mortality rate in a cage-free system.
If the United States federal bailout of banks and McDonald’s alleged tax avoidance scheme infuriated you, you may want to take your blood pressure medicine right about meow (video editor: show a picture of a kitten). During the long string of federal bailouts that started around 2007, over $3 trillion was doled out to a long list of entities, and if you pay close attention to the drab list of unknown corporations that are apparently important, one very familiar one may stand out – McDonald’s. The burger conglomerate was on the receiving end of $203 million during the United States economic crisis. Despite receiving the federal money as if it was on a path to collapse, from 2007 to 2010, McDonald’s continued to show growth in comparable sales and earnings per share.
One way to really get the people to crowd around and support you is by being a multi-billion-dollar corporation that avoids paying taxes. Right? Between 2009 and 2013, the massive corporation was able to divert revenue in its European market, leading to an alleged tax avoidance of over $1.1 billion. Chump change! The avoidance strategy is said to include moving the European headquarters from the United Kingdom to Switzerland while also channeling royalty payments into a subsidiary in Luxembourg with a Swiss branch.
If you’re in need of a sugar fix but don’t really want sweets, McDonald’s can help! In 2016, the company announced plans to remove high-fructose corn syrup from its buns and replace it with pure sugar. Somebody not really paying attention will see the removal of corn syrup as a push in a healthier direction, but let us not forget the inclusion of sugar. While it’s not unheard of to use sugar in bread to speed up the rising process, McDonald’s numbers seem… a little high. For a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, you’ll be gobbling up 10 g of sugar or about 40% of your daily intake suggested by the World Health Organization. Somehow, that’s only 3 grams less than three of the restaurant’s hotcakes.
Some people like surprises. Others don’t. What both types of people have in common is that they don’t like surprises in their food. For instance, we can’t imagine anyone would appreciate finding a used bandage in their fries, as Lauren Coleman of Illinois did in 2005, or the dead rat that Todd Haley, former Dallas Cowboys assistant coach, found in a salad in 2006. Foreign objects in its food are apparently such an issue that the company has made public apologies for such things as a human tooth and a metal piece found in a pancake.
Not the Largest Fast Food Chain
For as long as many of us can probably remember, McDonald’s has been the largest “go-to” restaurant in the world, but it’s not a title it holds any longer. It may advertise itself as the largest hamburger fast food chain restaurant, but in 2010, Subway surpassed McDonald’s as the largest fast food chain with 33,749 locations, beating out McD’s by 1,012 stores. Currently, Subway holds strong with over 44,000 restaurants while McDonald’s has topped out at just over 36,000.