Guess What the McRib Has in Common With Your Shoes?

McDonalds McRibMcDonalds McRibNever once have I understood the appeal of the McRib, McDonald’s elusive and strangely popular BBQ-ish sandwich.

In essence, between two pieces of bread are some onions, a pickle, and drenched in BBQ sauce is a patty of rib meat reconstituted to look like ribs. The point is to give you the taste of some ribs without all of those pesky bones.

That’s what you can see in photos and in commercials, but when given the microscope treatment—or when you simply look at the ingredients on the company’s website—you’ll find ingredients you wouldn’t put in there if you were making your own sandwich.

The smart folks over at Time Magazine reported that within the 70 ingredients in a McRib, there are some interesting components that make a McRib sound more like a chemistry project than food. Some of them, according to Time, include: 

  • Polysorbate 80—a common food additive that makes ice cream smoother, and used in vaccines in Europe and Canada. (If you have Crohn’s disease, you don’t want this.)
  • Ammonium sulfate—a salt whose main purpose is typically for fertilizing dirt, but is also used as a flame retardant. It’s been banned in many countries because of certain militants’ affinity for using it to blow things up.
  • Azodicarbonamide—this flour-bleaching agent is mainly used in making foam plastics, like the insulation on your windows, the soles of your shoes, and your yoga mat.

Yeah, yoga is good for you, but eating your mat might not be the best way of reaching your chakras, or shorten your time on the toilet.

Then again, all of the ingredients in the McRib have been proven safe for human consumption by studies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Then again, azodicarbonamide has been banned in Europe and Australia, as Time reported, because it can contribute to the development of (or worsen) asthma if you’re exposed to it at work. But hey, that’s only two out of the seven continents, so it’s no big deal.


McDonalds MenuThen again, the fact that McDonald’s food isn’t the healthiest is no real surprise. They make mass-produced food that is manufactured for a long shelf life for the least amount of money. There are fillers, preservatives, and—as we’ve already illustrated—chemicals that are hard to produce.

Real food—the kind that grows on trees, in fields, and doesn’t have to be pressed into shapes that look like food—costs money and can spoil, so while it makes tons of nutritional sense, it makes for bad business, if your business is to feed millions globally from a Dollar Menu.

You can either eat healthy like seasonal produce, or you can eat seasonal fast food like the McRib, which happens to be seasoned with things that the FDA says is safe, but other continents do not.

The choice is yours.

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