McDonald’s is one of the largest fast-food companies in the world, which speaks volumes when you consider the number of fast-food chains that exist around the world. McDonald’s is very popular for many reasons: French fries are delicious, Big Macs are a staple food in fast-food restaurants and the whole brand is essentially an American classic. McDonald’s is a beloved institution, with tons of fans, and it will certainly not disappear any time soon. This does not mean that the whole company is perfect.
Like any other large company, McDonald’s has its share of dark secrets that it would probably prefer not to share with the rest of the world. Unfortunately for this great company, most of these secrets have been revealed in one way or another. There are confessions from employees on the Internet that may discourage you from ordering something from McDonald’s. Besides, the fast-food chain has tried to hide some lawsuits and some foods are not quite what you probably think they are. Take a look at some of McDonald’s greatest secrets.
1. Employees do not always wear gloves in the kitchen
Since some McDonald’s employees work with food and handle other things (such as cash register, money, and personal belongings), it is to be hoped that they will wear gloves when preparing your food. But a former employee said on Reddit that many employees did not “understand the theory of germs” and did not always wear gloves. The employee said that some people wore the same pair until they were told to change them.
2. The ice cream machine is rarely cleaned
If you’re thinking about ordering ice cream from McDonald’s, you may want to think twice. Many employees told Reddit that ice cream machines are rarely cleaned properly. One user, who claimed to be a former employee, explained on Reddit that the ice cream machine had to be “thoroughly cleaned, otherwise the bacteria will grow… quickly”. However, they said it was a “tedious” job in which most employees do not put any effort into it.
3. Food stays on the counter for a long time before being served
If you order food from McDonald’s, be aware that it may not be very fresh. On the Reddit threads, countless employees talked about how long McDonald’s food stays under the heat lamps before it is distributed to customers. A former employee explained that even if he was supposed to throw away “bad meat” if there were about 20 minutes left on the counter, he only had to reset it and leave it for another hour or two before throwing it away.
4. Some of their salads contain more calories than hamburgers on the menu
Are you trying to eat a little healthier? In that case, you probably won’t want to order McDonald’s salads, although that seems to be the most logical option. According to a CBC report in 2016, McDonald’s “Keep Calm, Caesar On” chicken salad (available in Canada) contained more calories, fat, and sodium than a Double Big Mac.
5. The McCafe machine is not properly cleaned
McDonald’s has become well known for its McCafe beverages, which include a trendy range of coffees and lattes. But unfortunately, it is another machine that may not be cleaned as often or as carefully as it should be. A McDonald’s employee told Reddit that McCafe machines are “regularly neglected in almost all McDonald’s”. He explained that staff and even management have also not received adequate training on how to clean this type of machine. He added, “A few times I put my hand in the machine to remove a fist full of black soot to show managers that it is not in good condition, and nothing came out of it.
6. Chicken McNuggets are a little disgusting
At one point, a picture of a pink mixture was circulated on the Internet. Many have claimed that this was the product from which McDonald’s McNuggets were made, but McDonald’s Canada created a video to stop this rumor. “We don’t know what it is or where it comes from, but it has nothing to do with our chicken McNuggets,” said Nicoletta Stefou, McDonald’s supply chain manager, about pink paste. To prove it, they showed exactly how McNuggets are made. The process is better than this pink thing, but it’s certainly not fantastic. In the video, you can see that the McNugget process starts with a real chicken carcass. From there, the breast meat is removed and crushed in a grinder to be mixed with the chicken skin and seasoning until it turns into a strange chicken putty. Once everything is mixed up, it’s transformed into McNuggets.
Business Insider also said that the frying oil they use contains a small amount of an additive called dimethylpolysiloxane, which prevents the oil from foaming and splashing everywhere. But it is also used in non-food products, such as putty. McDonald’s says that the ingredient is perfectly safe, however strange it may seem.
7. There are many more ingredients that should not be found in french fries
Ultimately, it may not be McNuggets that we have to worry about when it comes to ingredients. The Daily Meal says the famous fries have almost 20 ingredients, which certainly seems a lot for cut potatoes. Ingredients include potatoes, a variety of oils, salt, citric acid, natural beef flavor, wheat, and milk.
8. There is a lot of controversy over employee compensation
In 2013, McDonald’s caused an outcry when it created a budget model to help its employees get the most out of their pay. The budget did not include essential items such as childcare, groceries or even gas for someone’s car, and assumes that employees had two jobs. Also, this budget only provided $20 per month for medicare, which seems laughable to many. The budget did the opposite of what McDonald’s had planned and demonstrated how difficult it was to make a living from your salary.
In April 2015, McDonald’s announced its intention to increase the minimum wage for U.S. company-owned stores by at least $1 per hour over the local minimum wage. Three years later, in 2018, Fortune reported that some employees claimed that McDonald’s had not exactly responded to the announcement. Instead, it seems that it was only a one-time increase in that year’s salary. Recent pay stubs for McDonald’s employees in eight different cities have shown that they earn less than a dollar more than the current local minimum wage. This led The Fight For $15 (an effort by Service Employees International Union to obtain stricter wage laws for fast food workers) to say that the 2015 announcement was just a publicity stunt by McDonald’s.
9. They changed their apple pie, but not for the better!
In 2018, McDonald’s announced it would launch a new apple pie recipe, which caused a sensation. But FoodBeast quickly revealed that even though the company tried to make it look like the new apple pie recipe was much healthier than the old one, it wasn’t the case. Although the wording of the press release on the pies gave the impression that they had cut the sugar and created a better dessert option, a review of the nutrition labels on old and new apple pies shows that the differences are minimal – and may even be less healthy than the old version.
10. They have been accused of ignoring complaints of sexual harassment
The minimum wage issue is not the only legal issue that McDonald’s has addressed. In May 2018, Reuters reported that ten different women working at McDonald’s in several major U.S. cities had filed sexual harassment complaints against the company, claiming that they had been ignored or subjected to “reprisals”. Employees reported that colleagues and even supervisors harassed them by groping them, exposing themselves or making sexual advances to women. Employee Kimberley Lawson said, “I had no choice but to tolerate it.” Reuters also reported that similar sexual harassment charges against McDonald’s were filed with EEOC two years ago.
According to Forbes, several women admitted that they had received sexually inappropriate comments and that they had been groped, but their complaints about the situation were ignored. They were also told that they would “never go anywhere” with their accusations. The complaints led to a major problem in September 2018 when Forbes reported that McDonald’s employees would go on strike to stand up with the victims. From now on, this type of harassment would no longer be tolerated!
11. McRib has 70 different ingredients
McRib has been a McDonald’s classic for a very long time and has even been brought back to the menu after a long break. But apparently, this sandwich includes much more than ribs and bread – according to The Week, it contains about 70 ingredients, which is staggering and disgusting. The meat is made of “pork entrails and a lot of salt”. Time reported that the roll alone contains 34 ingredients, including a complete list of chemicals. According to Chicago Magazine, this includes all the different parts of the pork, including the guts, heart and scalded stomach. One thing that doesn’t exist is bones – which means it’s not even really a rib at all.
12. Some of their food never rots
You probably saw the proof of this one online. What is undeniably weird about McDonald’s food is that it never seems to rot. This does not mean that food does not deteriorate – it does – but in many experiments, it seems quite normal, even after years of inactivity. In 2008, the Best of Mother Earth blog shared photos of a hamburger she bought in 1996 and kept for over 10 years, which looked very fresh – and this is just one example of similar experiences.
Serious Eats looked at why food doesn’t seem to rot and came to this conclusion: “McDonald’s hamburgers don’t rot because they don’t dry out. There is so much salt in the food that it keeps it in an almost perfect state.