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Encyclopedia > McDonald's urban legends

There are many urban legends about McDonald's, the global United States-based fast food chain. McDonald's has a very high profile in much of the world, and, especially within the anti-globalization movement, is sometimes held as a symbol of the negative impacts of globalization. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... An urban legend or urban myth is similar to a modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. ... McDonalds Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the worlds largest chain of fast-food restaurants, primarily selling hamburgers, chicken, french fries, milkshakes and soft drinks. ... Fast food is food prepared and served quickly at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost. ... Anti-WEF grafiti in Lausanne. ... A KFC franchise in Kuwait. ...


Unusual ingredients

Many large companies have been the subject of rumors that they substitute unusual or unethical substances in their products, usually to save a few cents per serving. McDonald's is not immune to such claims. The following is a list of the most popular rumors about their food products. Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ...

One common thread that ties many stories like these together, is the fact that they were not reported to the easily accessible mainstream media, police, medical services, or even government-run food or health inspection agencies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These agencies and services are legally obliged to act on such extreme cases. “FDA” redirects here. ...


Worm meat

Other variants have credited other investigative journalism shows for the "shocker". Some versions of the tale have it being revealed in a talk show chat with company CEOs, though it is unlikely that business people would even be interesting enough to be booked and appear on a talk show. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the job of having the ultimate executive responsibility or authority within an organization or corporation. ...

However, some posit that neither McDonald's nor any other restaurant would use worms, for the simple reason that worms cost more per unit of weight [1][2] . While worm meat is considered very nutritious [3] , and contains no gristle, to use worms as filler would seem to be more expensive than using actual beef. McDonald's has gigantic shipments of meat it regularly orders from cattle farmers. If one were to suppose that worm meat were used, one would have to justify the small proportion of the U.S. population involved in worm farming (though it can be argued that as a result of globalisation, it's not implausible to suggest that they might utilise international outsourcing to acquire the worm meat). At an Atlanta press conference, officials, backed by a regional officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, denounced the rumors as "completely unfounded and unsubstantiated", and swore that the company's hamburgers contain nothing but beef. From Newsweek, November 27, 1978. McDonald's released a letter from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in 1982, attesting to McDonald's burger's pure beef content. It was used as proof in a rebuttal press conference on October 1 of that year, against the rumor.[4] See cartilage, and think of the hard parts of meat that are difficult to chew or digest. ... For other uses, see Beef (disambiguation). ... For general information about the genus, including other species of cattle, see Bos. ... Globalization is a term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that are the result of dramatically increased trade and cultural exchange. ... Outsourcing became part of the business lexicon during the 1980s and refers to the delegation of non-core operations from internal production to an external entity specializing in the management of that operation. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ...

Kangaroo meat

There is another rumor that McDonald's hamburgers are made of kangaroo meat. Origins and details are similar to the above rumor about worm meat. This article is about the animal. ...

However, the cost of setting up a major operation to transport this meat thousands of miles from Australia would theoretically be astronomical[citation needed] and would be represented in the consumer's final price for purchasing a burger at a McDonald's restaurant. To set up a case against McDonald's on this, one would have to justify what McDonald's does with the gigantic shipments of meat it regularly orders from cattle farmers. If one was to suppose that kangaroo meat was used, one would have to question why there aren't obvious bulk quantities of kangaroo meat coming into the US from Australia. However, this explanation had yet to disprove more localized versions of the myth, such as that only McDonald's in Australia use kangaroo meat.

Kangaroo meat, properly processed, is more expensive than beef in Australia. Kangaroo meat is also healthier, containing less fat and more protein, and is on the menus of many upper-class restaurants in Australia and abroad.

This particular rumor began in 1972 when USDA inspectors found meat imported from Australia that was not permitted in the USA. The meat in question was at a Ralston Purina warehouse in Southern California. McDonald's was not involved, the fast food company was Jack in the Box, a subsidiary of Ralston Purina at the time. Company officials said the meat was shipped to them in error, and was destined for pet food, not Jack in the Box.[citation needed] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ralston Purina was a major American corporation best known for its production and marketing of animal feeds. ...

Cow eyeballs

Another popular rumour is that McDonald's widely uses cow eyeballs in its products, permitting it to brand them as "100% beef". However, the USDA mandates that all beef by-products, including cow eyeballs, be appropriately labelled. McDonald's, however, has asserted that its products contain "100% pure USDA inspected beef; no additives, no fillers, no extenders." In addition, cow eyeballs are actually more expensive than real beef, allegedly due to demand from scientific institutions for experiments.[5] Also, a cow eyeball weighs only about an ounce, so it would take too many eyeballs to make up one burger to be worthwhile, though they could still be used as filler. “USDA” redirects here. ...

Mutant laboratory meat

Around March, 2000, an Internet rumor spread via e-mail in Brazil revealed that McDonald's meat was actually made from a genetically modified thing maintained in laboratory. The e-mail stated that "the few who saw it assure it is a very unpleasant sight: they have no limbs or horns, no bones (undeveloped cartilage instead), no eyes, no tail and no fur; its head is about the size of a tennis ball; they are fed through tubes connected directly into their stomach".[6]

The e-mail carries on saying that "some irreversible health damage can be done by eating this meat, resulting in diseases who manifest themselves in a way similar to AIDS, and have symptoms related to Alzheimer's Disease" and ends encouraging the reader to boycott McDonald's until it sells actual beef. For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ...

The discovery was credited to researchers from the University of Michigan, although there are no official claims from anyone who actually works there. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U of M, UM or simply Michigan) is a coeducational public research university in the state of Michigan, and one of the foremost universities in the United States. ...

Some analyzers claim that the origins of this rumor are from Portugal, because of the use of the word SIDA instead of AIDS (in Brazilian Portuguese, AIDS is used instead of SIDA) and the word "facto" when in Brazil "fato" is used. Look up sida in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

This urban legend is supposedly a variation of the "Frankenchicken Legend". According to this rumor, the chicken sold by Kentucky Fried Chicken are things genetically modified which have no beak, legs or feathers. KFC (full name Kentucky Fried Chicken) is a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. ...

These rumors most likely stem from the meat industry's attempts to fatten up the animals by use of hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. Additionally, most large commercial chicken farms de-beak their chickens.

Beef tallow in french fries

Although McDonald's claimed it switched to vegetable oil in the United States in 1990, and would no longer use beef tallow to fry its french fries, it was rumored to the dismay of vegetarians and Hindus that the practice of using beef tallow to fry french fries remained. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with cooking oil. ... Tallow is rendered beef or mutton fat (suet). ... French fried potatoes, commonly known as French fries or fries (North America) or chips (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth) are pieces of potato that have been chopped into batons and deep fried. ... This article refers to human nutrition and diet, for plant based diets in the animal kingdom see herbivore A variety of vegetarian food ingredients Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes all animal flesh, including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, and slaughter by-products. ... This article discusses the adherents of Hinduism. ...

McDonald's switched to using vegetable oil instead in 1990, in an attempt to market its french fries as being more healthful than in the past by reducing the saturated fat content. However, the company retained beef extract as a flavoring ingredient, because customers preferred the flavor of beef tallow. Therefore, the french fries were not vegetarian; however, this was not publicized. Vegetarians, especially Hindus, were indeed disappointed as this information became known, as they felt the company had implied the fries were vegetarian, and the company was sued successfully in 2002. McDonald's issued an official apology and made a payment of US$12 million in damages, which was distributed between a number of Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, vegetarian and academic groups. Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. ... “USD” redirects here. ...

While most non-U.S. McDonald's do not use any beef extract,[7] the fries are not vegetarian.[8][9]

In May, 2007, McDonald's Canada began using vegetable oil for its fries in certain test markets to judge consumer reaction to taste. However, the majority of the market still uses an A/V (Animal/Vegetable) shortening [1] for deep frying french fries and hash browns. The oil is a mixture of beef fats and cottonseed oil. McDonald's Canada, however, uses vegetable oil for all chicken and fish products, and uses beef fat exclusively for fries and hashbrowns. McDonald's Canada makes this information readily available to everyone, and makes a point of notifying people who identify themselves as vegetarian.

McFlurry rumor

Another rumor circulating on the Internet claimed that a girl suffered a near death experience after eating a McFlurry. The rumor claimed that the girl was highly allergic to bird feathers. The family traced back the origins of all the food the girl had recently eaten. On phoning McDonald's head office, they were told what was in the dessert — feathers. However, this is an unsubstantiated urban legend; bird feathers are not a stated ingredient in its production.[10] McDonalds McFlurry A McFlurry is a brand of flavored ice cream distributed by McDonalds restaurants. ...

Pig fat

There has often been a rumor that McDonalds uses pig fat in their milkshakes or ice cream. McDonald's provides complete ingredient lists for all of its products on each of its regional websites: this includes unidentified fats within the ice cream used to make soft serve cones and sundaes.[11][12] McDonald's Australia, however, specifically mentions that "No idea how this one got started, there is definitely no lard and pig fat in the McDonald's Soft Serve."[13] This article is about the fat. ...

Choko pie

In Australia, a rumour has floated around for years that McDonalds Apple Pies were made of chokos and ostrich eggs, not apples.[2] This eventually led them to emphasise the fact that real Granny Smith apples are used in their pies. Chokos are more expensive than the apples supplied to McDonalds Australia. Binomial name (Jacq. ...

Armadillo meat

In the Midwestern United States, a rumour had floated around coinciding with the initial product testing of McRib sandwiches that they were made of armadillos, not pork. This was utterly unsubstantiated but managed to persist in rural areas well into the full product release. Armadillos are pests in some U.S. States (although not typically found in the areas where the rumours propagated), and of course would be much more expensive to process for food than actual pork. For other uses, see Armadillo (disambiguation). ...

See also

  • McLibel case - A case in which McDonald's fought the distribution of a pamphlet containing multiple rumors about the corporation; while some were proven false, others were proved to be true. This, and the negative publicity given to McDonald's methods of fighting the case, made it a Pyrrhic victory for them.

Helen Steel and David Morris, the defendants in the McLibel case, at the launch of McSpotlight. ... A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with devastating cost to the victor. ...


  1. ^ Worm Suppliers (14 Mar. 2007). Retrieved on 10 May 2007.
  2. ^ 2006 Wholesale Beef Prices Unpredictable (May/Jun. 2006). Retrieved on 10 May 2007.
  3. ^ Nancarrow, Loren; Janet Hogan Taylor (1998). The Worm Book: the Complete Guide to Worms in your Garden. Ten Speed Press, 152. 0898159946. 
  4. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (1999)."McSquirmies". Retrieved Jan. 16, 2006.
  5. ^ "McEyeballs". Retrieved Jan. 16, 2006.
  6. ^ "If you think you're eating something natural". Portuguese article, contains the original e-mail.
  7. ^ "McDonald's Settles Beef Over Fries". (June 5, 2002). Associated Press.
  8. ^ "McDonald's Supersizes Hindu Endowment". Retrieved Jan. 16, 2006.
  9. ^ "French Fry Fracas". (May 25, 2001). CBS News.
  10. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (2001). http://www.snopes.com/horrors/food/mcdshake.htm "A Fair Shake"]. Retrieved Jan. 16, 2006.
  11. ^ Williams, Ruth (Apr. 20, 2004)."McSalads bring back health". www.smh.com.au.
  12. ^ Sanghera, Sathnam (Dec. 16, 2005). "McDonald's bid to sugar its image will do it a fat lot of good". FirsTnews.
  13. ^ Top FAQs section of http://makeupyourownmind.com.au/. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2007.

CBS News logo, used from Sept. ...

External links

  • Make Up Your Own Mind, a site made by McDonald's Australia, dedicated to clarifying myths and urban legends.

  Results from FactBites:
Urban Legends -- McDonalds Coupon for Fat Customers (All Lies) (474 words)
A friend of mine was visiting McDonalds for lunch, and she was so offended by what happened to her that she wrote to the company.
However, McDonalds certainly is attempting to appeal to health-conscious consumers, and has introduced such products as the high-calorie salad and the not-necessarily-vegetarian veggie burger.
McDonalds employees have been instructed not to offer these coupons to customers no matter how they look, but whether this is in reaction to a specific incident or is because they are worried about offending (in a McDonald's publicist's words) "the tubby army" is unknown.
McDonald's urban legends - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1082 words)
McDonald's has a very high profile in much of the world, and, especially within the anti-globalization movement, is sometimes held as a symbol of the negative impacts of globalization.
Although McDonald's claimed it switched to vegetable oil in the United States in 1990, and would no longer use beef tallow to fry its french fries, it was rumored to the dismay of vegetarians and Hindus that the practice of using beef tallow to fry french fries remained.
McDonald's switched to using vegetable oil instead in 1990, in an attempt to market its french fries as being healthier than in the past by reducing the saturated fat content.
  More results at FactBites »



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