Every since the release of the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” we’ve all wondered what it is we’re ingesting when we eat McDonald’s.
A McDonald’s meal. (Finbarr O’Reilly – Reuters) The film follows the psychological and physical degeneration of a man who eats only McDonald’s for 30 days. Several years ago, it was revealed that many fast-food burgers contained “pink slime,” or discarded beef cuts treated with ammonium hydroxide. Since then, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and others have campaigned for fast-food chains to stop using the slime.
On Wednesday, McDonald’s announced the product was no longer used in their burgers, Time reports. “This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world,” Todd Bacon, senior director of quality systems for McDonald’s, said in a statement.
That’s all well and good, except that fast-food meals are still jam-packed with other strange-sounding food additives. The International Business Times has a short list, and it’s not very appetizing.
Below are five of the additives used, and where they are found on McDonald’s menu (though these can be found in fast food products in many other restaurants, too):
Propylene glycol: The International Business Times calls this additive the “less toxic” version of ethylene glycol, which is a dangerous anti-freeze.
Its food function: Prevent products from becoming too solid.
Found in: Sauces, glazes, bagels and hotcakes.
Ammonium sulfate: The chemical composition of this additive is akin to the wash for meat trimmings.
Its food function: Enhance dough, and encourage more consistent bread.
Found in: Hamburger buns.
Calcium silicate: The white powder is often used to prevent bricks, roof tiles and cement from caking.
Its food function: Anti-caking.
Found in: Angus beef patty and seasonings.
Azodicarbonamide: An odorless synthetic chemical mostly used in the production of foamed plastics.
Its food function: A flour bleaching agent.
Found in: Buns.
Sodium acid pyrophosphate:A buffering agent, used for both food and industrial purposes.
Its food function: Maintain color, improve water holding capacity, maintain stability during heating and other functions.
Found in: Chicken nuggets, chicken fillets, hash browns, griddle cakes and cookies.