Saturday, October 29, 2011

McDonald's McRib: Ingredients

McDonald's is reasserting its McRib sandwich for the Holidays. For a limited time. Just while the dregs of the pork industry are in good supply.

McDonald's USA Ingredients Listing for Popular Menu Items

McRib Bun:
Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup.
Contains 2% or less of the following: salt, corn meal, wheat gluten, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils, dextrose, sugar, malted barley flour, cultured wheat flour, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, soy flour, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate (preservative), soy lecithin.

McRib Pork Patty:
Pork, water, salt, dextrose, preservatives (citric acid, BHA, TBHQ).

McRib Sauce:
Water, high fructose corn syrup, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, molasses, natural smoke flavor (plant source), food starch-modified, salt, sugar, spices, soybean oil, xanthan gum, onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, sodium benzoate (preservative), caramel color, beet powder.

Nutrition Breakdown:
Calories: 500
   Calories from fat: 240 (almost half)
Protein: 22g
Fat: 26g
   Saturated Fat: 10g
   Cholesterol: 70g
Carbohydrates: 44g
Sodium: 980mg

A little more about the "McRib Pork Patty" from the Chicago Tribune:
"Restructured meat products are commonly manufactured by using lower-valued meat trimmings reduced in size by comminution (flaking, chunking, grinding, chopping or slicing). The comminuted meat mixture is mixed with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins. These extracted proteins are critical to produce a “glue” which binds muscle pieces together. These muscle pieces may then be reformed to produce a “meat log” of specific form or shape. The log is then cut into steaks or chops which, when cooked, are similar in appearance and texture to their intact muscle counterparts."
"Most people would be extremely unhappy if they were served heart or tongue on a plate," he observed. "But flaked into a restructured product it loses its identity. Such products as tripe, heart, and scalded stomachs are high in protein, completely edible, wholesome, and nutritious, and most are already used in sausage without objection." Pork patties could be shaped into any form and marketed in restaurants or for airlines, solving a secondary problem of irregular portion size of cuts such as pork chops."
"In 1981 McDonald's introduced a boneless pork sandwich of chunked and formed meat called the McRib, developed in part through check-off funds [micro-donations from pork producers] from the NPPC [National Pork Producers Council]. It was not as popular as the McNugget, introduced in 1983, would be, even though both products were composed of unmarketable parts of the animal (skin and dark meat in the McNugget). The McNugget, however, benefited from positive consumer associations with chicken, even though it had none of the "healthy" attributes people associated with poultry."
Not only does the McRib start with one of the most sorry animals, the factory-farmed pig, but it uses otherwise unmarketable parts from that animal. Likewise the McNugget, except with a chicken.


Anonymous said...

Great article! I don't eat at McDonald's--and never will again. However, in my younger (uneducated)days, I once had a McRib--but even then, I couldn't eat it. It tasted like rubber--and I bit on a bone and it hurt my tooth. Although I did still eat at McDonald's after that (I didn't know any better and was becoming a fast food slave--like many Americans), I never ate the McRib again.
People need to be aware of what is happening in the processed food industries, and how unhealthy those pseudofoods really are.
McDonald's uses pyschology when releasing the McRib seasonally. When I worked in rat research, the best way to train a rat was "random reward." The people who are addicted to McRibs are like those rats--but don't realize it.
Thanks again for the interesting article.

Bix said...

Random reward, that's interesting. Believable too.

There are sandwiches here in Philly called pulled-pork sandwiches. They're really popular, I don't know about the rest of the country. But these McRibs, made from tongue, heart, and intestines, just don't sound the same. I guess if you cover it with a familiar sauce you can get away with it. May as well be spam.

Sherri in GA said...

Not just any sauce! Make sure to put enough HFCS and preservatives to kill off any sense of the real taste of the "restructured meat product."

Nice post!

Angela and Melinda said...

Well, if you're going to eat an animal, you might as well eat every bit, as they do in China or Japan. But all that other chemical stuff--yech! And we wonder why our country is obese?

caulfieldkid said...

I'm with Dr. Mel when it comes to offal meats. If you're going to kill an animal for food, eat the whole thing. It's not the bits and parts that bother me about the sandwich.

Here are some more fun(?) facts about the infamous patty:

Pass the beans please.

Bix said...

Oh man, the ribs on the Flintmobile. Isn't that a trip down memory lane...

caulfieldkid said...

This was too interesting to not pass along:

BTW - Bix, if there is a better way to pass along links let me know. I notice that they never show up as a hyper link, but I'm not sure if it's something I'm not doing or if it's just a blogger/settings thing.


Bix said...

About it not showing up as a hyperlink...

It's nothing you're doing. And I wish it was something I could fix! When I comment with a URL, I have to go to the bother of adding the code myself, the < a href="URL" > URL < /a >

Bix said...

Re: A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage

So, I helped to market it by talking about it. Negative publicity is still publicity. I can't win.

Bix said...

Mr. Willy Staley is a good writer.

His point, that McDonald's "menu decisions quickly become global agricultural concerns,” has the kind of public-affects-private-affects-public ramifications that my brain gets tired trying to reconcile. So, like, farm bill subsidies affect pork prices which affect the appearance of the McRib on McDonald's menu which affects McDonald's profits which impacts the taxes they pay to government which ... now has money to subsidize grain ... and on.