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The 7 Worst Things About McDonald's

Forcing employees to work on Christmas without overtime pay is just the beginning.

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4. It has a salad with a higher calorie count than a burger and fries, and about the unhealthiest oatmeal on the planet.

McDonald’s once introduced a Caesar salad that was more fattening than a hamburger -- with fries. The Daily Mail reported that “with dressing and croutons [the salad] contains 425 calories and 21.4g of fat, compared with the 253 calories and 7.7g of fat in the standard burger.” What’s more, “Adding a portion of fries to your burger brings the calorie count to 459 -- still less fatty than the salad at 16.7g.” That is downright impressive.

More recently, McDonald’s oatmeal -- another purportedly “healthy” option on the Micky D menu -- has been criticized for being anything but good for you. Mark Bittman wrote in the Times that the company’s oatmeal is nothing but “expensive junk food” (you can make real, healthy oatmeal at home for very little money). He went on: “A more accurate description than ‘100 percent natural whole-grain oats,’ ‘plump raisins,’ ‘sweet cranberries’ and ‘crisp fresh apples’ would be ‘oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.’”

5. Its burgers won’t decompose.

Who can forget the time a woman let a McDonald’s burger and fries sit out for six months, only to find they wouldn’t decompose?

Here’s the meal on day one:


And here it is one day 94:


In case you think this is just a myth, a researcher found that McDonald’s burgers can rot under certain circumstances, but that in general they won’t decompose on their own. The researcher found it’s likely that “the burger doesn't rot because it's [sic] small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there's no mold or bacterial growth.”

Basically, the burger will turn into beef jerky before it can decompose. So it may not be a matter of nasty chemicals in the burger keeping it intact, but it’s still grody.

6. McDonald’s used “pink slime” for years.

By now we’ve all seen, and been horrified by this image:


That is so-called “pink slime,” a substance derived from mechanically separated chicken parts that for years was used to make McDonald’s chicken nuggets. At least, it was used in the U.S.; the substance has long been illegal for human consumption in the UK.

The good news is that, once this image started circulating, McDonald’s was forced to discontinue use of pink slime. (The company claims public outcry had nothing to do with its decision.)

7. McDonald’s is everywhere.

Try as you might, you can’t escape McDonald’s. In the continental U.S., the only place you can go to be more than 100 miles from a McDonald’s restaurant is a desert on the Oregon/Nevada border.


Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.
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