Tag Archives: happy meal

From our perspective: Happy meals aren’t always so happy

Like all fast food restaurants, McDonald’s promises quality food at an affordable price. Sometimes, however, I wonder if that reasonable price should come with a disclaimer. The quality and standards of the end product should never be compromised because a company is trying to reduce costs; a factor which is being compromised more frequently in the fast food industry.

Recently, McDonald’s made a press release stating that their burgers would no longer contain “pink slime.” Pink slime is comprised mostly of ammonia and meat trimmings, according toJulie Kennel, director of Human Nutrition at Ohio State University. Ammonia is a chemical, most commonly found in household cleaners such as Windex, Mr. Clean and Pledge. If inhaled or ingested, ammonia can have potentially serious health risks including fatigue, respiratory failure, burns or corrosive bodily damage.
Why would McDonald’s have had an ammonia-based meat product in their burgers in the first place? How do we, as consumers, know what else might be lurking inside one of these burgers? McDonald’s is supposed to be a place we all know and love. Its whimsical past, including Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Hamburglar and many others, bring back memories of colorful ball pits and happy meals. Most of us grew up loving McDonald’s and the entire “eating experience” that has been provided by the golden arches for years.
When you think of McDonald’s as a brand, you probably think of the long tradition of beloved food, iconic symbols and lovable mascots. Releasing such a bold statement, such as the removal of pink slime (seeing how most people had no idea that something so dreadful could be hiding inside of their burgers in the first place), could hurt their reputation as a hallmark company forever.
The American public should demand better quality food. In discussing what should be done to make sure no harmful chemicals or toxins are in our fast food products, I came to the conclusion that the FDA or another federally funded program should be more heavily involved in the regulation of fast food. After seeing the various articles on pink slime, would that actually entice you to go out of your way to eat at a fast food joint? McDonald’s will, and should, get heat from consumers for an extensive amount of time to come, so hopefully some good will come of this.
If the FDA mandates a higher standard for beef in fast food restaurants, then maybe we will decide that it’s safe to eat at our favorite childhood eatery again. High quality fast food matters to me. How about you?
Graphic by Ashley Kincaid.