Tag Archives: McDonalds

The Snowpocalypse of 2016

One of the cons of the Snowpocalypse. Image from Shuttershock.
One of the cons of the Snowpocalypse. Image from Shuttershock.

This year, if you’re like me, you’ve been patiently waiting for snow, even if it was just a slight dusting. November went by, and then December, your dreams of snow slowly starting to become nothing but just that, a dream. I sat up late at night wishing upon that first star, praying for snow, asking the sweet heavens above for just a few snow flakes.

That’s when it happened. January came around, like it does every year, and gave us wishful snow lovers some hope. The days became colder, and my love for snow became stronger.

January 22, 2016 was the day that will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life.

The snowpocalypse was the most beautiful event I’ve ever witnessed. The snow began to fall in the early morning hours and didn’t cease until the following night. It created more than a foot of snow and made me happier than the day I graduated from high school.

The delicate precipitation covered the bare branches of the trees in my front lawn, making them whiter than the oscar nominees. The roads were covered in sleet and snow, making it impossible for me to make my daily McDonald’s run, but the breathtaking sight of the crisp, yet soft, snow was worth it. I imagined the snow singing, as it fell, “Baby, I’m worth it” and doing the naenae.

However, one of the best parts of the immense snowfall was the day school was cancelled. I remember the happiness that bubbled inside of me, releasing itself through my mouth in the form of exciting scream and chanting “It’s the best day ever!” and planning on sleeping in until at least noon. I stayed up almost all night watching murder documentaries and not feeling one ounce of guilt.

It was one of the most joyous, stunning, and life-changing experiences I’ve ever had, including the time same-sex marriage became legal. It wasn’t only beautiful to the eye but beautiful to the soul. I only hope that, one day, everyone can have the same deep emotional evolution on their soul that this Snowpocalypse had on me.

Our favorite banned foods

It’s a common stereotype around the world that US citizens are fat and unhealthy — and that has a lot to do with our diets. Many countries have banned some of our most popular foods, from certain ingredients in your McDonald’s hamburger to your Kraft Mac n’ Cheese.

Books like Mira Calton’s Rich Food, Poor Food and other sources have spread information on what foods have been deemed unsafe by foreign governments — and why. Recently, a list of some of the top 10 forbidden ingredients has been floating around the Internet.

Artificially colored food such as Yellow 5, Red 40 and six other dyes are known as the “rainbow of risk” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. These dyes, made from petroleum and coal tar, help enhance foods such as Fruit Loops and granola bars. They’re banned in Norway, Finland, France, Austria and the U.K.

Chicken with arsenic is banned in the European Union. Arsenic in used in chicken feed to reduce parasites, making chickens grow faster and giving their meat more color. Of course, it also gives the chicken we eat arsenic, which is known to cause lung, bladder and skin cancers.

fruit loops
“Books like Mira Calton’s Rich Food, Poor Food and other sources have spread information on what foods have been deemed unsafe by foreign governments — and why.”

 

Drinks with brominated vegetable oil (BVO) are banned in more than 100 countries. You can find bromine in PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew and carpets, where it is meant to be a flame retardent.

Breads with potassium bromateusebromated flour, which assists in breads’ rising efficiency, has been banned in Europe, Canada and China — even California declared it a carcinogen in 1991. Potassium bromate has been linked to thyroid and kidney cancers.

Frozen dinners with azodicarbonamide, a chemical that bleaches and stabilizes flour, is banned in Australia, the U.K. and most European countries. It’s found in frozen TV dinners, packaged baked goods and some breads, and in foamed items such as sneakers and yoga mats. It’s been associated with asthma.

Food preserved with BHA and BHT is banned in the U.K., Japan and many European countries, while the debate over their safety is ongoing in the US. These preservatives are added to cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat and dehydrated potatoes to keep them from turning rancid.

Milk with rBGH and rBST, also known as bovine growth hormones have been linked to cancer and infertility. They have therefore been banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the European Union. These synthetic hormones are given to cows and found in milk and other dairy products.

Finally, chips with Olestra or Olean, a fat substitute used in fat-free chips like Ruffles Wow, can produce cramps and leaky bowels. These ingredients are banned in the U.K. and Canada.

This list is certainly not all-inclusive and the consequences of what they may cause are overwhelming. While we rely heavily on the FDA to protect us from proven dangerous foods, we can’t forget to pay attention to the foods we eat and the ingredients they contain.

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.