Bone appetite: the ingredients of the McRib sandwich

You never know what the Google newsfeed will drop in your lap. Today, it was the ingredients of the mysterious McRib sandwich at McDonald’s — which, it appears, is weirder than you may think, and not just because it has a noticeable lack of bone, thus making the whole “rib” thing somewhat dubious to begin with.

No, the fun begins with the bun itself, according to this writer at TIME magazine:

If you haven’t indulged in one yet, here’s what you’re missing: azodicarbonamide, ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80 — those are just three of the 70 ingredients (34 in the bun alone) that go into the BBQ pork sandwich, according to the restaurant’s website.

These components are in small enough quantities to be innocuous. But it’s still a little disconcerting to know that, for example, azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes, is found in the McRib bun. The compound is banned in Europe and Australia as a food additive. (England’s Health and Safety Executive classified it as a “respiratory sensitizer” that potentially contributes to asthma through occupational exposure.) The U.S. limits azodicarbonamide to 45 parts per million in commercial flour products, based on analysis of lab testing.

Would you like fries with that? Read more.


  1. David J. White says:

    I *love* the McRib. The best part is the way the meat (presumably pork scraps) is molded into a patty that sort of looks like a little rack of ribs. ;-)

    Who cares whether the McRib is healthy? Who goes to McDonald’s to eat healthy? I’m getting really sick of the self-appointed food Nazis. But then, I’m the type of person who goes out of my way to smoke a cigar on Great American Smokeout Day, just to annoy the anti-smoking nannies.

  2. naturgesetz says:

    I’ve been trying to post a comment but it hasn’t appeared, and now the stupid system is saying “Duplicate comment detected. …” Yes, I already said it, but the system hasn’t posted it. What’s going on here???!!!

  3. Deacon Walter Ayres says:

    While I am not a fan of “food Nazis,” I do believe it is important to know what is in the food we eat. After waiting long time for the McRib to come back, I will have to pass on it.

  4. naturgesetz says:

    It is highly probable that azodicarbonamide, is used to bleach flour used in other breadstuffs. So its presence in these buns, along with other ingredients, presumably at levels which our government deems safe, is no real cause for concern when we think clearly about this — unless we read all labels of every bread product we eat and eschew every one which contains azodicarbonamide.

  5. naturgesetz says:

    Thus the story amounts to a scare story based on quasi-scientific half-truths.

    I’m grateful to Deacon Greg for the reminder that time is running out for me to get a McRib.

  6. naturgesetz says:

    Beyond the inadequacy of the story itself, I also agree with David J. White’s attitude.

    (There— I’ve managed to post the substance of what the system failed to post last night.)

  7. I guess it does not matter that McDonald’s says it is a rib sandwich but in fact it has pig guts…..Not to mention all of the other GOOD stuff.

  8. naturgesetz says:

    I finally remembered to go to McDonald’s today for a couple of McRibs. They were quite delicious.

    BTW, I don’t mind pig guts. I like beef tripe, and I’m looking forward to having some haggis soon at a Scottish restaurant in Boston.

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