Cable and network airwaves are ablaze with McDonald’s McRib sandwich commercials. The McRib is supposedly making another brief comeback since its first introduction to the McDonald’s menu in 1981.
After slack sales the McRib was yanked off the menu in 1985. It was reintroduced in 1994, and then stayed on the menu until 2005. From 2006, it was made available for a short time each year.
Created by McDonald’s first executive chef, Rene Arend, the McRib sandwich consists of a pork patty, drenched in barbecue sauce, with onions, and pickles, served on a 5½ inch roll.
Arend molded the boneless McRib pseudo patty to resemble a miniature rack of ribs. The actual contents of the pork patty is enough to take your breath away.
According to an article in Chicago Magazine, the McRib patty is composed of restructured meat products such as tripe, heart, and stomach, then cooked and blended with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins, which act as a “glue” that helps bind the reshaped meat together.
There are roughly 70 ingredients in the McRib sandwich, 34 of which are in the roll alone, including chemicals like ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium peroxide, and calcium propionate.
Time’s Meredith Melnick claims 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 roll.
Melnick says 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.
If the McRib is so popular, why doesn’t McDonald’s sell it on a regular bases?
Tuttle claims the limited-time-only factor succeeds in creating a sharp, sudden rise in demand that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and adds retailers understand that the words “for a limited time only!” are known to make shoppers spend in irrational ways.
Besides the plethora of chemicals, the McRib has 500 calories with 980 mg of sodium, more than half the recommended daily intake, and 10 grams of saturated fat.
In 1979, McDonald’s chef Arend also dreamed up the popular chemically ladened Chicken McNuggets, which contains tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product, and dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent also used in Silly Putty.