by Marion Nestle
Aug 3 2016

McDonald’s joins the food movement???

McDonald’s ran a full-page ad in yesterday’s New York Times:*

“At McDonald’s we’re on a journey: What’s important to you is important to us.”

The ad says McDonald’s is taking these actions [with my comments]:

  • Removed artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets and other items [Fine, but no big deal in my book.]
  • Removed high fructose corn syrup from hamburger buns [And replaced it with what?  Sugar?  This matters? I’m guessing the price of HFCS must be close enough to the price of sugar to make this possible.]**
  • Committed to only source chickens that have not been treated with antibiotics [OK.  Now we’re talking important.  For this alone,  McDonald’s deserves high praise.  My only question: by when?]*** 

The ad also summarizes the company’s additional actions, done and promised:

  • Burgers are 100% beef
  • Eggs are freshly cracked
  • Salads feature baby spinach, kale, Tuscan red leaf lettuce, and carrots
  • Buttermilk chicken uses real buttermilk
  • Milk is sourced from cows not treated with rbST
  • 2 billion sides of fruit were served (including 59 million clementines)
  • Espresso beans are Rainforest Alliance Certified
  • Eggs will be cage-free by 2025

Amazing, no?

It’s worth a field trip to see how all this works in practice.  I’m on it.

Additions, corrections, and updates

*Jill Cornish writes that the ad also appeared in the Washington Post.

**I get a Bingo for this one.  Martijn Katan writes: “The price of beet sugar fell below that of HCFS in April 2015. By June 2016, 1 lb of HFCS-55 cost $0.412 as opposed to $0.297 for beet sugar.”  He even sends a reference:

***Andy Smith points out that “In 2015, McDonald’s announced that it would stop buying chicken raised with non-therapeutic, medically-important antibiotics by 2017– but a few weeks ago announced that it had already done so.”  He too provides a reference: See QSR. “McDonald’s Eliminates Antibiotics From Its Chicken,” QSR Magazine, August 2, 2016. Retrieved at

Thank you readers!  Much appreciated.

  • Teresa

    Wow, cage free eggs…………….by 2025! I’m not impressed!

  • whatseatingu4dinner

    You are disregarding the toxic effects of high fructose corn syrup. A common, potentially fatal error for those that have not experienced first hand the effects of this disastrous substance. Research validates personal experience. This is a big step, especially considering the many ‘devoted’ McDonalds patrons.

  • Freshly cracked eggs does not automatically mean fresh eggs.

  • I started taking more notice of how animals are treated after watching this documentary: I think more people would make more ethical decisions if they were more informed.

  • Kurt Lass

    HFCS or sugar is added to buns primarily as a processing aid to enable the surface of the cut bun to caramelize rapidly when in contact with the flat plate toaster, thus “sealing” the surface against juices. This enables them to not need to butter the bun to achieve the same end.

  • Sammy Pepys

    There are more carbs in a McD Big Mac meal than any other nutrient. Consider McDonald’s bun ingredients:
    “Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Leavening (Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), May Contain One or More Dough Conditioners (Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono and Diglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Calcium Peroxide), Calcium Propionate (Preservative).”

  • StellaBarbone

    HFCS has been replaced by sugar in my favorite ice cream treat, a change proudly splashed across the box, but without the corn syrup to stabilize the texture, they have become gritty and icy.

    I’m now eating about 6 gm of fructose per bar. Whoopee. The old bar had 2.8 gm of fructose because it also used … Sucralose. I’m sure that I’m much healthier now….

  • sleepingbeauty2

    They carry no warning of the and I am allergic to Sucrolose. Upon eating a 1/4 lb Burger and Ice-cream my mouths swelled and short of breath. Bloody furious I am. No F’ing warning what so ever !!!!

  • malachite2

    If the beets are grown in the US, more likely then not, they’re GM beets.