Fact: everyone at some point in their life has rolled into the drive-thru of a McDonald’s and ordered a burger (or McNuggets!). Seeing as over 1 billion customers have been served, Mickey D’s is a food source for folks all over the world. And while this is pretty impressive, it’s also brought the food chain their fair share of controversy.
From lawsuits to social media hoaxes, we’ve done some digging to bust (or confirm) 8 of the craziest myths about the fast food giant.
1. McDonald’s Burgers Contain Cow Eyeballs // FALSE
The rumor mill went into overdrive a few years ago when it was revealed that McDonald’s uses “100% beef” in their burgers. Many began to theorize that cow eyeballs, among other parts, were used as filler in the patties. As it turns out, the whole cow is not ground up to form the burgers; rather, the company uses meat from the shoulder, chuck, brisket, rib eye, loin and round.
2. McDonald’s Milkshakes Aren’t Made With Milk // TRUE
If you look at the primary ingredients that are used to create the shake, there is no milk. Instead, reduced fat ice cream is mixed with “shake syrup.” And what’s in this shake syrup? The vanilla shake syrup listed on the McDonald’s website consists of water, corn syrup, vanilla extract, caramel color, citric acid, pectin, potassium sorbate (a preservative), yellow 5 and yellow 6.
The ice cream does contain milk, as does the whipped cream used to top off the shake, but yeah, what you’re really drinking is a syrup shake. Hence why the product is probably no longer listed on the menu as a “milkshake.”
3. Chicken McNuggets Are Made From Pink Slime // FALSE
Those irresistibly crispy McNuggets have been made with white meat chicken since 2003.
That now-infamous photo of swirly pink slime is actually beef, not chicken. "Lean, Finely Textured Beef,” if you want to get specific. It is used as an additive to ground beef that leans it out, is legal for use in the U.S. (and safe), and generally does not comprise more than 25% of any final beef product.
4. McDonald’s Burgers Never Decay // FALSE
While certain conditions can certainly delay the decomposition process, McDonald’s burgers go bad just as quickly as any other ground beef patty. You see, a cooked hamburger doesn’t have a lot of moisture in it, so when it ages, it tends to just dry out.
However, if it’s in a moist place, it will most definitely rot.
5. Their Scrambled Eggs Come From a Pre-Made Liquid Mix // TRUE
Egg McMuffins are freshly made out of circular molds, but any scrambled dishes are in fact cooked from a pre-made liquid mix with added margarine. Bonus: they still do contain actual eggs.
6. They Put Worms in Their Burgers // FALSE
This rumor has been around for decades — that McDonald’s puts “worm filler” in the hamburgers as a way to save money. Back in the 1970s, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc silenced the skeptics and explained that a pound of worms cost more than twice as much as ground beef, thus making it a pretty illogical filler choice.
Some years later a photo emerged on DailyBuzzLive.com with some squiggly white things in the ground beef; it turns out that was merely frozen butter.
7. McDonald’s Was Sued for Making Their Coffee Too Hot // TRUE
Maybe you remember this, maybe you don’t, but in 1994, Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s after spilling hot coffee in her lap, leaving her with third-degree burns over her thighs and legs. Liebeck initially sued for $20,000 to cover her medical and living expenses, but the jury ultimately awarded her $160,000 plus an extra $480,000 for punitive damages.
Her lawyers argued that the 180°F coffee was “unreasonably dangerous” and "defectively manufactured.” However, at the time, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association said that the temperature of McDonald’s coffee conformed to industry standards. Today’s temperature standards actually start 10 degrees lower, at 170°F.
8. Robots Are Serving up Burgers at McDonald’s in Phoenix // FALSE
Some years back, someone took it upon themselves to Photoshop a robot into a picture of a McDonald’s drive-thru, claiming that a new location had opened up in Phoenix, Arizona, where all the servers were robots.
Maybe in a few hundred years…