Top 10 Most Disgusting McDonald's Facts



Top 10 Most Disgusting McDonald's Facts

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
You'll never look at the Golden Arches the same way again. For this list, we'll be looking at less than savory alleged details about this fast food giant. Our countdown includes Record-Breaking Sodium Levels, McDonald's Salads Were Often Worse Than Burgers, Filthy Future Tech, and more!

Top 10 Disgusting Facts About McDonald’s

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Disgusting Facts About McDonald’s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at less than savory alleged details about this fast food giant.

Disturbing facts aside, what’s your favorite McDonald’s order? Or better yet, which nugget sauce do you get??? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Chicken Wings… or Heads?

We’ve all heard horror stories about people finding strange things in nuggets and burgers. As far as McDonald’s is concerned, most of these fall squarely in the category of urban legend or hoax. This, however, is one of the few verifiable exceptions. Back in November of 2000, a Virginia woman got more than she asked for at her local McDonald’s. As reported by ABC News and Fox, Katherine Ortega was plating up some wings for her kids when the shape of one caught her eye. The offending wing wasn’t a wing at all, but a battered and deep-fried chicken head, complete with a beak. McDonald’s was testing out wings in the state of Virginia at the time; unsurprisingly, they did NOT take off.

#9: Record-Breaking Sodium Levels

A chicken head is obvious, but salt tends to fly under the radar. And the amount of salt that makes it into the average McDonald’s menu item is astounding. If we were to pile it up in front of you in rock form, you’d gag. Now, as any chef will confirm, salt is essential to proper seasoning, but McDonald’s has been accused of overdoing it. Official American guidelines recommend an average of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. With a single meal at McDonald’s, you can easily eat up a sizable portion of your daily allowance. There’s 940 mg in a Big Mac. The Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McGriddles? They pack a whopping 1,290 mg. You’re gonna want to order a drink to wash that down.

#8: Ice Cream Machines from Hell

We’ve all made the mistake of forgetting about something in the back of the fridge. When you open up that Tupperware container, there’s a nightmarish little ecosystem waiting to greet its creator with a foul stench. Well, as much as McDonald’s might pride itself on its standards of cleanliness, there’s some equipment that falls through the cracks. The McCafé machines apparently take 30 to 45 minutes to clean thoroughly, so depending on the franchise, they have a tendency to get overlooked. That being said, nothing will make you reconsider your ordering habits quite like this inside look at the McDonald’s ice cream machine, as documented by an employee who was asked to clean it. This part of the machine doesn’t touch the food, but still.

#7: McDonald’s Salads Were Often Worse Than Burgers

You may not be aware, but McDonald’s has ditched their salads. They got the axe during Covid-19 to help streamline drive-thru ordering, but sources report there’s no plan to bring them back. Honestly? It’s no big loss. The franchise marketed their salads as a nutritious alternative for the health-conscious, but in some nightmarish twist of logic, they managed to make salads that were often less healthy than their hamburgers. Here’s just one example: the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” chicken salad was marketed in 2016 as super healthy due to its inclusion of kale, but the crispy chicken option had more calories, fat and salt than a DOUBLE Big Mac. What’s their secret? It’s all in the dressing.

#6: McDonald's Strawberry Shakes Contain Everything But Strawberries

Let’s first dispel a popular myth about the McDonald’s “Shake.” These milkshakes are listed simply as “Shakes” on most menus, resulting in internet conspiracy theorists taking this as proof that they don’t contain milk. Unlike traditional milkshakes, McDonald’s shakes do not contain ice cream, but the very first ingredient... is still milk. Beyond that, however, they're on shaky ground. In the case of the strawberry shakes, the ingredients list begins a dark descent into the chemical abyss of horror that is “food additives.” There are a staggering 59 ingredients in a McDonald’s Strawberry Shake, most of which are lumped together under the umbrella ingredient “artificial strawberry flavoring,” like methyl benzoate, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), and... solvent. Just like mom used to make!

#5: Fries with a Side of False Advertising

You’d think that the list of ingredients for french fries would be simple. Potatoes, oil and salt — that should be it! But you’d be wrong. And no, McDonald’s is not using a bit of vinegar in their parboil like you might do at home. The McDonald’s fries are made using well over a dozen ingredients, including mouthfuls like Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate and dimethylpolysiloxane - though not in all markets. But wait, the fries have offended in other ways too! For years, McDonald’s fries were thought of as a vegetarian option. In reality however, the fries are seasoned with natural beef flavor. When the truth got out, McDonald’s was forced to publicly apologize, especially to their customers in India.

#4: McDonald’s Feeds 68 Million People a Day

Go ahead and do the math. If McDonald’s own estimate of “68 million customers per day” is accurate, that means nearly 1 in every hundred people on Earth every day. And considering the official position of any self-respecting medical professional regarding McDonald’s can be summed up as “DON'T EAT THAT,” (especially not every day) this figure paints a pretty bleak picture of our collective health and nutritional values. McDonald’s cultivates dedicated customers young, and keeps them coming back as they get older with an extensive menu of affordable fast food to cater to every choice or trend. As the McDonald’s training manual proudly states, they sell over 75 hamburgers every second. That’s a whole lot of fast food getting consumed.

#3: Its Marketing Strategies Have Been Called “Creepy & Predatory”

Debuting in 1979, McDonald’s Happy Meal is the must-have fast food kids meal. In fact, the Happy Meal has actually turned McDonald’s into THE largest toy distributor in the world, surpassing Mattel and Hasbro, with over 1.5 billion toys distributed. It might seem like a costly giveaway, but not when you consider that they aren’t just selling a Happy Meal, they’re making lifelong customers out of children from the youngest possible age. And it’s that brilliant marketing that drew the attention of nutrition watchdog group CSPI, who took McDonald’s to court over the way they use toys to lure children into their business, a marketing strategy they referred to as “creepy and predatory.” McDonald’s has historically refuted the accusation.

#2: Melting Nuggets

Have you ever seen that video of the racoon trying to douse his cotton candy? It’s adorable, sad, and oh so rewatchable. Well, it turns out that if you leave your nuggets too long, you could wind up just as disappointed and confused as that poor little rodent. Unlike the cotton candy, chicken nuggets won’t disappear entirely — just the meat will. According to an ex-McDonald’s employee and Redditor, he once left about 100 nuggets out in the heat. When he returned, he described the sight before him as “a pool of liquid.” Nugget meat can reportedly disappear in as little as two days at room temperature and ten days in the fridge. The lesson? Nuggets are weird and you should eat them fast.

#1: Filthy Future Tech

Now more than ever, people are taking heed of high-touch surfaces. It’s common knowledge that objects like handrails and money collect bacteria. Up until 2020, however, the futuristic appeal and convenience of touchscreens seemed to win out over our fears of germs. Not any more! In 2018, researchers at London Metropolitan University reportedly found fecal bacteria on all eight units - one even tested positive for staphylococcus, while two others had traces of listeria. McDonald’s is likely cleaning these screens more than ever, but simply by virtue of being touchscreen, they’re dirty by design. If you do have to use a public touch screen, be it at McDonald’s or anywhere else, don’t touch your face or eat until you’ve sanitized and/or washed your hands!