Michael enjoys researching and writing about topics like health, nutrition, and business.
5 Disturbing Facts About McDonald's McRib Sandwich
The McDonald's McRib is back! These words are shouted out by fans of the sandwich every year when it makes its lauded and often controversial return to the McDonald's menu. Many people actively look forward to seeing the McRib return, but how much do they really know about their beloved fast-food sandwich?
The more you look into the story of what the sandwich is made of and what exactly goes into getting it to you, the less delicious it becomes. I hope I don't spoil your appetite—but if I do, please don't shoot the messenger.
1. McRib Nutrition Facts Make You Want a McSalad
The nutrition facts are downright frightening. According to McDonald's own website, not only does the sandwich contain a whopping 500 calories—meaning you are getting 1/4 of your daily calories in one sandwich if you're on a standard 2,000-calorie diet—it also has 240 calories from fat. Sure, you knew it wasn't good for you, but were you aware of just how bad for you it really is?
McRib Health Facts
26 grams (40% DV)
10 grams (roughly 50% DV)
70 mg (23% DV)
980 mg (41% DV)
2. McRib Meat Is Not What You Think
McDonald's admits that, in spite of its name, the sandwich is not made from rib meat. How this doesn't fall under false advertising and labeling I'm not sure, but somehow, they get away with it.
McDonald's claims that the sandwich is composed primarily of shoulder meat. As it turns out, the truth is much less appetizing. Chicago Magazine broke the story that the ingredients actually consist of restructured meat products like heart, tripe, and scalded stomach.
The McHeart, McTripe, and McScaldedStomach just don't have the same ring, do they? Unfortunately, all three of those names would be more accurate than "the McRib."
3. Weird McRib Ingredients Are Used in Yoga Mats and Shoes
If you thought tripe, scalded stomach, and heart sounded bad, wait until you hear about some of the other ingredients.
The sandwich contains around 70 different ingredients, including one that is particularly worrisome. That ingredient is a food additive called azodicarbonamide. This means that McAzodicarbonamide is also a more accurate name for the sandwich. Azodicarbonamide is a flour-bleaching agent that, when not used in McRib buns, inhabits gym mats, yoga mats, and the soles of shoes. Yum!
Azodicarbonamide is banned in Australia and Europe and is considered by England's Health and Safety Executive to be a respiratory sensitizer, possibly contributing to asthma through occupational exposure. The sandwich also contains ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80.
4. The McRib's Hidden Ingredient: Animal Cruelty
The tripe, stomach, and heart meat for the sandwich come from a supplier called Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods is the world's largest pork producer and processor. Unfortunately, they also have some more dubious credits to their name, including a horrible environmental and animal welfare track record.
In 2021, the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods over the treatment of their animals, asserting that they made false claims about their environmental and animal welfare initiatives.
The allegations include keeping breeding sows in gestation crates (which restricts movement for the animal's entire life), as well as subjecting animals to tooth extraction, castration, and tail-trimming without painkillers.
5. McRibs Are Available Year-Round in Germany
Finally, here's one for those of you who aren't put off by poor nutrition facts, gross ingredients, or the inhumane treatment of animals and still say, "Give me a McRib before they disappear from the McDonald's menu again!"
If you lived in Germany, you wouldn't have to worry about getting one before they are all gone. That's because in Germany, where the sandwich is even more popular than in the United States, they are served year-round.
Bonus: An Insider's Look
The photo above shows what the frozen McRibs looks like. This photo appears to have been taken and leaked by a McDonald's employee. Doesn't look too appetizing in its pre-cooked condition, does it?
So, is anyone still hungry, or have I killed your appetite? Do you now think the McRib is gross or did you always find it gross and not worth eating? Perhaps all the nutrition facts, animal cruelty descriptions, and weird ingredients didn't phase you. Let me know which type of person you are in the poll below, and feel free to sound off about the McRib facts detailed above in the comments section.
Make It at Home With Better Ingredients!
Read More About McRibs
- History of McDonald's McRib: Military Experiments, the Flintstones & More - Thrillist
The McDonald's McRib sandwich can trace its origins back to a military meat experiment, a classically trained European chef, and a chicken nugget shortage.
- McDonald's Announces McRib Return, Possible Discontinuation - Food & Wine
The fast food chain teased that this year could be the McRib's last time on the menu.
- The McRib ‘Farewell Tour’ is McDonald’s latest attempt to cash in on nostalgia - CNBC
The pork sandwich will return to McDonald's restaurants nationwide on Halloween.