McDonald’s *Updated*

Is this a joke? It “hints” that its food is not processed. How an egg turned into an Egg Mc*Muffin took probably more than 137 steps including boxing, trucking, warehousing, and freezing. (Updated: McDonald’s uses real eggs cracked into a form) I took this photo of a bus stop ad, which was right in front of a grocery store. Go in a buy a dozen eggs if you want wholesome food.

It’s not a problem if you want to take your kids to McDonald’s. If you want to eat McDonald’s all the time or just now and then, do what is right for your family. Bottom line: you will not see the Q family at a McDonald’s. We think the food is utter crap. Additionally, my husband worked at a McDonald’s in college and that experience turned him off.


Readers have told me that McDonald’s sells their food inside of some schools’ cafeterias. I am truly blown away by that. I want more information. Have you ever heard of McDonald’s food inside of schools? I can’t find a darn thing about it online! Keep fast food corporations out of our schools.


Updated: I closed comments. The last one is my follow-up to this post.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

41 thoughts on “McDonald’s *Updated*

  1. I was outraged visiting my old school in England, they'd uprated the canteen and privided some tables and umberellas for eating outside – all branded Coca~Cola. What kind of message does that send? I know schools need money but that's dirty money.

  2. My kids, at 2 and 4, have so far never set foot in McDonald's, and we're going to keep it that way for as long as we possibly can (Grandma is forbidden to take them).

  3. who do you think gives money to the district to put mcdonald's in the cafeteria or coke machines in the hallway? those companies have so much money, districts have a hard time turning them down. it's all so twisted. our priorities are so out of wack.

  4. Hey!

    I have to say that I really like their bacon egg and cheese biscuit. The big mac and the fish are nice as well.

    It's a shame they don't use lard to deep fry the fries anymore. They tasted so good.:)

  5. It is entirely possible to make an "Egg McMuffin" at home which not only tastes better, but is also much better for you because you know what's in it. And it takes less time than it does to wait in line at the drive-thru. I used to make them for my BF for his drive into work so he wouldn't be tempted to stop by a fast food joint. It blows my mind that so many people eat at these places.

  6. I know the university I attended many years ago has now outsourced its food services. It took out its cafeteria and grill and put in a food court with fast food stores.

  7. I think it's interesting that you interpreted this as hinting that it's not processed. Perhaps confirmation basis is playing a role? I don't see that at all. I see it as a play on words — the egg is literally out of its shell and its figuratively out of its shell because it's become more bold as part of the sandwich. The egg for the McMuffin is cooked on a griddle in a metal mold to keep it that perfect circle shape, not in the microwave.

    As for whether I've seen fast food in school: My little brother's elementary school has Domino's pizza days once a month in the cafeteria, and my high school sold Subway, Chick Fil-A, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell at lunch. Never seen McDonald's though…

  8. In the high school I attended (almost ten years ago now) they had Dominos, Taco Bell, and Subway on a rotating basis throughout the week. Coca Cola was advertising EVERYWHERE and there were coke machines all over. Incidentally I basically lived off of the salad bar eating, that or rice every day in high school because nothing else sounded appealing and my family didn't have any healthy food at home either.

  9. At my kids' school, they don't sell McDonalds but they make no bones about the fact that they try to replicate McDonalds (burgers, cheeseburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, pepsi, gatorade) in the cafeteria so the high school kids don't leave the school to go to the actual McDonalds down the street. Depressing but only a handful of parents seem to care. I gave my kids Omnivore's Dilemna and Fast Food Nation to read and they have no interest in going to McDonalds or eating the faux McDonalds food at school.

  10. I used to work at McDonalds:
    Round eggs (as in McMuffins) are cracked open into a round thingy and shaped like that, cooked on a grill. -real eggs
    The folded eggs, as the ones that go on a biscuit come from a carton. I don't know if they're real or not, I never read it.
    Eggs for burritos come frozen and are microwaved when ordered.
    Eggs for salads are boiled and frozen.

  11. While my district doesn't have McDonald's, they do serve Papa John's Pizza as an option everyday. I've haven't looked into the nutritional content, but at least it's a lot less greasy than the typical cafeteria pizza fare (think of the rectangle shaped pizza). If I ever had to eat that, I used to put it on a napkin first to soak up some of the excessive grease. Ick.

  12. When I worked at McDonalds (7 or 8 years ago) all the eggs were cooked fresh on the grill, even the round ones. Everything else in the sandwich is probably full of processed junk, but the egg is just straight up egg.

  13. Mrs. Q, as much as I enjoy your blog, this post highlights something about it that I find most unhelpful: the viewpoint that certain foods are "bad" – or even downright morally corrupt.

    I don't think this is a healthy attitude to inculcate in children OR adults. This "all or nothing" outlook – where fast food is deemed evil, and the people who eat it are smeared as ignorant and lazy – hurts your cause. It also reflects poorly on the blog overall, which I thought was supposed to be about how we're not teaching kids to eat well, including treats in moderation. Do you really believe McDonald's is inherently "bad"?

    I'm reminded of a quotation from Nigella Lawson, one of my favorite food writers (her book "How to Eat" has a great chapter on feeding babies and children):

    "With what piety and smugness do the dietetically pure wave away those wicked, fat-clogged foods and show us, sinners all, the way, the truth, and the Lite…

    I don’t disparage the shallow concerns of the ordinarily vain, which, after all, I share. What I hate is all this new-age voodoo about eating, the notion that foods are either harmful or healing, that a good diet makes a good person and that that person is necessarily lean, limber, toned and fit. Quite apart from anything else, I don’t see the muscular morality argument. Why should a concern for your physical health be seen as a sign of virtue? Such a view seems to me in danger of fusing Nazism (with its ideological cult of physical perfection) and Puritanism (with its horror of the flesh and belief in salvation through denial)."

    You're simply not going to get enough people on board with your cause if you persist with this attitude. It's counter-productive and, I hope you will forgive me, very misguided.

  14. The folks at McDonald's are marketing geniuses. They know that non processed foods are important to many adults today and they know that they have a bad reputation. Those marketing exces know just what to say in a few visual words to get us to change our minds about them. I won't even let my kids watch regular TV because of the commercials(Nick Jr and PBS have no commercials)
    Perhaps they did not mention the hormones in the eggs, the antibiotics, or the conditions at the CAFOs where the chickens are raised. And if anyone out there doesn't know what that stands for, it is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Think about it, it is a commonplace enough term to warrant an acronym.

  15. My kids' school district (Bloomfield Hills in Michigan) has McDonald's lunches at school once a month per school. I HATE it.

    They also have Hungry Howie's pizza or Jet's Pizza every Monday.

    That may give you a starting point in your research.

    (I really enjoy your blog)

  16. I love Egg McMuffins. I am not ashamed of this. Egg McMuffins are delicious and no one should be ashamed of deliciousness. But that's basically the only thing at McDonald's that I think really tastes -good-, you know?

    We didn't have a specific fast-food branch in my high school, but I did know people in the closest actual city (we were a country school) who did have fast food places there, and I know my husband's school in South Carolina had some different fast food brands represented.

  17. I live in a very small town but we have a McDs. When I worked full time (I am now "just" a mom) I use to drive by our little McDs everyday and everyday it grossed me out to see how long the drive through line was. The idea of starting my day with that food, just the idea, turns my stomach. I haven't been in 4 years (I had insane cravings for their fries when I was pregnant with my son) and have no plans to ever go again.

    My mom took my son one day and came back with a happy meal to ask "Does he like McDs?" I stared back at her and told her "I don't know, he has never had it." She looked at me like I had 3 heads, why hadn't my 2 year old ever had McDs before?? He is 4 now and never had it since and my daughter is 2 and never eaten it at all.

    As far as in schools, so far as I know, our town does their own cooking with no McDs etc.

  18. Sadly, yes. My high school in southern California served fast food every day of the week–Arby's, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and even Sbarro's. Things might have changed since the early 90's, but we were often eating "out" for every meal, including sodas.

  19. It's all about money isn't it?
    In the grade school I've seen posters for reading and science that are sponsored by a fast food company. So it is advertising, subtle, but advertising.
    In the high school I've seen pizza sold on certain days from a national pizza chain.

    In the school my daughter is in now, public K-12, they sell pizza by the slice on Fridays After School as a fundraiser. There is also Pizza in the Lunchroom from Papa John's on Tuesdays.

  20. I also love sausage egg mcmuffins, and I know the eggs are cooked fresh. The eggs probably come from a factory farm. But, most eggs do.

    My favorite sausage is actually from Mcdonald's. It good stuff. I'm not saying it's good for you, but it is what it is. Sausage is certainly processed as is american cheese and the muffin. But, even if you made this at home, those things would be processed.

    So, yeah…I think you're reading too much into this ad.

  21. I took my kids on a daytrip to a children's museum yesterday. Among the displays – an exhibit about healthy foods.
    I was disappointed, but not completely surprised, to see that the museum allows no outside food. I was even more disappointed to learn about the options inside of the museum: snacks from the gift shop (which can only be consumed in the gift shop) and McDonalds fare, 'available' for a few hours each day. From the website, it did not appear that you could leave for lunch and come back (for our group, this was fine, as we did not stay that long). If you could leave and come back, there were plenty of other options – including a grocery store where you could get fresh foods and McDonalds, both 2-3 blocks away.

  22. I want to thank the commenter who worked at McD's. In all McD's flaws, it has always been my understanding that eggs are one of the few items on their menu cooked "fresh" and I'm glad to hear that's still the practice. Sounds like they are actually cracking eggs for the fried eggs and using frozen or liquid "carton" eggs for anything scrambled.

    Just because an egg comes in a milk carton doesn't necessarily mean it's "highly processed". It just means that the wholesaler did the cracking for them as a time-saver and probably added the seasoning. Ever buy "Egg Beaters?" Same stuff. If you visit any "breakfast joint," you'll find that they buy the same thing for scrambled eggs and omelets. If the cook (either at McD's or the breakfast joint) had to crack every egg, whisk it in a bowl, add seasoning and milk, and then cook it, you'd be waiting a long time for your food. Plus, that bowl would probably be reused for several hours of cooking and that's not very sanitary. I'll take the carton eggs over that, thanks. 🙂

    On the topic of brands in schools, I do think it's out of control but often (not always), it's a result of reduced funding for extra-curricular programs. I know my High School used to have soda machines to fund the Student Council, which in turn ran lots of programs for the entire student body. We'd never have had the money if we hadn't had Coke machines. Quite often, you'll find sports departments doing the same to maintain the school sports program.

    If you really want to keep soda and fast food out of schools, be an advocate for your school funding its extra-curricular activities. I know it's a hard battle, but in the end, you'll kill two birds with one stone.

  23. My school has McDonald. My sister's school has KFC and Subway. We're in college though. It's highly popular amongst the student population since it's way cheaper compared to the branches these fast food restaurants have outside of the school. Or maybe it's just the lunch crowd. 😛

  24. My family has called McDonald's "YuckDonald's" or "YackDonald's" since I was a baby. The smell of the place gets to me, I don't know what it is. The fries used to be really good, that was the only thing I could eat there without getting nauseous. When I was in HS in GA we did have a YackyD's kiosk…I had a hard time even going into the cafeteria to get my giant salad and baked potato.

  25. My high school served pizza everyday, but people only bought it on Tuesdays, when Papa John's was imported. They tended to get pre-made Jimmy Johns, Quiznos, Subway (it changed with whoever made a deal); however, they came pre-mustarded and mayonaised. I usually brought my lunch, unless in a hurry.

  26. They use real eggs, cooked fresh for Egg McMuffins. I actually really want a circle mold for home so I can make my own. We use muffin pans, but it's not the same.

    I do agree with Jacki a bit though, moderation and parental responsibility is the key. Do my kids eat at McDonald's? Occasionally, so do DH & I, especially when we are in a hurry. I'm also quite fond of the 89cent burrito at Taco Bell, so we get those on busy days sometimes too. They also know how to eat and choose real food and recognize that some food isn't good all the time. They pick fruits over anything else, we're growing a garden at home, and they cook with me. But I want them to understand moderation, rather than going off on their own and binging on questionable foods because they were always forbidden. It works better for us.

  27. I HATE that new campaign…saw that billboard on our way to baseball last night. I taught at a school a while back that served Chick Fil A, but no McDonald's. Still children drooled over chicken sandwiches AND pizza hut. Not the greatest choices, eh?!

  28. As a former McDonald's employee, I can tell you that, yes, those eggs are cracked and fried in metal rings on the grill.

    Now, I can't say they are free-range organic cage free, etc., but I'm certain they are the same eggs you can buy in the grocery store and fry on your own stove at home.

    Eggs that are folded (biscuit eggs) and scrambled (big breakfast, platters, etc.) are poured from a carton — think "Egg Beaters" at the grocery store.

    The English muffins come from the regional bread supplier, just like the rest of the buns, etc., and the ham and cheese are processed and shipped in.

    As McDonald's goes, the McMuffin is one of the healthier options — comparatively speaking, of course. It is definitely the best breakfast option, and it clocks in at 7 Weight Watcher points – less than some offerings at Starbucks.

    If you are in the "I eat McDonald's" camp and you are trying to make a decent choice, this is probably your best bet.

  29. Jackie Danicki, I couldn't really follow your post. Certain foods are, bottom line, bad for you. If you want to eat bad foods as treats or in moderation, there are way better ways to do it than at McDonald's. If you're in the mood for a cheeseburger, fix it on your grill at home. While it still isn't super healthy, it's a lot less bad than the fast food version, and it tastes a lot better too. I am, by no means, a super healthy eater, but I can still realize and admit when I'm eating foods that are bad for me.

  30. Before I had children, I used to think that anyone that took their children to McD's was just plain lazy and didn't care about their children's health. Now I have a slightly different viewpoint:

    I do allow my 2 and 3 year old to eat at McD's on occasion. Sometimes errands/life/traffic get in the way of getting home in time for a snack or sometimes I leave the snack I would pack sitting on our kitchen table. It is nice to have a place to stop and grab a bag of apples (my kids don't even know they come with dipping sauce) and a small milk while we are on the go. Occasionally we even get a small fry as a rare treat that is split between two boys. I don't feel guilty or terrible about offering my children these foods because given the choice most days they would pick a plate of carrots over fries. Children need to be taught how to find decent options and how to handle foods that should be a treat. By never allowing a child to eat a french fry you are making them an unknown and in my experience that just makes them desirable. By teaching my kids that a few fries is okay occasionally, I am hoping when they are presented with a ton of them they will stop at a reasonable amount.

    For anyone who says I am crazy, this theory has been tried and tested with chocolate chip cookies and much to my surprise, both boys only ate 1 and said no thank when more were offered. However my 3 year old did ask if there were any more tomatoes.

  31. I don't know about McD's, but I graduated HS in 1996. We had a Domino's Pizza cart and a Taco Bell kiosk, a regular lunch line, and a dedicated cheeseburger/fries line. Also, I managed the school store. We had signed an exclusive contract with Pepsi and sold Pepsi products, Snapple, and Aquafina as well as candy bars. We only carried a large selection of school supplies during the first quarter.

  32. When I was a single mom, I worked at McDonald's while going to school. I was given a free lunch for working there. Since money was VERY tight, I readily accepted this free lunch. I was there for less than a year (working 5 days a week) and ate mostly a hamburger kids meal w/ fries and diet coke and an apple pies. Sometimes I ate a little more of each of these foods, but it was primarily a kids meal. I gained a lot of weight during that time! If it was too much fat and calories for an adult, then it is definitely bad for children!

  33. In my high school we didn't have McDonald's but we did have a Pizza Hut option every day.

    My family tries to stay away from McDonald's as much as possible. Not only do we know that it is bad for us but we just feel horrible after we eat there (i.e. stomach cramps, diarrhea). Obviously, that isn't normal!

  34. like a previous commenter said, it's perfectly possible that they're actually using fresh eggs, which is slightly less misleading than you're making out.

    i worked at a competitor to mcdonalds when i was 18 (until, actually, i egged a customer's car …). we served a product that was essentially a mcmuffin, except it was served on a hamburger bun, not an english muffin.

    all you do to get the egg in that shape is drop the egg in onto a griddle inside a metal ring that is the diameter you want. using a fork, you also break the yolk so that the egg solidifies evenly and there's no pocket of uncooked yolk in the center. half way through the cooking, remove the ring and flip once. on a very hot grill it doesn't take long at all.

    it's also important to note, i think, that mcdonalds is certainly not the paragon of healthy eating, but they do offer alternatives (even if fewer in number than we might like) that are better than the usual burger and fries. they do offer salads and fruits, and while it's true that a lot of their products are fried, it's also true that they use vegetable oil, contrasted from the animal-based oil products of yore.

    i also have to say that i agree in some measure with jackie danicki. in large measure, educators impart information, so that students can make educated choices. the reason it's important to provide good, fresh food in a school cafeteria and offer good nutritional education is so that students can learn their options, see good choices being modeled, and then make these informed choices themselves. that they will sometimes make poor choices is part of … uh … growing up. i made my share, and i imagine you did too.

    i might suggest, actually, that you go into your local mcdonalds and order a salad, fruit, and some iced tea. sure, there's plenty there that should be eaten in moderation, but with apologies to julia child, everything should be taken in moderation … including moderation.

  35. FIrst, if your husband worked at McDonalds, wouldn't he know how the eggs were cooked in an egg McMuffin? They've been around a LONG time.

    Secondly, I find it hysterical that you think your kids won't ever eat at McDonalds! Do you seriously think they will be in your control forever?

    My father in law made sugar taboo for my husband. He was never allowed to drink soda or have sugared cereals. He went in the military at 20. When I met him, he was 24 and had a 4 soda a day habit. I was allowed to drink it pretty much whenever I wanted and don't drink it at all now. We went to Mc Donalds quite a bit when my kids were little, but now (other than the fries) they don't really care for it. They came to that conclusion on their own (they are 13 &15). Their favorite fast food restaurant? Subway.

    If you ever plan to travel in a car for any extended period of time, fast food will probably become a part of your trip. As much as I would have loved taking healthy food with us to Florida or buying it while we were there, the reality was, I had 4 days to see DisneyWorld and didn't have time to worry about every single thing they put in their mouths. We were too busy having fun.

    All of that to say…while I enjoy reading your blog, and think what you are doing (with the school lunches) is informative, you are starting to irritate me with your attitude. You need to RELAX about some of this stuff. Moderation is the key.


  36. I'm not seeing any hints about processing in the ad. I agree with the anonymous poster (on 7/14 @ 7:47 a.m.) that saw the ad as just saying that the sandwich is more bold or more interesting than the egg alone.

    Regarding McDonalds in schools– in my elementary school in the 90s, we had Pizza Hut day and Taco Bell day about once a month each. In my high school there was fast food brought in a couple times a week– Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway. I don't remember any McDonalds, though.


  37. ah yes! I have seen that ad in a giant freeway billboard form too. it distrubed me the very first time i looked at it, grossed me out and, as my daughter likes to say, i was outraged! i never visit any of the fast food establishments, the smell itself makes me dizzy and not in a good way. where i do go is the farmers market and my favorite local produce store 🙂

  38. The egg is the least processed part of that sandwich. I would be much more concerned about the sausage!
    We make egg and cheese sandwiches on bagels or English muffins at home sometimes, and I have no problem giving some to my little one.
    If you don't want to use a mold for the griddle, you can scramble the eggs (throw in some pureed yellow squash if you like). But if you're using a bagel, you have to put the cheese on the bottom so the egg won't fall out.

  39. I'm going to close comments. In response to the commenter who questioned my husband's employment at McDonald's. He never wants to discuss the experience! It was so bad. He worked nights in an all-night McDonalds and it was horrible. Customers throwing food at him, people passing out, a cop stationed by the front door, etc. I don't bring it up to ask about what he remembers about ingredients!

    Maybe it is "strident" of me to discuss this but it is how I feel. I am offended by this ad campaign. The point is not that they use fresh eggs or egg substitute; the point is that the ad implies that there is one step from egg to sandwich and that there are only a few ingredients. This sandwich is not "simple" — it is made up of a ton of ingredients and fillers. The egg is the least processed item in the sandwich, but how many ingredients, processing, and road trips did the food make? The point of my criticism was to say THIS IS NOT FRESH FOOD.

    My kid recently ate home fries and enjoyed them. They were from a local, popular joint. That's the kind of stuff we choose over what you can get at McDonald's. You are welcome to do what is right for your family.

    Of course we can't avoid McDonald's forever! I can and will as the adult but of course my kid is going to go there at some point. I hope that my instruction in real food while he is young, will pay off in him making good choices when he independent of our family.

Comments are closed.