An employee of McDonald’s did an “IAmA” session on Reddit, where users can ask anything to a person who sets up a Q-and-A. As a result, another Reddit user posed the question to all fast-food employees on the site, “Fast food workers of Reddit, what is the one menu option at your employment that you would recommend people never eat? (Because of cooking safety, cleanliness, unhealthy, etc).” The answers, while they won’t necessarily surprise you, will definitely turn your stomach and deter you even further from going through the drive-through at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Arby’s and other fast-food joints.
FitPerez parsed out some of the gory details:
Chicken Nuggets - “When I worked at McDonald’s, I accidentally left a whole bag of about 100 chicken nuggets out on a counter for way too long. They melted. Into a pool of liquid. I never understood why. But they were completely indiscernible as being the nuggets i once knew.”
Wendy’s Chili - “The meat comes from hamburger patties that sat on the grill too long to serve to customers. They take them and put them in a bin and then throw them in the fridge. When the chili is made they take it out, boil it, chop it up and dump them in the chili.”
Vegetarian Items - “I used to work at a restaurant where we deep-fried the Gardenburger patties in the same oil we deep-fried the bacon.”
Grilled Chicken - “At the beginning of the day we are told to get them out of the freezer and put them into hot water where they remain ALL DAY. then at the end of the day you have to take them out and SQUEEZE the gross ass chicken water out of them which by now has made the meat soggy. Then we put them in a plastic container where they await the same treatment the next day.”
Ewwwwww. I’m so grossed out, especially by the grilled chicken anecdote. That’s probably what I would order if I had to eat at a McDonald’s or similar restaurant. Now I’m going to stick with bread or some other non-meat product, I guess! As the Reddit user HagityPaktig said, “You can’t eat healthy at a fast food joint. Even if you order grilled chicken.”
The backlash against fast food has been going on for years now, beginning (in my mind) with Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Super Size Me. More and more information continues to reveal how unhealthy, shoddy and just plain gross the burgers and other food served at fast-food chains are. Have you seen what 2 year old fast food looks like, for example? But this Reddit thread is fascinating if only because it’s “behind the scenes:” information about fast food that’s coming from employees themselves rather than media or researchers. It’s so interesting to read the tales of working in food service—and it’s not just burger joints, either. Employees from Subway, Chipotle, Starbucks and other places thought of as “fresh” or “healthy” are chiming in, as well. (And lots of their stories are pretty gross, too!)
It seems like the experiences of fast-food employees are really varied; some people are touting the cleanliness of their restaurant, the conscientiousness of their coworkers, and their overall appreciation for the company. Lots of fast-food workers take incredible pride in their job, which may come as a surprise to a culture that thinks “flippin’ burgers” is basically minimum-wage hell. So that’s a good thing, I think. The takeaway here, though? Sure, every restaurant may be different (in terms of management, etc), but the food served is the same standardized, processed food that is served nationwide. No matter how clean the McDonald’s you’re eating those chicken nuggets in might be, you’re still eating mechanically-separated chicken with artificial flavoring added. So if that sounds as gross to you as it does to me, stay away from fast food.