Hamburger Chef Jamie Oliver Proves McDonald’s Burgers “Unfit for human consumption”.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with some missing information.
These messages spreading online suggest that Hamburger Chef Jamie Oliver has proved McDonald’s Burger's meat has Ammonium Hydroxide in it and are unfit for human consumption. Yes, it is a fact. The incident happened in past, and McDonald's reportedly addressed the concerns.
Ammonium Hydroxide is essentially ammonia dissolved in water. It is generally found in cleaning solutions, and in much higher concentrations, is also used to kill dangerous bacteria in food like Salmonella and E. coli. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified Ammonium Hydroxide as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) substance in 1974 - saying that the normal concentrations of ammonia and ammonium compounds present in food do not pose a health risk.
The FDA imposed limits that foods such as puddings, gelatins, cheeses, and baked goods may all be processed with ammonium hydroxide as long as the concentrations are within the limits of 0.6-0.8 percent. However, because ammonium hydroxide is considered part of the "component in a production procedure" by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumers may not know whether and how much chemical is in their food.
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Jamie Oliver is a British chef, restaurateur, media personality, and a food activist, who became popular with his TV series 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' premiered on ABC (American Broadcasting Company) in March 2010. Jamie brought attention to the food industry's gross production techniques, and how they affect children's health.
In his series, Jamie Oliver has called McDonald's food "unfit for consumption." He exposed the "pink-slime process," involving grinding all of the unwanted trimmings and fat from the beef, washing it in ammonium hydroxide — these parts of the meat apparently have the most bacteria — and then using it as hamburger filler, according to Documentary Lovers. Jamie also said that it is in at least 70 percent of such products. Microbiologist from US Department of Agriculture, Geral Zirnstein agreed with Jamie that ammonium hydroxide agent should be banned.
Pink slime is the common name for a controversial beef product, called in the meat industry as "lean finely textured beef (LFTB)," and "boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT)". It is a mixture of beef trimmings, cartilage, and connective tissue which are processed and used as beef filler.
The filler product pink slime made headlines when Jamie Oliver highlighted the use of ammonium hydroxide in most meat products like McDonald’s hamburgers. In his episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that aired on 12 April 2011, he stated, "Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs and after this process we can give it to humans”. The video shows Oliver describing the process with a demonstration, which is perhaps a bit exaggerated.
After the increased awareness of so-called “pink slime” over the years, in March 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated that it would give school districts the option of choosing between ground beef with or without the additive.
After months of campaigning on Jamie Oliver television show, in 2011, the fast food giant McDonald's stated that the company would discontinue using ammonium hydroxide in their hamburger recipe:
McDonald’s does not use lean beef trimmings treated with ammonia, what some individuals call “pink slime,” in our burgers, and hasn’t since 2011. Any recent reports that we do are false.
Burgers are at the heart of the Golden Arches, and the fact is, McDonald’s USA serves only 100% USDA-inspected beef- no preservatives, no fillers, no extenders- period.
Prior to 2011, to assist with supply, McDonald’s USA, like many other food retailers, used this safe product but it is no longer part of our supply.
However, food activists still say it is unclear if they are using the trimmings that turn into the so-called "pink slime," and that is also because ammonium hydroxide is still used throughout food production. Nonetheless, after these concerns were raised, two other chains Burger King and Taco Bell removed ammonium hydroxide processed ingredients from their products.
The issue of using Ammonium Hydroxide in food products like the McDonald's meat is a fact, which after Jamie Oliver highlighted, was reportedly removed. After the pink slime controversy peaked in 2012, use of meat treated with ammonium hydroxide has dropped significantly. However, the safety of pink slime is still debated and there are concerns that certain types of foods continue to be treated with ammonium hydroxide.