McDonald's Doesn't Use 'Pink Slime' In Australia

The news that McDonald's will be stopping the use of 'pink slime' — essentially random beef offcuts mixed with ammonium hydroxide — in its burgers has been the subject of fervent online coverage. But local Maccas fiends shouldn't panic: the additive isn't (and hasn't ever been) used in the Australian product.

Picture by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The burger chain's move away from using the substance in the US followed a TV campaign by Jamie Oliver. Other US fast-food chains, including Burger King and Taco Bell, have also stopped using ingredients which include the substance.

I've seen reports of this pop up in both my Facebook profile and Twitter feed, most of them passed on by Aussies. And in that context, it seems worth pointing out: McDonald's doesn't use ammonium hydroxide as an additive in foods in its burgers in Australia. Nor do any of its fast-food or supermarket rivals.

Why not? Because they can't. The additive is banned in Australia, and appears nowhere on the list of approved food additives for this country.

I double-checked with McDonald's Australia, and a spokesperson told me:

We've never had that in our patties.

Whatever issues you might have with burgers in Australia, 'pink slime' (in the sense currently being discussed all over the interwebz) is not going to be one of them.

As we've noted before when attempting to make our own Big Macs, the patties used by McDonald's in Australia contain beef and nothing else. It's often assumed that the burgers are loaded with additives (one Lifehacker commenter was convinced they had added MSG to the meat), but as the ingredients list on the Australian McDonald's site confirms, there's nothing else going on with the burger patties themselves. The same appears to be true in the UK; McDonald's might have a global menu, but it has to respect the food standards laws in each country (and also varying consumer expectations).

MORE:How To Make Your Own Big Mac At HomeCan You Make A Cheeseburger For $1?

One friend of mine commented when linking to the reports: "If they use this, they'll use anything." And if you're keen to avoid food additives, there are certainly other elements of the burgers and drinks that might give you pause — though again that would be true for virtually all fast food. I'm all for choosing your food carefully, but I'm also keen on getting the facts straight. Just because something is (or was) true in the US doesn't make it true everywhere.


Comments

    Damn.. makes me wanna go grab a double cheeseburger right now actually..

      Be careful about parking at McDonalds. I went to the McDonalds at North Ryde in Sydney this week to meet a friend and parked in their carpark that has been there for decades, and when I got home I found a yellow piece of paper under the passenger windscreen wiper. It was a fine from "Australian National Car Parks" at Annandale NSW for parking without "display valid ticket or pass" The fine was for $88 or for $66 "if paid before due date" A date 14 days hence was mentioned as the due date. On the back of the ticket it was called "liquidated damages" pursuant to the Contractual Terms and Conditions pf Parking" (whose terms??). Is this legal? You would think McDonalds would have enough sense not to lose customers like this!

        Common practice in UK for the last 10 years .. Only that the $66 you have would be in excess of $280 or 200 sterling)

        Its not legal, the only way they can pursure it is if you call them and give them your details ignore it until you hear from them again, I got one 3 years ago and they have not been able to prosecute me over it.

        Barb - story from 13 July 2013 about ANCP here:

        http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/car-park-operators-tactics-face-court-scrutiny-20130713-2pwta.html

      Haha, well, they still use the mechanically retrieved meat process?

    Good to hear! Australia's food standards seem to be pretty dang good, and so long as Maccas meets 'em I'm not too fussed exactly what part of the chicken makes its way into my nuggets. Mmmmm... nuggets. Without sauce, of course...

    Just 'cos it's not pimped out enough: sugar (specifically sucrose and fructose) is a bigger problem than you think. It is no exaggeration or hyperbole to say that its effects are not as acute but it is no less a toxin than alcohol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

      Eat Paleo. No problems then! Double cheese burger in Australia and just put the buns to the side.

      no its not legal or illegal... its an contractual offer which you do not have to except., its only a contract if you pay it... its a bluff to extort money...send it in with the words "no contract" written across it in black pen..do not send any money and ignore any further attempts... under common law, they have not got a legal leg to stand on...

    I hate snobs that write off fast food, saying "it's so disgusting it's unhealthy".

    Sorry but "unhealthy" has NOTHING to do with whether it tastes good or not. I don't care if it's made from a car tire, if it tastes good it tastes good. there is no relationship between the two.

    Anyway the fact that these burgers are made from pure beef just makes it even better. I love McDonalds!

      I disagree. Taste is as much mental as it is sensational. The recent Olive Toil posts by Serrels is evidence of that. Some people are mentally turned off by unhealthy food, so their oppinion that they personally find it disgusting is a valid one. Having said that, I think expressing that opinion to others who don't share their opinion is rude though.

        If "some people are mentally turned off by unhealthy food" then perhaps they should stop buying most foods that appear in supermarkets and go back to nature and "grow your own" ...BUT that would also include slaughtering your own animals and a hell of a lot more time and effort than I believe a majority of Australians are prepared to put in.

        But really, a lot of these additives or processes are put in place FOR OUR BENEFIT! They improve the taste, reduce the risk of food going bad and keep food fresh longer... Do you really think it would be in the best interest of food companies to kill off their customers or make them sick?

      I recently went to a McDonalds sober for the first time in about 6 years, and had one of their 'angus' burgers - it was far nicer than I expected. At that sort of price they're almost competing with 'fancy' burger places, so they upped their game.

      Unfortunately the same cant be said of their fries.

        That's gold.!!!!

      And that is the stupid sheeple mentality that has obesity and all its complications at an all time high. Enjoy your car tyres or whatever else fits in your gob that simply passes the test "it tastes good" to you. I'll continue to actually look at what is in the food I am eating and factor that in to whether I want to ingest it.

        As an ex-employee of the chain I can tell you of the problem with their fries. After the release of "Super Size Me" the Morgan Spurlock doco (~2004), McDonalds went on a health revival of their menu. One of the 'fattiest' items on their menu was their fries. In order to make them more healthy they changed their cooking oil from an animal fat product, to canola oil. This significantly reduced the saturated fat content of all their fried goods but also sacrificed the awesome tase from the animal fat. So if you want the same mcdonalds taste in your homemade fries, find some Animal shortening (Lard - pig, Suet - cow) and buy McCain Shoestring fries. Heat oil to 177 deg Celsius and deep-fry for 2minutes, 30 seconds. Make sure to shake the fries around the 1 minute mark. Also top with salt!

        Their fries are extremely different depending on when and where you get them from. I've had really fresh and crispy chips with the right amount of salt blending perfectly with the flavour of canola oil. Other times I get soggy, almost chewy under or over salted chips that I think the stray cat will enjoy more than me.

    We're talking about that mechanically separated meat (MSM) here right? Or is the ammonium hydroxide a different problem?

      Different problem, MSM/MRM is just a way of making the most out of the animal.
      It might look horrendous, but it's still pure animal product.
      The process involving ammonia was basically a more efficient way to do that, so that they could use the offcuts and mix them with the good.
      The problem was of course it left ammonia in the meat and they didn't have to mention it anywhere.

      We're allowed MRM stuff in Australia (like probably any hot dog ever), but not the stuff created with ammonia.

    Mmm.. just had a Mighty Angus burger :)

    A point I thought of while grabbing my burger was that even though they don't use it here.. it means that if they can use it, they will..

      You all do realize that there is nothing special about this Angus burger craze right? It's purely marketing hype to get people to spend more on a burger. Angus cows are the most common meat cow in the US. If they really wanted to impress they would offer meat patties selected from certain parts of the cow, rather than just its breed.

    They dont use it here in the burgers. Only in the Strawberry Shakes.

      Except no, because it's a banned substance for any food. Did you actually read the post?

      Paul: I think you've just created an 'Angry Angus'.

      Or maybe an Angus that recognises sarcasm, but had to make some kind o disclaimer to cover his ass...

    I seriously would not intentionally eat anything coming out from the US. With all their GMO crops, anti-foaming agent in mcnuggets, flame retardent in mountain dew... lucky we do not have those ingredients in our products here.... or do we? :S

      We probably do in most cases if you're eating popular food from the super market (ie Anything Mars[master foods, dog food, etc] Coca Cola, Nestle[A LOT], Kraft, all of these you find in McDonalds & other fast food chains).

      People should only ever restort to fast food in extreme circumstances. For me, once a month is the most I'll ever eat of it. Recently, I haven't eaten Maccas for over 12 months & I feel fucking fantastic; never been healthier!

      Please, if anyone cares about helping out with the obesity probably in America & around the world, start by setting an example for yourself and your children/friend/family/enemies/overlords.

      How much did they pay you Angus (ironic) Kidman?

        Not a cent; I read about the issue and decided to investigate if it applied in Australia. Turns out it doesn't. As the piece says, I was interested in the facts. Whether people eat fast food generally is a broader issue, but the argument "don't eat it because of the evil chemical" doesn't stand up to scrutiny in this case.

          That's good to hear. Whilst looking for this particular "evil chemical", you're ignoring those dozens of other harmful additives that are derived from petroleum & corn.

          It's not that I necessarily dislike McDonalds (suprising given my sentiment, I know). I do hate the companies it's associated with...

          It just makes my jaw drop that Coca Cola is still around, even after it's disastors like killing thousands in India because they didn't want to bring in more water, polluting the local soil & water source by distributing it's TOXIC WASTE as fertiliser among the local farmers! They also have repeatingly sold containmented soda with ridiculously high pesticides! You can't touch them either since they're fortified with lawyers.

          Also, I'm finding it unnerving that they're removing huge portions of the nutritional components to their food. In other words, it lasts for ages because even the bacteria/fungi have better things to do than eat McNuggets.

            Speak with your wallet, just dont try and spoil it for the rest of us who dont share your world view.

              You don't speak for 'the rest of us'... there are also those who would prefer to have all of the information (whether it is comfortable or not) and then make their decisions based on that.

    posting this sort of content is always going to stir the same debate, be better than that Angus. It feels like i've just read through a plethora of youtube comments.

    @damien There will always be people who hate Micky D, so long as they're a health hazard. It does feel very youtuby, though.

    I first found out about it in this video where Cleveland Clinic researchers dissect fast food burgers:
    http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/whats-in-a-burger/

    Nuthin beats a true Aussie Hamburger from the local fish & chip shop - plus you get proper salad too.

      I would trust McDonalds to be healthier than pretty much any local fish and chip shop.

      You could lubricate an engine with the amount of oil found in most fish shop burgers.

    maccas patties are 100% Australian beef but is every patty sold in Australia 100% Australian beef & are maccas patties made in Australia? I know FNQ & Darwin have at times used Japanese patties when transport has been limited by fires & floods from down south.

      If you go to woolies and check the ingredients list on the hamburger patties you may be surprised how difficult it is to find a patty that's 100% beef. The extra stuff is usually not obviously unhealthy (wheat flour, onion, various other things, most of which you could comfortably call actual food.)

      Occasionally they do sell one type of patty that is 100% beef, but they don't always seem to stock it.

      It's a bit of a problem because my older brother has coeliac disease (gluten intolerant, to parts in a million) and also can't eat a lot of other things, including onion and garlic. I suppose I could just buy mince meat and make the patties myself...

      Give them a break. Not saying they are some great corporation, but if there is a natural disaster, give them some slack. If they stayed closed due to no supply of patties someone would probably also complain that they are just trying to save cost or something..

    I eat McDonalds every now and then because its cheap, usually tastes alright and its local. Food snobs can take their 'I know better' attitude and shove it up their arse. Many of us dont have the time and money to eat the way they do.

    I was doing some research at the Australian Food Standards site and the link to the Processing Aids and accompanied amendments has always allowed Ammonium Hydroxide use during the processing stage, ie it's never actually been banned here, am I missing something?
    http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C00620

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