What’s Really in That Fast Food Burger?

what's really in that fast food burger

It’s no wonder fast food is so popular. It’s cheap, convenient, tasty (well, some folks think so), and of course, fast. When most people purchase a burger at a fast-food joint, they assume they’re getting basically the same thing as they might eat if they cooked at home or if they ate at a nicer restaurant.

It might not come with complementary appetizers, or be brought out by white-shirted waitstaff, and the cuts of meat might not be as choice, but it’s basically the same product, right?

Well, not exactly. So, what’s really in a fast-food burger? Are you sure you want to know? OK, then. Read on.

The Good Stuff

Yes, there’s actual meat in that fast-food burger. Approximately 2-15% of the average fast-food burger is actual meat, or muscle tissue. That’s what it’s supposed to be made of, right? 50% of the burger is water weight. Nothing wrong with water. There’s some plant matter in there, too. OK, so they’re sneaking veggies into our burgers. But, what about the rest of it?

The Other Stuff

This is where it gets disturbing. The rest of the burger is composed of blood vessels, peripheral nerves, fat, cartilage, and bone. But, the problem isn’t just that they’re cutting costs by throwing in parts of the animal that we don’t normally eat.

Even More Other Stuff

When cows are slaughtered, the meat often comes into contact with their waste products. Obviously, the contamination that results from this contact must be remedied before the meat is sold to the public.

What solution do fast-food meat producers use? They inject the meat itself with ammonia. Yep, the same ammonia used in cleaning products. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not found any direct link between the levels of ammonia found in fast food burgers and health consequences, it does have negative environmental consequences. And, let’s face it: it’s pretty disgusting.

If ammonia isn’t enough to diminish your appetite for fast food, consider this: nearly 25% of fast-food burgers surveyed in a recent scientific study contained the parasite Sarcocystis.

Because the cows are kept in such close quarters, fast-food beef also contains antibiotics, which are used to keep the cows from succumbing to the diseases that spread so easily in such cramped conditions, before they are ready for slaughter. And, because rapid growth makes animals reach slaughter-weight more quickly, steroids are also commonly found in fast-food burgers.

That’s Not All…

Fast food isn’t just bad for your health, it’s bad for the environment. The effects of the pollutants released into the environment by the industrial agriculture companies that produce the ingredients in most fast food are truly staggering.

[Photo Credit: nymag]

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