70 Ingredients

Which is the real McRib?

Which one contains no animal parts?

True story: A guy at work loves the McRib so much that every once in a while, when McRib isn’t on McDonald’s menu, he’ll hack together a pseudo McRib lunch and invite other coworkers. People invited are tasked to bring one ingredient each and meet for lunch to cobble together these sandwiches. I attended a few of these luncheons because here’s the kicker: they’ve found that MorningStar Farm’s® Hickory BBQ Riblets patties are the closest approximation to the actual McDonald’s McRib sandwich!

But recently McRib has been in the news because it’s back on the menu and McRib enthusiasts are shitting themselves again while the rest of us scratch our heads and shrug. We’ll maybe not all of us because when there’s love, there’s haters. When there are haters, there’s hate. Cuz internet rule #472 is: haters gonna hate. So it’s no surprise that haters gonna pick up on all this joy over a food item and target these daring food fanatics to bring them down a notch for a crumb of attention.

Some random internet writer was able to dig up, after much in-depth investigation (going to McDonald’s website), the secret (widely available) list of ingredients that they don’t want you to know (make public) that are in the McRib. The big news here is that there are over 70 ingredients in that sandwich. *GASP!* Not only that, but it is “jam-packed” fulla synthetic ingredients. The scariest one is also used in the manufacturing of foamed plastics!

When I initially saw that article I thought to myself “Yeah, I bet it’s a patty full of fakey fake fake filler and preservatives, who cares anyways?”. Well haters who gonna hate care and vegans are a special niche of that group. They got a whiff of that 300 word article and it was enough to flaunt it in the faces of those who eat said products. Erik Marcus, always on that forefront, declared this article akin to the epitaph on the tombstone of the doomed McRib sandwich:

Once upon a time, McDonald’s could get away with selling this dreck without being held accountable—but the internet has changed that forever.

If there are vegan haters out there then you might call this Pythagorean a vegan hater hater. Hey, it’s what I do. Now the discourse has been pushed into my territory and it made me curious enough to check the original claim. Turns out, the part of which vegans should take issue, the patty, has the least amount of ingredients (next to onions). Most of the ingredients reside in the bun, which for all intents and purposes, is itself vegan! In fact, the only part of the sandwich which DOES contain animal ingredients is the patty which consists mostly of pig.

The vegan version of this sandwich patty using Morningstar Farms Riblets would add 24 ingredients and because it comes with its own sauce and we do the math it comes out to be one ingredient less than the original in total. 69 Ingredients! Does one ingredient make the difference to garner so much ire? Or is it once again the quality of the ingredients. Let’s look at that.

The vegan riblet version contains some shocking ingredients:

So there you go folks. If you want a more wholesome sandwich you might want to line up at McDonalds and load up on McRibs sandwiches. If you’re vegan then I guess you’re out of luck with yet another thing NOT VEGAN. If you would rather just avoid animal flesh though, then make vegans squirm and enjoy a Morningstar Farms Riblet sandwich!

13 comments to 70 Ingredients

  • Again, Dave, you’ve made me too scared to eat anything. I dropped my vegan riblet sandwich out fool mouth while reading this. Literally. Okay, figuratively. Okay, not at all, but still! I’m freaked out! I’m just glad that I’ve been able to avoid dihydrogen monoxide so far.

    A lot of vegans really, really, really overestimate how much the average person (vegan or not) cares about the “scary” ingredients in their food and the overall healthiness of what they eat. At least in part, I think some of the vegan hate directed at such people is based on envy, a longing to be like them again in that regard. Most vegans have too much paranoia and guilt about food and I think a lot of them miss the guilt-free eating that the McDonald’s crowd gets to indulge in.

    That being said, I don’t think I’d eat at McDonald’s even if I stopped being vegan, except maybe once or twice just for the shit of it, just to prove to myself that I’m not neurotic about food or “too good.”

    • Vegans do tend to fetishize junk food though no? I know I did, and probably still do. Then there’s the nutty health food vegans on the opposite end there. I’m really sick of thinking about food all the time! De-converting as been a hard process.

      • Yeah, plenty of vegans go bonkers over a vegan cupcake.

        I think being obsessed with food transcends all dietary persuasions. A foodie is a foodie. A lot of foodies of late seemed to have embraced “slumming it” every once in a while. They think it gives them street cred and reduces their snobbishness.

        I think when you combine general “foodieness” with a preoccupation with eating only what you find to be ethical, that can be a recipe for something nearing an unhealthy obsession, one that can easily lead to judging others through the food they eat.

  • Thanks for writing this up, I had a piece of my own on the McRib in the works that I’ll probably scrap now. I noticed that the foodies seem to slightly inflate the ingredient count by counting individual fortification components in the fortified flour as separate ingredients. Perhaps its technically correct but still strikes me as needless nitpicking. I’m glad you meat eating friends have discovered the MorningStar Riblets. Ive made many McVeganRib sandwiches myself, damn yummy…in fact now I want one

    • Oh no! Was it along similar lines? As I was counting the ingredients I noticed that too. Made it obvious they were out for some good ol’ fashioned fear-mongering.

      During the course of writing this article I burned through several riblet sandwiches for research. No regrets, YUM! Go out and get you some!

  • My blogroll keeps telling me that you posted on ‘Veganism and Animal Justice’ but that post doesn’t appear on your blog 😛 I am now in suspense waiting to see what you’ve written! (and by suspense I mean getting ready to go to the pub, but nevermind…)

  • Shits, I was afraid of that. Late last night while editing I accidentally hit “Publish” when I meant to hit “Save Draft”. Sorry for the false start. It’ll go live later today after a few more tweaks. 🙂

  • I’ve never understood why some people (vegans, locavores, etc) made a big deal about ingredient counts. I can somewhat understand demonizing ingredients with chemical-sounding names, even though I disagree with it. But I find it funny when somebody will gorge on white flour and sugar, things that are known to be unhealthy, but balk at eating a trace amount of some additive because it happens to be flammable (to be fair, maybe they were planning on swallowing a match).

    If you gave me a choice between two plates, one with the top 5 ingredients from a McRib, and the other with the bottom 65, I’m pretty sure I’d choose the latter. I’d probably have to find something else to eat afterwards, but that’s fine by me.

    • I had a friend once who used to get chronically drunk – to the point where she’d be sat on the floor because staying on a chair was difficult for her – and on one of these occasions she pulled me onto the floor next to her and began to plead with me to stop making cakes with wheat flour in because it was so unhealthy. I wasn’t aware it was the point of chocolate cupcakes to be healthy 😉

  • […] Reading: Don’t Call it Milk if it’s Soy? by the Vegan Scientist 70 Ingredients By Dave D Look Who’s Afraid! Dairy Industry Launches Ad Campaign Dissing Plant-based Milks Guide: […]

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