We might think we know everything there is to know about fast-food restaurants, after all, we do eat there pretty often, right? However, more often than not, you see what they want you to see and nothing else. So, to find out more about your go-to guilty pleasure spot, here are the Top 10 SURPRISING Facts About Fast Food Restaurants (Part 2).
10. Tomatoey Flies
What’s the one thing you can order on Friday night that’s guaranteed to make you a star in everyone’s eyes? Pizza. What’s the lunch you promised everyone if they helped you move? That’s right, pizza! No matter how you look at it, pizza is the ultimate food for every occasion. Whether you make it yourself or order from one of the big chains, you’re sure to be satisfied every time – at least, before you knew what actually goes on under all that gooey cheese. As much as pizza places try to follow sanitary guidelines, there is one small detail that you probably wished you never knew about regarding the content of the sauce. According to the FDA, it is perfectly safe – and legal – for your tomato sauce to contain flies and maggots. Yes, you heard that right; small bugs in your food are safe and legal. Apparently, it’s pretty hard and economically impractical to grow and process products that are completely free of unavoidable defects, so they allow for a small number to stay in the food. By unavoidable defects, the FDA means the array of fruit flies, maggots, mold, animal feces, and rodent hairs. In tomato sauce, they allow for 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams and one or more maggots per 100 grams. So, next time you order your pizza from Domino’s or Papa John’s, just know you might be getting a little extra protein.
9. Soda And Other Substances
Speaking of weird and disgusting things found in your favorite fast-food meals, your cherished soda – you know, the always get with your combo – might not be the most sanitary thing at the restaurant. Actually, it might just be one of the worst things you could possibly get. You probably already know that soda machines at fast-food joints are pretty hard to clean, and since hard to clean usually means hardly cleaned, don’t count on the soda to be top-quality. Obviously, faulty cleaning also comes with a lot of germs and occasional bacteria, but there is something much, much worse lurking in the shadows. According to a 2010 study, around 48% of soda fountains at fast-food restaurants contain coliform bacteria, something commonly found in feces. Just to make things clear; there is a high chance that there are feces particles in the diet Coke you’re about to drink. Coliforms, which are banned at high levels in drinking water by the EPA, indicate the possible presence of said gross bacteria, and most restaurants have no idea they carry them. The microbiologists who conducted the experiment have no idea how this unwanted ‘extra’ ends up in the soda machines, but the main guess is that it may come from dirty cleaning rags or unwashed customer hands. The moral of the story? Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, guys, and stick to water.
8. There Could Be Body Parts In Your Meal
So far, you’ve heard of flies and fecal bacteria casually sitting in your fast-food meal, but there’s another thing you should be very wary about, human flesh. Well, okay, that’s not an occurrence as common as the other two, but the fact that it’s happened before is already a little scary. Over the many years of fast-food history, there’s been more than one encounter with pieces of human body parts being found in food – usually a finger. For instance, in 2014, a teen from Michigan was greeted with more than just roast beef when he ordered an Arby’s sandwich. As he was finishing his meal, he bit into an employee’s finger who had just cut himself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a first-time thing at Arby’s. Almost 1o years prior, a man from Ohio bit into a piece of flesh belonging to an employee who had sliced his thumb skin while shredding lettuce. Talk about a meaty sandwich. However, as scary as these stories sound, others are simply made-up. Like the time Anna Ayala claimed she found a fingertip in her Wendy’s chili in 2004. As it turns out, she put it there herself, and was sentenced to nine years in prison, and was banned from Wendy’s for life. In any case, finger parts found in your food is never a great experience.
7. Famous Ronald
It could be considered an understatement to say that McDonald’s is pretty famous. And by pretty famous, we mean the epitome of celebrity. With more than 38,600 locations operating in over 100 countries and serving an average of 69 million people every day, saying that McDonald’s is popular is probably not giving the Big M enough credit. But, despite its cheap and delectable food, the chain also has the satisfaction of having one of the most recognizable logos in the world. A survey from the well-known book, Fast Food Nation, done by Sponsorship Research International, discovered that the Golden Arches are more recognizable than the Cross. The survey pointed out that 88 percent of respondents worldwide could identify McDonald’s arches, while only 54 percent recognized the Christian Cross. Ronald McDonald is also the second most recognizable fictional character in the world, only trailing Santa Claus, as 96 percent of children worldwide recognize him. So, while the bright red and yellow trademark colors are all over the world, if you live in America, your love and devotion for the chain might just be a little stronger. Why? Because if you are anywhere in the continental United States, you are never more than 115 miles away from an McD’s. No matter where you are or how late it is, you can always get a Big Mac to calm your hunger.
6. Taco Bell And Its Pseudo-Meat
When in need of a filling, tasty order of tacos, where else do you go but Taco Bell. Not only do you get the best bang for your buck, but you also have so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your craving. However, as delicious and varied as the menu is, when you look a little closer at the ingredients, the reason why it’s so cheap becomes much clearer. According to Taco Bell’s website, the fast-food chain’s taco recipe contains only 88% beef. So, where is the remaining 12%? This is their “signature recipe” after all – whatever that means. The ingredients undoubtedly include some hard-to-pronounce words, but most are supposedly common at-home ingredients like spices and thickeners. Back in 2011, before the whole “88%” thing was cleared up, the chain was faced with a lawsuit. A law firm in Alabama claimed that the chain’s taco filling “did not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture” to be considered beef since it contained more oats, seasoning, and fillers than meat. Taco Bell obviously fought back against the charges and made slight alterations to their advertising, providing more open and honest information about their beef product. The charges were later dropped after Taco Bell clearly proved its point, but the bad publicity the case brought to the chain is still somewhat alive today.
5. Subway And Yoga Mats
Over the years, Subway has been under fire more than once regarding its “supposed” healthy menu offerings. While it was considered one of the healthiest fast-food joints for many years, that reputation has taken a hit. Up until 2014, there was a very questionable ingredient found in Subway’s bread called azodicarbonamide. Azodicarbonamide is a chemical, so already, we’re off to a bad start. It’s widely used as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner in food and is FDA approved. However, that same chemical can also be used to increase elasticity in products like yoga mats, shoe rubber, and synthetic leather. A little unsettling to know that you were eating something also found in that knock-off Gucci purse, isn’t it? This shocking discovery led food blogger, Food Babe, to create a petition demanding that Subway discontinue its usage of azodicarbonamide in its bread. The petition got 78,000 signatures, and the chain had to sign a pledge saying they would stop using the chemical. Of course, Subway suffered from a lot of bad publicity after this controversial information came to light, but as the use was phasing out, so did people’s interest. Even though Subway has stopped using azodicarbonamide, the chemical is still ever-present in some other fast-food and store-bought breads.
4. McDonald’s Is Cutthroat
Like we’ve mentioned before, McDonald’s is the real deal. It’s like the cool kid that everybody wants hang out with, be like and copy. With that kind of respected status and importance of name, McDonald’s has a certain reputation to uphold. This is why in 2011, getting a job at McDonald’s was harder than getting into Harvard, one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools! It sounds hard to believe, and yet, people had better chances of getting accepted to the University than getting a job at the fast-food joint! In 2011, Harvard accepted only 7 percent of applicants, while McD’s accepted only 6.2 percent. This happened because McDonald’s hosted a gigantic national job fair and advertised 50,000 jobs. They ended up hiring 62 thousand people – after more than 1 million applications. You don’t need to be a math genius to figure this one out. The odds of getting a job were pretty slim. Okay, obviously, admissions at Harvard are a little more selective than at McDonald’s, but the numbers don’t lie. Considering that McDonald’s hires around 1 million employees a year and that 1 in 8 American workers has been employed at the Golden Arches at one time or another, the chain’s exclusivity is actually not that surprising. Having McDonald’s on your resume can open up many doors, and who knows, maybe it can open up a door to Harvard as well.
3. Coffee Always Fresh At Dunkin’
Is there anything more disappointing than driving out of your way to get a nice cup of coffee only to have it be cold and/or less than fresh tasting? Every avid coffee drinker knows how important the first cup of joe is in the morning, and so does Dunkin’. As many coffee chains try to slip old, stale coffee by their customers, Dunkin’ takes things a little more seriously. If you go to Dunkin’, it’s practically impossible to get coffee that’s less than fresh – unless the employee didn’t follow the honor code. According to donut chain themselves, the coffee is always freshly ground, freshly brewed, and—most importantly—freshly served. If the coffee isn’t used within 18 minutes, it’s discarded, and a new carafe is brewed. This nice little thought is already much more than you can expect from other more popular chains. It’s pretty easy to say that Dunkin’ is the master of great coffee. On average, it sells about 60 cups per second, which works out to roughly 2 billion cups of coffee – hot or cold – yearly around the world. Plus, they use a double brewing process for their iced coffee and a special machine to add sugar and cream that gets the quantities just right so that your fresh coffee can taste just right every single time.
2. Fast-Food And Health Don’t Mix Well
Fast food, as delicious and satisfying as it can be, has never claimed to be a saint. Everyone is well aware that when you order that juicy Whopper, it’s not to please your dietician. However, as much as fast food’s bad rap is common knowledge, you might be surprised to know just how bad it really is for you. There are the obvious negative physical effects that eating a lot of fast food can have on your body. Stuff like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, and increased chance of diabetes and heart disease. There’s also the link between certain artificial food colorings used by fast-food restaurants and the diagnoses of ADHD. And, studies have also shown how fast food can have a negative impact on your mental health. Indeed, people who eat a lot of fast food are more prone to depression than people who steer clear of the stuff. And to make matters worse, depression may also increase fast food intake – it’s basically a vicious circle. But that’s not all. Recent studies showed a link between fatty foods and the inability to create new memories, which is has possible link to dementia. In other words, indulging in fast food once in a while shouldn’t be a problem, but if you overdo it? Yeesh, you could be looking at serious problems.
1. McD’s Multiple Personalities
You might think of McDonald’s as one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world – and while this is very accurate, it turns out Ronald has more than just his restaurant gig going fo him. You see, McDonald’s is not only a restaurant; it’s also a real estate company. And not just any real estate company, one of the largest in the business – all hidden under the facade of a fast-food chain. It primarily leases the land, the buildings, or both on 15,000 of its restaurant sites and collects rents each month. It owns $28.4 billion worth of land and buildings and this actually represents its main source of revenue. As former McDonald’s CFO said, McDonald’s isn’t technically in the food business; it is in the real estate business. As McDonald’s tries to keep its double identity under wraps, the chain also operates another business. This one might seem a little more obvious. McD’s also just happens to be the world’s biggest toy distributor in the world. Thanks to the introduction of Happy Meals in 1979, McDonald’s distributes more toys than Hasbro and Mattel, for a total of 1.5 billion toys each year. In fact, around 20% of all sales at the restaurant include a toy. Basically, McDonald’s might seem like a good old, run-of-the-mill fast-food restaurant – on the surface – but deep down, it’s so much more than that.