Does McDonald's use Grade E meat?

A friend of mine who used to manage a McDonald’s restaurant recently told me that when the meat shipments used to come in they had “Grade E but edible” printed on the side of the box; she then went on to tell me that she had heard that the meat has 13 anti-vomitory agents added to it. Does anyone out there have the straightdope on this most disturbing story?

It sounds goddamn unlikey: I don’t even think ‘antivomitory’ agents exist, and anyway they would be too expensive to add to marginal meat that was going into Big Macs. It would be like cutting acid with pure cocaine.

McDonald’s, and all other fast food places, use normal ground beef, and ground beef is beef too low-grade to be used as an actualt cut of meat, with plenty of fillers, such as soy and bread. All of that is cheap and perfectly edible (as long as it’s well-cooked, ref. Jack in the Box). Occam’s Razor kicks in here: Of two hypothesis, the simpler of the two that accounts for all evidence is usually correct.

(Besides, I know someone who used to work at McDonald’s and he would have been more than happy to tell me if the restaurant was using antivomitory agents. He had zero loyalty and would have laughed off ‘gag orders’. Such is a Straight Dope informant. :D)

actualt = actual

Um, why WOULD McD’s use low-grade meat? They don’t buy their meat, they own their own (enormous) herds; they can use any cuts they want.

Ask your friend to bring in a piece of the box. In the 5+ years that I was employed at that un-fine establishment I’ve never seen that.

“the meat has 13 anti-vomitory agents added to it”

That’s a scream. They should use that as an advertising slogan.

If this ain’t on SNOPES it aughta be. I heard the same story in 1982 about my old college dorm.

I worked at McD’s for a quite a while, and every box of meat I ever saw had “Grade A” labeled very prominently on the box.

Some people really lack the “obvious urban legend recognition” trait, don’t they?

Here is the Straight Dope on McDonald’s Meat.

There is no such thing as “Grade E meat.” Meat doesn’t use letter gradings. The grading are:


The last three are used for processed products, like ground beef.

The grading, BTW, involves standards for marbling, percent of fat, etc. Even the “canner” grade is edible; it’s probably just tough.