Mcdonalds Burgers Contain Sawdust?

I’m attempting to debunk a statement I heard to the effect of ‘McDonalds burgers have at one time or still do contain sawdust’. Snopes has nothing to say on the subject, and my buddy google only has some forum posts that “validate” the info as a definite rumor. I was also able to dig up this as a possible etymology to the legend. So dopers, whats the dope?

My father was a McDonald’s owner-operator for a dozen years. I’m quite sure, absolutely positive, that McDonald’s burgers have no additives or extenders, including sawdust, earthworms, textured soy protein, or kangaroo meat. The packaging from the company says ‘100% beef’ (possibly 100% American beef) and if there were extenders, they would have to be declared.

However, this is not to say that the beef comes from grain-fed, feed-lot AA marbled steers. And it’s certainly not Kobe Beef. There are too many ‘cutter’ cattle - worn out milking Holsteins, barren older range cattle, “downers” who have fallen on concrete milking parlor floors and broken their pelvis or other bones - that sell for a whole lot less per pound, and has less fat besides. Also, there are the less-desireable cuts of beef that fewer people want to take the time to cook: brisket, neck, legs, flank. Once the meat is ground up super-fine, the source is fairly irrelevent.

Does it really matter what’s in McDonalds?

They taste like crap anyway

Ah, my mistake. I was sure this was ‘General Questions’, asking for actual information, and not ‘In My Humble Opinion’.

Health departments salivate at the thought of getting McDonald’s on a big charge. They are also aware that if the local Chinese restaurant messes up, a handful of people get sick, but if McDonald’s does, then thousands get sick so the standards and visibility is pretty high.

So sawdust? Don’t think so. Don’t think the burger boys would expose themselves to that sort of risk, and I think all sorts of people would run them down if they tried

Back in the '80’s, the prevailing wisdom of high school students was that McDonald’s beef contained cattle eyeballs.

Lips and Asshole’s are Beef, Too. Or am I thinking of Hot Dogs?

As I understand it (sorry, no cite), there can be non-zero tolerance levels for various substances that might be detected during analysis of food products (insect proteins, for example - maybe wood fibres too, I dunno) - they may be set ridiculously low, but setting them to absolute zero would render testing impossible. Perhaps something like this got blown up into a story about sawdust being a permitted ingredient…

Cecil did a piece on McDonalds beef The net of it is that it’s 100% beef, both from lean dairy cows and fattier steer, mixed to an 80% lean 20% fat ratio.

Here in Oz Maccas are touting with ads in which supposed Maccas employees go on, apparently non-sexual, outings to root out the actual contents of the foodstuffs they are selling. They find that the beef patties are 100% Aussie beef.

When I worked for McD’s back in high school all of the boxes of burger patties were marked as coming from Austrailia. Word was that they owned their own mega ranch down there someplace, but that was just rumor.

No cite, but I thought I read somewhere that recent rules prohibit “downer” cattle from being slaughtered for food (due to BSE concerns).

Yeah it mentions on that site that they export 60,000 tons to overseas Maccas and that because it gets export approval their beef is of the highest quality.

Right. 100% Beef.

Aha, but what if some of that is Beefwood? Huh?

I’d be very surprised to find out that they have sawdust in the burgers. It could be that they have a lot more of grissle, fat, or skin than they’d like to admit but trucking in sawdust just to add to the meat doesn’t sound like it would be worth the trouble or risk.

I’m not posing as an expert here but I know of a few slaughter houses in Kansas who have basically one customer, McDonalds. A quick look around Google shows that McDonalds has a lot of its supply line locked into long term contracts and own or control the price of the feed, the ranches and the slaughterhouses.

The beef they get in to the plants varies in grade so while the burgers are obviously not 100% Prime, its pretty safe to assume that they aren’t made up of just Select and Cutter grade beef. More than likely the meat evens out at Select or better grade. Using the whole cow also has the advantage of having a higher percentage of the tender sections blended into the tougher meat so its easier to control the quality.

My co-worker toured one of these plants and said that, when they are done with the cow, what’s left over is about the size of your fist. The hides, bones, and other remnants are sold or processed for non-human construction. The co-worker alos told me that touring the plant ruined him for Bar-B-Que for the next three months.

What sinister things might they be building out of them?

Anyone interested might want to check out Fast Food Nation. Very interesting read.

Back when I was in school in the 70s, burgers were insulted by insinuating that they contained soy. I guess nowadays when soy burgers are a selling point, the rumor has switched to sawdust.

Maybe those Happy Meal toys are made of bone :eek:

I was told that the hides are sold to leather processors, the bones and guts were turned into feeds for chicken and cattle (extreme case of recycling) and the feet and horns were sent to renderers to make glues and gelatin.