Word on the street is that you have been discontinued, again. Is it true? I’ve been trying to avoid you, but you are on TV, blogs, websites, newspapers… everywhere. I am a healthy eater, so I’m not interested in you; in fact I’m very afraid of your processed pork-like, rib-shaped patty. People love you and I don’t understand why. You have an astronomical 70 ingredients, a far cry from Micheal Pollan’s rule – “Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.” You were created in 1981 and discontinued only a few years later due to bad sales, but now… people are rioting for your return! You are a hot topic on Twitter #McRib, not just a hashtag, but people (or marketers?) have dedicated handles to you: @McRibWatch and @McRibLocator (of the McRib Locator website)! And while your McRib farewell tours started back in 2005, Ask.com predicts your permanent return to the menu in 2012 (say it isn’t so!).
McRib, you are made from pork from Smithfield, which was awarded a “supplier sustainability award” in 2008 by McDonald’s themselves. But the Humane Society still strongly disagrees with the award, going so far as to file a legal complaint (PDF) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission this year, accusing Smithfield of misleading consumers about its welfare practices. But your fans don’t seem to care. They also don’t seem to care about what your rib-less rib patty is actually made from. McDonald’s lists the ingredients of the actual patty as, “Pork, water, salt, dextrose, preservatives (BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid),” but there is speculation about what parts of the “pork” are included – mostly offal (internal organs and entrails, and I’ve read some worse accusations). Even the bun and sauce are full of things that every human should avoid: high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils, ammonium sulfate, soy flour, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide) – and the list goes on. All of these below par ingredients add up to 450 (some say 500) calories, 24 grams of fat, 890 mg of sodium, not the most healthy meal around.
Everyone is talking about you McRib (whether good or bad) – you have a lengthy wikipedia page and have been mentioned in USA Today, LA Times, Huffington Post, The Week, Fox News, NPR, Freakonomics and The Washington Post among many more. McRib, you were only supposed to be available this year until November 14th, but there are still spottings of you around the country. Your frozen patties must be running out, but not as fast as predicted (maybe this is all just McHype?). Please, please run out so that we can all just eat more kale.