May 122015
 
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I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.

A few weeks back, I was invited, along with a few other area bloggers, to an exclusive behind-the-counter look at McDonald’s food quality.  At the “Open Door Tour” event,  I was given an in-depth restaurant and kitchen tour, a food demonstration, and had a chance to hear John Cisna, McDonald’s Brand Ambassador speak about making nutrition-minded food choices at McDonald’s and the importance of choosing balanced meals (he’s got a great story, too, so stay tuned).

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I have to admit that I was really excited when I got this invitation.  I have never worked in the fast food industry, so I was really looking forward to seeing some of the behind the scenes kitchen operations.  On the tour, we spent some time at the McCafe station learning about the coffee, how they make their beverages and a few of my fellow bloggers got the chance to make their own smoothies.

Here’s a fun fact that I learned that day – did you know that once the bag of coffee is opened, it only has a 30 minute shelf life?  So when you get your coffee at McDonald’s, you can be guaranteed that it’s fresh.

We also got to see the grill area, the assembly line and a few of the employees exhibited how they use fresh ingredients when preparing menu items in a few food demonstrations. All of their produce and eggs are purchased locally and are the freshest of the fresh.

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McDonald’s holds themselves to very high standards when it comes to their food quality. For more than 55 years, McDonald’s has evolved its menu to meet the changing needs of its valued customers. McDonald’s is committed to giving you more delicious choices to feel good about now and in the months and years to come, with the overarching goal of making sure the food you and your family love is something you can feel good about.

Real & Fresh Ingredients in Signature Menu Items:

Chicken

  • The Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Premium Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich are made with 100% chicken breast filet with no preservatives and are seared right in McDonald’s kitchens
  • The Premium Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich is made of a tender and juicy chicken breast filet
  • McChicken sandwiches are made with a filet that’s made with a blend of dark and white meat chicken, so it’s juicy and flavorful
  • McDonald’s works with three dedicated Chicken McNugget suppliers: Keystone Foods, Tyson and Dorada – all located in the U.S., in states such as Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.

Eggs

  • McDonald’s cracks fresh USDA Grade A eggs into an ‘egg ring’ which form the iconic round shape for the Egg McMuffin
  • McDonald’s scrambled eggs are made with liquid eggs that are cooked fresh on the grill with margarine
  • McDonald’s uses 100% egg whites in the Egg White Delight McMuffin, cooking them on the grill with margarine

Beef:

  • McDonald’s uses 100% beef that is ground, formed into patties and then flash frozen
  • Flash freezing is when beef is freshly ground and then quickly frozen to seal in flavor
  • McDonald’s burgers are made with no additives or preservatives; just seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper when cooked

Potatoes:

  • The potatoes used for McDonald’s World Famous Fries are made from varieties including Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, Umatilla Russet and the Shepody
  • The suppliers McDonald’s works with first peel, cut and blanch the potatoes. They then dry, partially fry and flash freeze the fries for restaurants. Once in kitchens, the fries are cooked in a Canola blend oil so that they are served crispy and hot

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Produce:

  • McDonald’s finds most of the leafy greens for salads right here in the U.S., but some come from Mexico, too
  • McDonald’s uses three kinds of lettuce in its Premium Salads — Romaine and Iceberg for crunch, and Spring Mix for flavor
  • Tomatoes originate in Florida, the Carolinas, California and Mexico

What impressed me the most was their commitment to food safety.  Employees always change gloves and wash their hands when switching stations to prevent cross contamination and on top of that, all employees are required to wash their hands every hour at a minimum – even if they are not switching stations.

After our tour and food demonstrations, John Cisna spoke to us about his weight loss journey.

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John is an Iowa high school teacher who made headlines last year for his student-led experiment that required he eat exclusively at McDonald’s—breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cisna lost nearly 60 pounds and 20 inches from his chest, waist and hips, and lowered his cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. In John’s words: “The experiment showed that it’s not where we eat, but what we eat and in what combination that matters”.  He told us that although he is done with the experiment, he still eats an Egg White Delight and an oatmeal from McDonald’s every day for breakfast. John has been touring the U.S. speaking about his experience and I was honored to hear him speak in Boston that day.

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See, I told you that he had a great story!

Has this changed your views about the food quality at McDonald’s?  As for me personally, I can rest easy when I feed my kids McDonald’s because I have seen first hand the care that goes into the food. I know that they are eating a nutritious, healthy meal.

What’s your favorite item at McDonald’s?

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  140 Responses to “A Behind the Counter Look at McDonald’s Food Quality @McDEasternNE #McDOpenDoorTour”

  1. It must be pretty interesting to witness something like this especially about the controversial McDonalds.

  2. This does totally change my opinion a bit. I personally always choose McDonald’s over Burger King any day of the week and nice to know though that I am making the right choice!! 😉

  3. What a great behind the scenes and thank you for allowing me to learn something new today about McDonalds! I don’t visit often, but when I do I love the burgers and fries!

  4. McDonalds still has the stigma over here in the UK although I have no idea why. I also worked there and it’s spotless!

    • The one near my house has been great. They’ve remodeled several in my area over the past 5 or so years and the improvements are remarkable!

  5. Wow, this article definitely surprised me! I have to admit that I have definitely hated on fast food chains for quite awhile now, but it’s really awesome to see that they are taking measures to improve the quality of their food.

  6. I don’t eat McD’s much only because it’s 25 mins away, but my favorite food and drink there has to be their McChicken and McFlurry! Those are the best for sure.

    I have always been curious and heard different things regarding the ingredients of foods, so this is definitely re-assuring and proves me right on what I thought it was made from 🙂

  7. Honestly McDonald’s is my favorite of all fast food chains- having children with food allergies, McDonald’s is one place we can actually go because they do actually use real food and can customize.

    • That’s great to know. My kids don’t have allergies, but their friends do. I’d love to be able to take them out some times.

  8. i havent heard really good about macdonalds.Atleast here in italy they dnt have very neat reputation.But its really nice to see that they held these kinds of meetings with blogger to talk about thier sevices 🙂

  9. It is refreshing to see something positive about McDonalds. 😀 My girls,especially my youngest LOVE going there. 🙂

  10. This was a very interesting post. I really never thought about what went on behind the scenes.

  11. wow I didn’t now that, I have to try Macdonal’s food again 🙂

  12. That’s quite interesting…I never knew a lot of that, but I do know that I do love some of the new, healthier menu items

  13. Thanks for sharing! It really does depend on the person to pick the right products to buy! Frankly, I’m more likely to get a Big Mac than a salad if I’m going to McDonalds 🙂 I know myself!

  14. I think he’s completely right about the choices of WHAT we eat are the real key. Interesting experiment he did!

  15. What an interesting experiment. It is amazing that he was able to lose so much weight and become healthier by eating fast food.

  16. I’m not a fan of fast food but it’s good to know that many of these places are changing their ingredients and using methods of preparation in a healthier way.

  17. Sounds like you had a fun tour! I had to miss it,unfortunately. Love their grilled chicken salad. I love that I can eat that and feel good about sticking to my “diet”.

  18. I am VERY glad I read this post! I am so glad that McDonalds is using fresh beef and that they eggs are not ‘premade and then frozen’ like I had thought! Might have to start eating there again!! Sounds like they are making a huge effort to serve great food!

  19. I haven’t had Mc Donalds in YEARS. I know my home town, Salinas CA supplies a lot of the produce for them.

  20. This is really interesting information! Thank you so much for sharing! That is pretty cool!

  21. Wow, that is a great success story! I really do love that McDonald’s menu has changed so much for the better in recent years. We introduced Gramma and Grampa to it (they had never eaten there ever because they thought of it as so unhealthy), and they were pleasantly surprised at the great choices available 🙂

    • I do pick up a salad from there occasionally. I can see how someone could lose weight in this way with the right choices.

  22. To be totally honest I don’t have one. We hardly ever visit fast food places.

  23. I know McDonalds gets a bad rap, but I feel like they are the best fast food place out there. They have better salads then a lot of places, and try by giving kids apples in their meals.

  24. It is no wonder that McDonald’s is still incredibly popular…I’m glad that they are showingoff their food quality. Randomly, I live right by the first McDonald’s ever in Des Plaines, IL!

  25. I like that they evolve with their customers and it looks like they’ve got some new, healthier options. I think I may try them for breakfast on our road trip in a few weeks!

  26. My favorite item is their McCafe drinks. I am glad to see that they are evolving and growing providing healthier options.

  27. McDonalds has been my kid’s favorite for a long time. I think that when they want to jump on all the fast food companies they always pick on McDs. I am so glad that they are constantly striving for higher standards!

  28. I did not know coffee life was so short once opened. My son has a McDonald’s right next to his school so I often drive through to get my morning coffee.

  29. how interesting, I really need one of those circle egg makers!

  30. What a cool experience! So that is how they do their eggs! We just ate McDonalds for lunch.

  31. What an interesting post! McDonalds gets such a bad rap but it sounds like they really do place extra effort into fresh foods & cleanliness. I am enlightened thanks to your post!

  32. I’d love to see how food is made. I learned a lot about how McDonald’s prepares their food.

  33. Interesting. I’m completely suspicious of McDonalds and any fast food for that matter, but they do have delicious coffee. I won’t tell you how long my bag of coffee sits around after opened- lol.

  34. That’s very interesting and looks like the freshest and best McDonald’s I’ve ever been to. Ours aren’t dirty, but the eggs for egg McMuffins and all that definitely are sitting on a heater, and the fries taste like cardboard.

  35. I definitely agreed that it’s what and not where we eat. Interesting article!

  36. I’ve never liked that McDonald’s has been the focal point of so much controversy in the past so I was happy to see this post you made. I know first-hand that McDonald’s cares about their ingredients and their customers. I appreciate you being willing to speak up for them. 🙂

  37. Oh man. I love me some McDonald’s! This looks like such a cool experience! How awesome I’m jealous!

  38. Oh wow, this is so amazing! I’ve always wondered how it works behind the scenes of McDonalds.

  39. Honestly, I think their beef is disgusting, but I do love their fries. And their $1 drinks are a fabulous deal!

  40. That looks like a fun event. If I am splurging I love the Big Mac. If I am eating healthy I love their grilled chicken salad.

  41. Oh what fun and I learned something new about coffee. That’s incredible that it has such a short shelf life but McDonalds does have great coffee.

  42. McDonalds gets such a bad wrap. Didn’t know all about their local initiatives like you mentioned. Thanks for sharing! xox Christine | Amidst the Chaos

  43. Interesting post! I agree that it is all about moderation when feeding your family. I refuse to give in to any mommy guilt when I treat the kids to McDonald’s. Honestly though, my favorite part of their restaurant is the play area. So I can eat ALL the french fries by myself while the kids play.

  44. I think McDonalds has come a long way and continues to try to change their food. I like that they are continuing to make healthier changes.

  45. How neat to have access like that. Sounds like a fun day!

  46. I really love the Crispy McChicken sandwiches at McDonald’s!

  47. Ok I would not have put healthy and MacD in the same sentence but yes I have changed my perception of MacD.

  48. I love the Breakfast offerings and other products of McDonald. They use only the best ingredients.

  49. I so love McDonald’s food and think it is awesome that they have made healthier changes to their menu. It is totally awesome that they use the fresh food from the area also. I so love their coffee and think it is one of the best tasting. Thanks for sharing.

  50. It’s nice to see McDonalds establish their processes already. This really keeps them efficient and keeps the quality in their food.

  51. How great to be able to see behind the scenes in the worlds most popular food chain. It’s great that they’ve begun to make healthier choices for their menu.

  52. I think he’s absolutely right! It’s not where you eat, it’s what you eat! He’s a great inspiration for sure!

  53. How interesting. I’ve never seen a behind the scene store operations, too and I would love to experience it.

  54. I am a sucker for their milkshakes. My daughter LOVES their french fries. This makes me feel better about her eating them!

  55. I love MC Donald’s apple pies. I am glad they are opening up their kitchens to allow their costumers to witness first hand how they operate.

  56. I always enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at restaurants. My 6-year old grandson loves McDonalds chicken nuggets. I feel much better about him eating them!

  57. I love me an egg mcmuffin! Looks like you had a fun time!

  58. That must have been a fun experience. I stop their regularly for their coffee. Great taste!

  59. i do love their egg mcmuffins. I haven’t had anything else there for years but we cut out fast food in general a long time ago

  60. What a great look behind the scenes. I had no idea there were so many fresh ingredients kept onsite.

  61. I think it would be interesting to see the behind the scenes of McDonald’s. I always wondered if they used a mold to cook those eggs.

  62. My husband loves their egg mcmuffins and their double quarter pounder. He can put those away.

  63. I would never have guess they put quality and effort to their food – I wonder if its the same with Mcdo here in our country,

  64. This was a really interesting article. I have to be honest, I always thought the back of a fast food restaurant would be a nightmare.

  65. This is was a really great read. I had no idea that McDonald’s used such fresh ingredients. That’s good to know!

  66. Wow what a great post! I have never worked fast food either. What a great event!

  67. It’s nice to get another view on McDonald’s nutrition. This is making me totally hungry too!

  68. I don’t eat at McDonald’s often. I stopped there Saturday morning before 7 a.m. (I had to be at work by 7:30) and got their biscuits. I’m a huge fan of biscuits. 🙂

  69. Wow… a bit of an eye opener to read. Thanks for the info. Wish we could all take this tour and get the behind the scenes info for places we choose to know more about.

  70. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in a while because I’m eating healthy and didn’t think they had anything I could eat but that artisan chicken sandwich sounds soooo good!

  71. I can personally attest to the freshness of the eggs… If you were at the same event as another blogger friend of mine, you saw the McDonalds egg video with Grant Imahara learning about eggs with me! Very cool that McDonald’s goes to such effort to educate!

  72. McDonald’s gets a bad rep for its food. Glad to see they are opening their doors and being honest about what they produce! Hard to believe someone could lose weight by eating there every day! Great job, dude!

  73. With my lifestyle change diet, there are not a lot of place I can eat. But…. McDonalds is one of them. I just have to be sure to order what I can eat.

  74. This makes me feel a lot better when my kids ask for McDonald’s as a special treat. A lot of great info here!

  75. I actually just ate a Grilled chicken sandwich today! I love McDonald’s and am not ashamed to admit it!

  76. Brings me back to high school and working behind the line :). Fun times.

  77. How cool that you got to go do this. I don’t eat at McDonald’s very often, but when I do I get a Big Mac and fries.

  78. What a great informative tour. It is cool to see behind the scenes and I love those egg cooking tools. No wonder that eggs come out nie

  79. That’s pretty interesting. Sound like you learned a lot about McDonalds. It all also depends on the store, and employees for how the food is.

  80. Interesting! I can’t eat anything from McDonald’s – every time I do it upsets my tummy. Hubby loves it, though!

  81. This sounds like fun. I really like how the have fresher and healthier choices. Nice to see what goes on.

  82. I worked at McDonald’s when I was in college. It is amazing to see how much has changed. I don’t do fast food often but when I do it’s McDonald’s. The oatmeal is great!

  83. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in several years, it’s good to know they use fast food! I just don’t do fast food at all sadly.

  84. I would love those rings for the eggs. We make breakfast sandwiches a lot at home.

  85. This is a good campaign that McDonald’s is doing! The transparency in their food ingredients is something that a lot of people are interested in considering the past news.

  86. This is great to know. I was actually surprised to hear this. I just had one of their Artisan grilled chicken the other day. It was very good!

  87. I like to stop by McDonald’s for an occasional snack. Especially when I am on the road.

  88. I have been a fan of McDonald’s since I was a kid and that has never changed. It is great to know these interesting facts about their standards and nothing in the world beats their fries.

  89. Great Opportunity and great feature. I love McDonalds that whenever a friend or fam member visits the states they have to bring me back a big mac:-)

  90. WE love their fries at our house! In fact, we had them not too long ago!

  91. What an awesome event! McDonalds breakfast will forever be my weakness.

  92. It’s great to know what you’re getting and feeding your family. My understanding is that McDonald’s is one of the only fast food chains that use dedicated fryers for the French fries so someone with Celiac Disease can actually enjoy the fries and not worry about cross contamination from chicken nuggets and such.

  93. This is encouraging to read. It’s nice to see that McDonald’s is making these positive changes.

  94. Very interesting information. Glad they are using more fresh ingredients.

  95. Interesting to see McD’s behind the scenes and nice to know the effort they are making for freshness and quality.

  96. This is really good to know. I LOVE the coffee but I’ve heard all kinds of things about the beef they use so I’m glad to see either it’s wrong or they made changes and are doing some PR to help get the word out!

  97. A local radio station was actually talking about John this morning and the experiment he did with his class. I thought it was really interesting. I’m also impressed that McDonalds purchases their eggs and produce locally. I had no idea!

  98. This was so interesting to read! Changed some of my opinions for sure!

  99. My oldest son works there and when he first started he came home and said – “they make us clean and clean and clean- everything has to be perfect” – I loved hearing those words. I love their wraps.

  100. How exciting! I want McDonald’s to host an outing like this in Chicago! I go through the drive thru everyday for my frappe!!

  101. Haven’t had or thought about McDonald’s in years, and then I saw their new ad for the hamburglar and it was hilarious.

  102. This is really cool! I love behind the scenes type events!

  103. We try not to eat out too often, but sometimes you just need fast food. Today was one of those days. And McDonalds won the vote. And my sneaky daughter stole my Yogurt Parfait! I think that is one of my favorite items from McDonalds.

  104. I have to say that I had no idea how important quality is to McDonald’s! You always here horror stories about the fast food industry. This post has made me feel better about the next time I have a “Big Mac Attack”! 😀

  105. I wish our local McDonald’s was as awesome as the one you had the opportunity to visit. Ours doesn’t have that many options and the staff is less than friendly or sanitary. I think our Mickey D’s could learn a thing or two from the one you visited 🙂

  106. How fun is that you got a behind the scenes look at Mickey Ds! Atlanta should have a media outing like yours!

  107. I think these behind the scenes peeks are awesome! I am really impressed with their coffee standards. No wonder everyone raves about their coffee…it’s always so fresh!

  108. We eat at McDonald’s a lot. My favorites are the Big Mac and cherry pie.

  109. how awesome and what a great opportunity to witness the behind scene actions at McDidies….:)

  110. What an amazing experience. One of my old co-workers said this was her favorite job she’s ever had! great sharing!

  111. It is really great to know McDonald’s is taking a more healthy route with their menu. I love that they use local produce and eggs. Love, Love, Love that!

  112. I’m really not a fan of McDonalds, actually I’m not a big fan of fast food really. Good to know they’re using real beef.

  113. I think McDonald’s has really upped their quality in recent years. We don’t eat there a lot, but I don’t feel bad when we treat our boys to their food every now and then.

  114. Oh my gosh everything is my favorite at McDonalds lol. Big Macs, Chicken Nuggets, Ice Coffee, McChicken. Okay I have to stop making my self hungry. I’m glad to hear that they have healthy food there.

  115. What a great learning tour. I like that they use 100% fresh ground beef. It is good to know

  116. Glad to see McDonalds getting back to freshness! I didn’t know that about the eggs!

  117. My kids absolutely love Mcy D’s french fries. Now i have a few fun fact to tell them when we go there next time.

  118. I love McDonald’s, I don’t care what anyone says. Their iced mochas are AMAZING and I love their fries, too.

  119. I do enjoy an Egg Mc Muffin and their Iced coffee too. Looks like you had a great time!

  120. I love eating at McDonald’s and I have always found their breakfast to be of great quality. It is so enjoyable to have it on the weekend.

  121. I love McDonald’s! I know there’s so much controversy about it but for me it just brings so many memories of my childhood. Kids parties at McDonald’s were a big hit when I was a kid 🙂 I would have loved to go behind the scenes. Seems like you learned a lot from this experience.

  122. I have not been to McDonalds in a long time but this is so cool they let you go behind the scenes.

  123. My favorite breakfast item is the Bacon Egg and Cheese bagel, made with the fresh round eggs.

  124. Oh man -_-
    McDonald’s… I have so much to say upon the subject lol.
    Once in a while though, I’ve gotta admit, I get a hankering for their 14 ingredient french fries; tertiary-butylhydroquinone and some Dimethylpolysiloxane. The whole “real food” thing can be sold until the cows come home BUT there’s a reason that they’re hemorrhaging money. Instead of clever marketing, attempts at rebranding themselves or roping us bloggers in to sell us a tale and attempt to get us to help out… they should put the funds into eliminating the garbage, avoiding the GMOs and listening to the consumer instead of trying to buy us back.
    Of course, this isn’t directed at you but the company. You’re awesomesauce and I’m just an angsty lady that could probably use a burger 😛

  125. I don’t eat fast food at all but there are a few healthy choices at some restaurants. Glad to see them becoming a little more health conscious.

  126. I just took a McDonald’s tour yesterday! It’s awesome getting a behind the scenes look!

  127. Brings me back to working at McDonald’s. I’ve worked in all areas of the restaurant. It’s nice to see them take the quality of their food seriously.

  128. I love that they gave you a “behind the counter” look at what goes on. I used to work at McDonald’s, so it brings back memories. 🙂

  129. Good to see the “behind the scenes” at McDo. I am not much of a fast food person. My son loves McDonald’s though. Well, I think all kids does. 🙂

  130. This was actually Interesting to read! You always think of mc Donald’s and all those pink slime pictures you see on the Internet, so to hear they actually use local eggs & there aren’t preservatives in the beef… Kinda shocking to hear! Kinda makes me feel better about my fast food cheat days lol…

  131. for breakfast i love the oatmeal otherwise a fish sandwich without cheese and extra tartar!!!

  132. I know they do a lot to change their menus, they aren’t having as much luck changing the perception about the brand, though. My son worked at a McDonalds for a year or so before joining the air force and said he was suprised at a lot of things. I’ve worked in food service off and on for 15 years so I know what goes into doing it right (and wrong).

  133. I bet that was really interesting to go behind the scenes!

  134. That would be a totally fun event to go to! I do love McDonald’s iced coffees. I grab one whenever I can!

  135. I love McDonald’s Egg McMuffins! I didn’t know that was how they made them! Sounds like you had a great time!

  136. Yes, this is my favorite meal at McDonalds. I always try to get the low fat substitutions with egg whites. Love this!