For anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of watching films like Super-Size Me or Food, Inc. you probably haven’t looked at a burger in the same way for awhile. No longer are they the juicy and delicious quick meals that get you over the hump of your day, but proof that the phrase “junk food” is a wildly kind understatement. Here are 16 items you should think twice about before ordering, and maybe just…never order.
Taco Bell Beans
Now, to be fair, there had to be a reason that everything at Taco Bell is so dirt cheap. It’s basically cheaper than McDonald’s at this point, so that’s really saying something. What it says is that something had to take a hit, and it was Taco Bell’s beans, which are pretty appalling. The fact that they start out looking like dehydrated cat food isn’t helping their case.
You might be wondering now about the directions for making them. Well, according to a former employee of the chain, the directions are to mix them until you can't see white anymore. Doesn’t that just sound delectable?
McCafé Menu Items
For those of us able to recover from Super-Size Me by justifying that if an item didn’t have meat in it, it might not cause the same problems as documented in the film, think again. While the McCafé menu might not carry meat on it, it does serve plenty of things you would never want in your body.
According to one individual who claims to have worked at more than one Mickey D's, the machines used at McCafé are "routinely neglected." Management doesn't train the staff to care for the machine and, as a result, they do not clean the machines often. When they are cleaned, they are not cleaned thoroughly. (An Ontario employee tells of a very different experience, but maybe Canada's fast food restaurants are just a bit cleaner.) Are you lovin’ it yet?
While Wendy’s chili might sound like a good option, especially considering the chain’s low prices, don’t even think about going near it. This chili is said to be made from the leftover, expired meat from the grill. Workers collect this meat until there is enough for a batch of your oh-so-cheap chili. What if it doesn’t sell fast enough? Easy! They just keep adding water and mixing it up. That gives a whole new meaning to recycling.
According to one former employee, the meat they used to use would come from “the burnt patties from the grill, [they’re] collected in a drawer, put in a bag, frozen then boiled and chopped up, up to a week later.” Oh, and if you were thinking about the fries? Don’t. There’s said to be a mantra at the fast food chain regarding their famous fries, “They aren’t old until they’re sold.”
BBQ Sandwiches at KFC
One person, who claims to have worked at KFC for four years, says, “The BBQ sandwich is actually made from chicken too old and stale to give to the homeless shelters.” The nasty chicken is rehydrated in some BBQ sauce and can end up sitting in a warmer for up to a month before it sells and finds its way into the sandwich you hopefully never think about eating again.
While you may think that Dunkin' Donuts would be the perfect place to go for a fresh donut or muffin, sadly that's not the case. America may very well run on Dunkin’, but all the donuts and baked goods sold there arrive at the stores frozen and are just thawed prior to being served to hungry customers.
A former employee admitted this to Cosmopolitan, saying that, “A truck comes before we open in the morning, and another one comes later in the afternoon.” How about those muffins and bagels you tolerate, and maybe even like a bit? Well, they “also come in the morning, and we have bagels in the freezer that we’ll pull out to defrost in the afternoon so they’re fresh.”
Don’t count on getting your favorite donut either. If it’s one of the less popular ones, Dunkin’ runs out often enough, and the second delivery is only sure to bring out the really big sellers.
Anything at Panera (Except Sandwiches and Salads)
This might be different now that Panera is on a new super healthy kick, with sentimental commercials about their food airing every few minutes, but at one point, it’s rumored that Panera wasn’t as fresh as we might have thought.
In fact, according to former employee, the salads and sandwiches are fine and contain what are usually fresh ingredients, while some of the pastries—such as coffee cakes and cupcakes—are actually frozen. Another individual, who also claims to work at the café chain, echoed the former's claim regarding the coffee cakes and cupcakes; both agree that the pasta is actually coming to you straight from the microwave.
Little Caesar's Crazy Bread
The Crazy Bread at Little Caesar's may be tasty—okay, really tasty—but the spread that comes on it is dressed with synthetic butter at best. One Reddit user, claiming to be a former manager says the spread comes in giant vats that don't even need to be refrigerated. Is that anything you would really want to be consuming? We certainly wouldn’t want to.
Pizza Hut Salads
While eating salads at most fast food chains might not be the best of ideas—in fact, plenty of them are so unhealthy that choosing a Big Mac instead would be better for you—you’d feel comfortable doing so at a place like Pizza Hut, right? It’s not Panera Bread, but it’s not as much of a fast food place as a Burger King (if there’s really a surefire way to distinguish that). However, you'd do best to steer clear of the salad bar, even at your local Pizza Hut.
If you’re wondering why, well, it goes back to artificiality. Now we get the feeling you’re about to stop us by saying that their salads look so fresh, they couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with them. Well, that’s the problem. The Hut is said to inject its salad bar lettuce with food coloring to keep it looking unnaturally green.
Subway Turkey Hoagies
The meat on Subway’s turkey subs is questionable at best. Actually, the meat at Subway in general is questionable at best, but for now, we’ll focus our critique on the turkey. According to one Subway employee, the turkey lunchmeat contains only 60 percent turkey, and the rest is all fillers and preservatives so that you can "eat fresh" even though the meat has been sitting out for hours.
Back in 2011, CBS reported that despite the widespread belief that Subway is somehow superior to McDonald’s in terms of quality, the two are “really no different.” In fact, CBS says, the meat—turkey included—was “loaded down with artificial ingredients -- bulking agents, fillers, processing aids, preservatives and the like.” Doesn't exactly sound like "eat fresh" to us.
Stadium Hot Dogs
The ideal solution would be, of course, to avoid stadium food as a whole. Between the exorbitant costs and calorie counts, you're better off to grab a bite before the game. But if you really can’t go a whole game or concert without finding something to eat, just be sure to avoid one thing no matter what: those hot dogs we love so much.
We know, they’re an American pastime like no other. We wouldn’t be telling you this if it wasn’t important to know, but one person who claims to have worked at a concession stand asserts that many of these hot dogs aren’t fresh, they’re leftovers from previous days.
Nothing makes spending upwards of $10 on a movie ticket more worthwhile than the freshly buttered popcorn you get there—okay, and the Raisinets, if you’re the kind of person who likes to indulge and watch the chocolate melt in the popcorn. While movie popcorn has been a staple in theaters for ages, it's far from an ideal meal choice, as you might have guessed.
Sure, going to one of the early showings might score you a significantly cheaper ticket, but rumor has it that it’ll also get you what’s probably leftover popcorn from the night before. That sort of takes away a bit of the movie magic, doesn't it?
Chicken Nuggets from McDonald’s
Now this is a particularly sad realization for any of you who grew up loving Mickey D’s famous nuggets (just like Super-Size Me was sad for McDonald’s fans in general). If you have to eat their chicken nuggets though, it’s not all a lost cause, just make sure to ask for them fresh. Hopefully, the McDonald's employee will take pity on you and make new ones.
If not, one person who claims to have also worked at Mickey D’s, says you’ll be granted the surely delectable remaining leftover chicken nuggets, saying that despite there being a timer, “People just reset the timer instead of making new ones. This could go on until all the nuggets are sold.” What a world this is, where restaurants can take old favorites and just tarnish them beyond recognition.
Gas Station Slurpees
Maybe it depends on the location, as not all gas stations are from the same chain, but it’s said that Slurpee machines fall victim to mold, and the amount of mold in those machines would make you throw up for the rest of your life. Avoid these Slurpees like the plague.
Fast Food Chain Soft Drinks
You might be wondering, if you’re supposed to avoid the Slurpees that come out of these machines, what about the other things that come out of them, like soft drinks? Well, it’s pretty customary to order soda with your Big Mac or Whopper, but it really shouldn’t be, and you might want to brace yourself before reading this disturbing fact.
Are you braced?
Those ice machines yours is coming from are, as it happens, really, really hard to get totally clean, making them, as Eat This, Not That! so lovingly calls it, “veritable petri dishes.” That sounds like something you want to drink, doesn’t it?
In fact, after having tested the bacterial content from both for a school science experiment, 12-year-old Jasmine Roberts discovered that in 70 percent of occasions, the ice you’re getting from your local chain is dirtier than toilet water. In case that wasn’t enough to turn you off for good, that ice was often found to have some E. coli in it. Steer clear.
A Lot of McDonald’s Food
There was a reason Super-Size Me made waves as big and memorable as it did, and that we keep bringing it up. It wasn’t wrong about its claims. The bottom line is, don’t trust that a burger’s fresh just because it looks like it is.
Sally Davies, a photographer from good old New York, kept one such McDonald’s meal—a typical burger with fries, because it’s hard to enjoy one without the other. We don’t mean keeping it to eat later or the next day. No, she kept it to watch what, if anything, would happen to the meal the longer that she had it.
Now while a similar experiment with KFC fries, which were purchased on the same day, resulted in them being moldy months later, the McDonald’s meal hadn’t changed. This experiment took place in 2010, and, according to the photos Davies has since posted, the meal remained as “fresh” looking even in July 2015.
Shakes from Baskin Robbins
Aside from the unbelievable amount of sugar these shakes consist of, at least one of their shakes is made with both cellulose gum and cellulose gel, which is another, more scientific way of saying wood chips—“chemically digested wood chips” to be exact. If that wasn’t enough, TBHQ makes an appearance, and that’s used in biodiesel. Isn’t that sweet?