The Real Reason You Should Never Use The Ketchup At McDonald's

All the dirty secrets of the fast-food industry have been a lot more publicized since the advent of the internet. Before the computer age, these things had to be passed from person to person via word of mouth, but now these rumors can move like wildfire, whether they're true or not. It seems like every week there's a new Reddit thread where a disgruntled fast-food employee is spilling the beans about why you shouldn't eat the chili at your neighborhood Wendy's or why you might be better off steering clear of the roast beef at Arby's (via Reddit).

One such fast-food menu item (or in this case, a condiment) is the ketchup from the communal dispensers at McDonald's.

Instead of Reddit, this sage piece of advice came from a former employee on an incredibly long Quora thread added to by a legion of McDonald's employees who chimed in on a long list of issues with varying levels of egregiousness (via Quora).

Now, why exactly is the problem with eating the ketchup from the dispenser?

Why employees warn against eating ketchup from the McDonald's dispenser

According to the employee, the massive sacs of ketchup contained within aren't replenished very often, and instead, the reservoir is just topped off with new ketchup when it needs to be. "Who knows when the bags were last changed?" they wrote. As a result, there's always some old ketchup mixed up in the tank, mingling with the new stuff.

On top of this, the employee, who used to be a manager, reported that the containers weren't washed very frequently. The manager noted that sometimes the accessible parts of the dispenser were washed, but the harder-to-reach areas were not given ample cleaning.

Of course, this is only the experience of one single manager, and there's no reason to assume that the same lazy practice extends across all locations, but especially if you're a finicky eater, it can't hurt to ask for some individually-packaged ketchup.

As much fun as it might be to give that large metallic pump a push, it's probably a better idea to request some ketchup in packets or dipping containers unless you're comfortable with consuming ketchup from who-knows-when.