The Unique Way McDonald's Tried To Improve The Reputation Of Its Burgers

There are a lot of rumors swirling around McDonald's burgers and what exactly they're made of. Are they made from mystery meat that simply doesn't rot? Pink slime? Do they contain ammonia hydroxide? Worm meat? Human or horse meat? With all of these rumors and more circulating online, it's easy to see how McDonald's could have a reputation crisis on its hands. So, in 2014, the chain decided to do a little PR work and improve the reputation of its burgers in a very unique way.

When you're faced with a lot of myths, who do you call? MythBusters, of course. McDonald's hired former MythBusters cast member, Grant Imahara, to dig deep into what exactly a McDonald's burger contains, per CNET. They tasked him with answering questions like, "Is the beef really real — and if it's not, what is it?" As part of the larger campaign that McDonald's dubbed, "Our Food. Your Questions." Imahara took viewers behind the scenes and conducted interviews with McDonald's decision makers, to do what he did best: bust some myths.

What did this MythBuster find when investigating McDonald's?

Sure, during interviews, McDonald's reps told Imahara that there was no pink slime or other weird items in the chain's burgers, including ammonia hydroxide — but that's what you'd expect them to say (via CNET). To get the real truth, Imahara visited McDonald's beef supplier, Cargill, to get a first-hand look at what happens to McDonald's beef behind the scenes.

Over the course of his investigation, Imahara examined how workers inspected beef, ground it up, formed the patties and even flash-froze the patties for transport to McDonald's locations all over the country. The result? Imahara decided that, just as the McDonald's website claims, the chain's beef patties really are 100% beef. McDonald's rejoiced and it was a good day for the food chain's PR department. 

But that's not to say that McDonald's didn't previously have some shady burger practices, prior to 2011. McDonald's admitted to using pink slime, a substance that's technically beef treated with ammonia, but the brand has since put a stop to all that. For now and into the foreseeable future, you can rest easy when you order your Big Mac, knowing that you're eating 100% beef.