The Ridiculous Number Of Ingredients In A McDonald's McRib

Though it's not a regular item on their menu and only appears for limited-time stints, the McDonald's McRib has earned many fans over the years who simply can't get enough of the unique fast food sandwich. However, if you've chowed down on quite a few McRibs over the years, you may want to pause and examine what exactly is in those seemingly simple sandwiches, because it turns out that each McRib contains a laundry list of 70 total ingredients (via Time). That's right — 70.

At first glance, it may seem like the sandwich just has a patty, some barbecue sauce, onions and pickles, and a bun, but each of these individual components is crafted from a ton of different ingredients. In fact, the bun alone packs in 34 different ingredients. Some of the ingredients are things you may recognize, like the pork going into the pork patties. However, the patties also contain azodicarbonamide, which is a flour-bleaching agent that's used to produce yoga mats and shoe soles (via Yahoo). That particular ingredient amongst the 70 is so harmful to health that it's banned in both Europe and Australia as a food additive. Yikes! The one lucky thing is that, since the McRib only pops up on the menu for short stints, there aren't any fans who are chowing down on this sandwich on a weekly basis. However, the staggering amount of ingredients in the small sandwich may make even the most devoted fan reconsider their order.

The inspiration behind this elusive sandwich

Shocking number of ingredients aside, how did an item so dissimilar to McDonalds' standard fare get on the menu? McDonald's is well-known for its burgers and chicken, so a foray into the Southern world of ribs seems like a bit of a strange decision. It turns out, the McRib was actually created because McNuggets were so popular that they were having a tough time getting enough chicken to make the staple menu item, so they decided to create a new product that might entice some diners (via Yahoo). Rene Arend, who was the first executive chef at McDonald's and is the inventor of the Chicken McNugget, was unsurprisingly inspired by Southern BBQ when crafting the innovative sandwich, and he decided to create the unusual shape in order to make the meat patty look like a slab of ribs. However, Arend also had some help in creating the ingredient-packed patties, given that they're far more than just pork and a bit of flavoring. A professor by the name of Richard Mandigo created the "restructured meat protein" for the sandwich, which is essentially a mixture of all kinds of proteins including tripe, heart, and scalded stomach. Not exactly an appetizing combination.

The limited-edition sandwich also had a bit of controversy in 2011, decades after it was first introduced to diners, thanks to an investigation by an animal rights group that was concerned with how the pork supplier for the McRib patties was treating its pigs (via Huffington Post).