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People Are Finding Plastic and Human Teeth in McDonald’s Food in Japan

People Are Finding Plastic and Human Teeth in McDonald’s Food in Japan

McDonald’s Japan has apologized for the double-whammy food safety scandal

A human tooth and a hunk of plastic? I’d rather have fries with my meal, thanks.

It’s been a pretty bad PR week for McDonald’s Japan, which has had to apologize for two health and safety violations this year, including incidents in which a human tooth, hunk of plastic, and a piece of vinyl were found in meals at three separate restaurant locations.

In August, a customer in Osaka found a shard of human tooth in an order of French fries, but McDonald’s was unable to find the source of the contamination, according to CNN Money. In December, a child’s tooth was injured by biting into a piece of plastic from machinery that has unknowingly fallen into the child’s ice cream sundae, according to CNBC. Last weekend, a piece of vinyl was found in a Chicken McNugget, as reported to BBC News.

"We deeply apologize for the trouble we have caused our customers and we are taking quick measures to analyze the cause of the contamination," company spokesman Takashi Hasegasa said during a press conference, according to CNN Money.

Not only that, but McDonald’s Japan is still reeling from the French fry shortage, which has led to rationed French fry sales throughout the country. Last summer, McDonald’s Japan was also one of the many international fast food chains affected by the Chinese meat contamination scandal. All of this has culminated in McDonald’s Japan’s stocks falling precipitously since July by almost 500 points.


Check out this video: Watch Chef Philippe prepare Nutria à la Provençale, from skinning the rodent to final dish!

Nutria, Myocastor coypus

Region of Origin: South America
Habitat: Riparian
Current Range: Present on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica
Life Span: 3-4 years in the wild

Nutria, the infamous ‘river rat’, were introduced to the U.S. west coast as an alternative to mink in the mid-1900’s. Although 1.5 million nutria were trapped yearly for the fur trade in its heyday, nutria fur is no longer in fashion and wild populations have rocketed. A nutria female can potentially produce 3 litters a year, with up to 13 pups per litter. They are insatiable eaters that wreak havoc on riparian plants. Trapping is the best method for catching nutria. Bait live traps with sweet potatoes or carrots and place them along active trails. Despite looking like a giant rat, wild nutria are clean animals. They consume plants only and among the healthiest of meats to consume…

“My friends and great chefs Daniel Bonnot, Suzanne Spicer and John Besh helped convince a majority of consumers that nutria meat is very high in protein, low in fat and actually healthy to eat. Over the years I have proven that creating a consumption market for exotics can be successful in helping to lessen their impact through education and eating. Many of my culinary colleagues believed that a difference could be made when we all work together. With the help of Mr. Noel Kinler and Edmont Mouton of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we cooked nutria stews, nutria soups, roasted nutria, and grilled nutria at many functions,” said Chef Parola.

“All of our efforts of teaching the public about unusual and different food have had a gradual positive impact. Today more people are eating nutria than ever before.”

Ragondin Salad

Recipe by Chef Philippe Parola

1 nutria hind saddle
2 quarts water
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup white wine
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 cup classic mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In stockpot, bring to low boil nutria, water, vinegar and salt for one hour until meat is tender. Remove nutria meat and break meat off bones and let it cool. To prepare the vinaigrette, boil wine for about 3 minutes to remove the alcohol, then allow to cool. Combine well with the other ingredients and store in the refrigerator. Marinate nutria meat in vinaigrette 30 minutes before serving over selected mixed greens. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Soupe au Ragondin

Recipe by Chef Philippe Parola

1 hind saddle nutria meat
2 quarts water
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Roux (mix well)
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Tbsp corn starch

Mire Poix
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped celery stalk
2 cloves garlic

Bouquet Garni
2 whole cloves
1/2 bunch parsley
4 black peppercorns

Bring water, seasonings, mire poix, bouquet garni, and tomato puree to a boil. Add nutria hind saddle and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Remove nutria meat and break meat off bones. Make sure to discard any gristle or silver skin. Strain stock then add roux. Cook slowly for 15 minutes. Slice meat into small pieces, then mix into soup. Slowly cook for another 10 minutes. Add brandy or sherry wine to taste (optional).

A special thank you to author and ecologist Corinne Duncan for her content contributions to the Nutria Introduction.

Ragondin à l’Orange

Recipe by Chef Philippe Parola

Mire Poix
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped onion

2 hind saddle portions of nutria meat
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Bouquet Garni
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch parsley
bay leaves

2 cups white wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Orange zest minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Place oil, mire poix and bouquet garni in a pan set aside. Rub each hind saddle with brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Place hing saddles on top of other ingredients in pan. Place, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and deglaze with white wine, soy sauce and orange juice. Cover pan with plastic wrap, the cover again with aluminum foil. Place back into oven for 45 minutes to one hour until meat is tender. Break meat off bones. Place on plate then garnish with vegetables, sauce from pan drippings, and orange zest. Makes 4 servings.

Heart Healthy “Crock-Pot” Nutria

Recipe by Chef Philippe Parola

2 hind saddle portions of nutria meat.
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 tomato, cut in big wedges
2 potatoes, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
8 Brussel sprouts
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 tsp chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup demi glace (optional)

Layer onion, tomato, potatoes, carrots and Brussel sprouts in crock pot. Season nutria with salt, pepper and garlic to taste and place nutria over vegetables. Add wine and water, set crock pot on low and let cook until meat is tender. Cook for approximately 4 to 6 hours. Garnish with vegetables and demi glace. Makes 4 servings.

Nutria Fettuccini

Mire Poix
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped celery stalk
2 cloves of garlic

2 lbs cooked fettuccine
3 mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic
Fresh spinach to taste
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese to taste
1 red bell pepper, minced

Bouquet Garni
1 while clove
1/2 bunch parsley
4 black peppercorns

1 hind saddle nutria meat
2 quarts cold water
1 cup of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce

Bring water, seasonings, mire poix and bouquet garni to a boil. Add nutria hind saddle and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Remove nutria meat and break meat off bones. Make sure to discard any gristle or silver skin.

With olive oil saute garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add poached nutria meat and saute for 3 minutes until hot. Add fettuccine, saute then serve. Top with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Culotte de Ragondin à la Moutarde

Mire Poix
1/3 cup chopped celergy
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped onion

Bouquet Garni
Fresh thyme
Bay leaves

1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 hind saddle portions of nutria
4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
2 cups water

1 cup of demi glace
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard

To prepare sauce
Into sauce pan, add demi glace, cream and mustard, stir well and reduce on medium. Heat for 5 minutes. Season to taste.

Place oil, mire poiz and bouquet garni in a pan set aside. Rub each hind saddle with 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and rosemary. Place hind saddles on top of other ingredients in pan. Place, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and deglaze with white wine. Add water to pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap, and then cover again with aluminum foil. Place back into oven for 45 minutes to one hour (until meat is tender). Break meat off bones. Place on plate and garnish with vegetables, sauce and/or pan drippings. Makes 4 servings.

Although implants work well, the impact from chewing can wear down the implant. This is not a problem with natural teeth because they have soft tissue at the root that acts as a shock absorber.

The latest advance made by Sharpe and his team brings the prospect of bioengineered teeth with their own root system a step closer. The next step will be finding enough adult sources of human cells to make this new technique a viable alternative to dental implants.

The study appears in the Journal of Dental Research.


Sharpe, P. Journal of Dental Research, published online March 4, 2013.

Paul Sharpe, Dickinson professor of craniofacial biology, King's College London.

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Here's Proof That McDonald's Burgers and Fries Will Survive the Apocalypse

Last week, McDonald's released a video that explaining how the company makes its French fries, which included the somewhat frightening disclosure that the restaurant staple contains nearly 20 other ingredients besides potatoes. And now, even more disturbing news about Mickey D's is coming our way from Iceland, which saw its final McDonald's franchise shut on October 31, 2009.

According to Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid, McDonald's sold its very last hamburger and fries in the country to a man named Hjör­tur Smára­son. But he didn't purchase the fast-food items because he was hungry. He did so to test the rumor that McDonald's meals never decay, and to prove his point, he kept the burger and fries in a plastic bag for three years. True enough, they appear not to have changed in appearance one bit.

Believing the fast food relics to be of great historic value, Smára­son donated the non-perishable Happy Meal to the National Museum of Iceland in 2012. But the museum curators gave the food back to him recently, claiming, ironically, that they "couldn't preserve it any longer," even though there were reports that a few visitors had apparently sampled the fries.

Smára­son in turn donated the meal to friends of his who run the Reyk­javík Bus Hostel, where it is now on display for all the world to see, until the next step in its magnificent odyssey. Six years since its initial purchase, the burger and fries still look exactly the same.

Granted, McDonald's has previously published a lengthy explanation of why the company's food is able to withstand the test of time, but it's tricky to convince skeptics that food meant for human consumption is both resistant to decay and something delicious to eat. At the very least, though, we now know which fast food items to drag into our nuclear fallout shelters in the event of atomic attack.


DNA extraction

We extracted DNA successfully from 13 samples out of 14 samples. DNA extraction yields are shown in Table 2. The total amount of DNA was 206–1,650 ng and normalized yields of DNA were 13–90 ng/mg calculus, which is far more than for DNA extracted from bone and dentine [50]. Warinner et al. (2015) [10] and Mann et al. (2018) [51] showed higher or equal yields of DNA from ancient calculus, so the yields in this research are not unreasonably high. The proportion of the "Oral" category is 73% in Extraction 1 and 97% in Extraction 2, respectively. We also confirmed the presence of oral bacteria such as Streptococcus parasanguinis and Streptococcus salivarius (S2 Table).


We examined whether DNA of the genus Oryza, which includes rice species (Oryza sativa), was detected from ancient calculus in Edo people. This is because rice was a staple food of people living in Edo City and is likely to be detected from such calculus. DNA amplification of Oryza was detected in eight out of 13 calculus samples by PCR, as shown in Fig 2. The sequences of the PCR products were identified as the genus Oryza (E value = 2.0 × 10 −26 ), which included a cultivated rice taxon (O. sativa). There was no significant difference between the sexes (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.59).

M, molecular weight markers 1, wn2016-F01 2, wn2016-F04 3, wn2016-F07 4, wn2016-F08 5, wn2016-F10 6, wn2016-F12 7, wn2016-F23 8, negative control 9, wn2016-F24 10, wn2016-F37 11, wn2016-F39 12, wn2016-F41 13, wn2016-F43 14, wn2016-F44 15, soil from wn2016-F39 16, negative control.

Next, we investigated whether other genera of plants could be detected from ancient calculus samples using DNA metabarcoding analysis (shown in Table 3). For DNA metabarcoding, the P6 loop of the chloroplast trnL intron was amplified using the primers trnL-g and trnL-h [52], as shown in Table 1. After identification with Blast, seven taxa were confirmed at the family level and 10 taxa were confirmed at the genus level from six samples in total, as shown in Table 4. The number of reads identified per sample is shown in S3 Table. Sequences of the family Fagaceae were detected from four individuals, and sequences of the family Poaceae and the genera Lactuca, Celtis, and Oryza were detected from two individuals. Other taxa were detected from one individual. The sequence of Ginkgo biloba was detected from samples of soil, calculus, and blank, and we excluded this sequence from further analyses. The sequence of the family Araceae was also detected from a blank sample.

Animals and fungi

We also investigated whether animal DNA could be detected from ancient calculus samples. We used “12SV5” primer pairs for the amplification of vertebrate DNA and “teleo” primer pairs for the amplification of teleosts [53,54]. The results are shown in Table 3. No animal taxon except human was detected from the calculus samples. Human DNA was detected from one sample. No sequence was detected from blank samples.

With regard to fungi, 3 taxa were confirmed at the order level, 4 taxa at the family level, and 12 at the genus level, from five calculus samples in total (S4 Table). We could not determine the origin of these fungi. Some fungi might be derived from plant pathogens, but it should be noted that some fungi might be derived from soil or mold which would occur during storage in the museum.


On May 4, 1961, McDonald's first filed for a U.S. trademark on the name "McDonald's" with the description "Drive-In Restaurant Services", which continues to be renewed. By September 13, McDonald's, under the guidance of Ray Kroc, filed for a trademark on a new logo—an overlapping, double-arched "M" symbol. But before the double arches, McDonald's used a single arch for the architecture of their buildings. Although the "Golden Arches" logo appeared in various forms, the present version was not used until November 18, 1968, when the company was favored a U.S. trademark.

The present corporation credits its founding to franchised businessman Ray Kroc on April 15, 1955. This was in fact the ninth opened McDonald's restaurant overall, although this location was destroyed and rebuilt in 1984. In 1961, Kroc purchased the McDonald brothers' equity in the company and began the company's worldwide reach. [20] Kroc was recorded as being an aggressive business partner, driving the McDonald brothers out of the industry.

Kroc and the McDonald brothers fought for control of the business, as documented in Kroc's autobiography. The San Bernardino restaurant was eventually torn down in 1971, and the site was sold to the Juan Pollo chain in 1998. This area serves as headquarters for the Juan Pollo chain, and a McDonald's and Route 66 museum. [21] With the expansion of McDonald's into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its prominence has made it a frequent topic of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics, and consumer responsibility.

Facts and figures

McDonald's restaurants are found in 120 countries and territories around the world and serve 68 million customers each day. [23] [24] McDonald's operates 37,855 restaurants worldwide, employing more than 210,000 people as of the end of 2018. [12] [13] [23] There are a total of 2,770 company-owned locations and 35,085 franchised locations, which includes 21,685 locations franchised to conventional franchisees, 7,225 locations licensed to developmental licensees, and 6,175 locations licensed to foreign affiliates. [12] [13]

Focusing on its core brand, McDonald's began divesting itself of other chains it had acquired during the 1990s. The company owned a majority stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill until October 2006, when McDonald's fully divested from Chipotle through a stock exchange. [25] [26] Until December 2003, it owned Donatos Pizza, and it owned a small share of Aroma Café from 1999 to 2001. On August 27, 2007, McDonald's sold Boston Market to Sun Capital Partners. [27]

Notably, McDonald's has increased shareholder dividends for 25 consecutive years, [28] making it one of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats. [29] [30] The company is ranked 131st on the Fortune 500 of the largest United States corporations by revenue. [31] In October 2012, its monthly sales fell for the first time in nine years. [32] In 2014, its quarterly sales fell for the first time in seventeen years, when its sales dropped for the entirety of 1997. [33]

In the United States, it is reported that drive-throughs account for 70 percent of sales. [34] [35] McDonald's closed down 184 restaurants in the United States in 2015, which was 59 more than what they planned to open. [36] [37] This move was the first time McDonald's had a net decrease in the number of locations in the United States since 1970. [37]

The McDonald's on-demand delivery concept, which began in 2017 with a partnership with Uber Eats and added DoorDash in 2019 (with select locations adding Grubhub in 2021), accounts for up to 3% of all business as of 2019. [38]

The $100 billion in sales generated by McDonald's company-owned and franchise restaurants in 2019 accounts for almost 4% of the estimated $2.5 trillion global restaurant industry. [39]


For the fiscal year 2018, McDonald's reported earnings of US$5.9 billion, with an annual revenue of US$21.0 billion, a decrease of 7.9% over the previous fiscal cycle. McDonald's shares traded at over $145 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$134.5 billion in September 2018.

Year Revenue
in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total assets
in mil. USD$
Price per share
in USD$
Locations [40] Employees Ref.
2005 19,117 2,602 29,989 31.88 [41]
2006 20,895 3,544 28,975 36.79 31,046 [41]
2007 22,787 2,395 29,392 50.98 31.377 [41]
2008 23,522 4,313 28,462 58.06 31,967 [42]
2009 22,745 4,551 30,225 57.44 32,478 [43]
2010 24,075 4,946 31,975 70.91 32,737 [44]
2011 27,006 5,503 32,990 83.97 33,510 [45]
2012 27,567 5,465 35,387 92.53 34,480 [46]
2013 28,106 5,586 36,626 97.26 35,429 440,000 [47]
2014 27,441 4,758 34,227 96.38 36,258 420,000 [48]
2015 25,413 4,529 37,939 100.28 36,525 420,000 [49]
2016 24,622 4,687 31,024 120.14 36,899 375,000 [50]
2017 22,820 5,192 33,804 148.76 37,241 235,000 [51]
2018 21,025 5,924 32,811 166.06 37,855 210,000 [52]
2019 21,077 6,025 47,511 38,695 205,000 [53]

Business model

The company owns all the land on which its restaurants are situated, which is valued at an estimated $16 to $18 billion. [ citation needed ] The company earns a significant portion of its revenue from rental payments from franchisees. These rent payments rose 26 percent between 2010 and 2015, accounting for one-fifth of the company's total revenue at the end of the period. [54] In recent times, there have been calls to spin off the company's U.S. holdings into a potential real estate investment trust, but the company announced at its investor conference on November 10, 2015, that this would not happen. CEO Steve Easterbrook discussed that pursuing the REIT option would pose too large a risk to the company's business model. [55]

The United Kingdom and Ireland business model is different from the U.S, in that fewer than 30 percent of restaurants are franchised, with the majority under the ownership of the company. McDonald's trains its franchisees and management at Hamburger University located at its Chicago headquarters. [56] [57] In other countries, McDonald's restaurants are operated by joint ventures of McDonald's Corporation and other, local entities or governments. [58]

According to Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (2001), nearly one in eight workers in the U.S. have at some time been employed by McDonald's. Employees are encouraged by McDonald's Corp. to maintain their health by singing along to their favorite songs in order to relieve stress, attending church services in order to have a lower blood pressure, and taking two vacations annually in order to reduce risk for myocardial infarction. [59] Fast Food Nation states that McDonald's is the largest private operator of playgrounds in the U.S., as well as the single largest purchaser of beef, pork, potatoes, and apples. The selection of meats McDonald's uses varies to some extent based on the culture of the host country. [60]


On June 13, 2016, McDonald's confirmed plans to move its global headquarters to Chicago's West Loop neighborhood in the Near West Side. The 608,000-square-foot structure opened on June 4, 2018 and was built on the former site of Harpo Productions (where The Oprah Winfrey Show and several other Harpo productions taped). [6] [7]

The McDonald's former headquarters complex, McDonald's Plaza, is located in Oak Brook, Illinois. It sits on the site of the former headquarters and stabling area of Paul Butler, the founder of Oak Brook. [61] McDonald's moved into the Oak Brook facility from an office within the Chicago Loop in 1971. [62]

Board of directors

As of February 2021 [update] , the board of directors had the following members: [63]

    , non-executive chairman president and CEO of Inter-Con Security
  • Lloyd H. Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health , president and CEO of McDonald's , operating partner of Friedman Fleischer & Lowe , CEO of , non-executive of Conagra Brands
  • John J. Mulligan, executive vice president and COO of Target Corporation , non-executive chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle , chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments , chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories , chairman emeritus. Also chairman emeritus of Schwarz Supply Source
  • Catherine M. Engelbert, commissioner of the Women's National Basketball Association , executive chairman of McLaren Group

On March 1, 2015, after being chief brand officer of McDonald's and its former head in the UK and northern Europe, Steve Easterbrook became CEO, succeeding Don Thompson, who stepped down on January 28, 2015.

On November 4, 2019, McDonald's announced that Steve Easterbrook would no longer be CEO due to a violation of company guidelines pertaining to relationships with employees. Easterbrook was succeeded as CEO by Chris Kempczinski. [64]

Global operations

McDonald's has become emblematic of globalization, sometimes referred to as the "McDonaldization" of society. The Economist newspaper uses the "Big Mac Index": the comparison of the cost of a Big Mac in various world currencies can be used to informally judge these currencies' purchasing power parity. Switzerland has the most expensive Big Mac in the world as of July 2015, while the country with the least expensive Big Mac is India [65] [66] (albeit for a Maharaja Mac—the next cheapest Big Mac is Hong Kong). [67]

Thomas Friedman said that no country with a McDonald's had gone to war with another [68] [69] however, the "Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention" is incorrect. Exceptions are the 1989 United States invasion of Panama, NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the 2008 South Ossetia war. McDonald's suspended operations in its corporate-owned stores in Crimea after Russia annexed the region in 2014. [70] On August 20, 2014, as tensions between the United States and Russia strained over events in Ukraine, and the resultant U.S. sanctions, the Russian government temporarily shut down four McDonald's outlets in Moscow, citing sanitary concerns. The company has operated in Russia since 1990 and at August 2014 had 438 stores across the country. [71] On August 23, 2014, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich ruled out any government move to ban McDonald's and dismissed the notion that the temporary closures had anything to do with the sanctions. [72]

Some observers have suggested that the company should be given credit for increasing the standard of service in markets that it enters. A group of anthropologists in a study entitled Golden Arches East [73] looked at the impact McDonald's had on East Asia and Hong Kong, in particular. When it opened in Hong Kong in 1975, McDonald's was the first restaurant to consistently offer clean restrooms, driving customers to demand the same of other restaurants and institutions. McDonald's has taken to partnering up with Sinopec, the second largest oil company in the People's Republic of China, as it takes advantage of the country's growing use of personal vehicles by opening numerous drive-thru restaurants. [74] McDonald's has opened a McDonald's restaurant and McCafé on the underground premises of the French fine arts museum, The Louvre. [75]

The company stated it would open vegetarian-only restaurants in India by mid-2013. [76]

On January 9, 2017, 80% of the franchise rights in the mainland China and in Hong Kong were sold for US$2.08 billion to a consortium of CITIC Limited (for 32%) and private equity funds managed by CITIC Capital (for 20%) and Carlyle (for 20%), which CITIC Limited and CITIC Capital would formed a joint venture to own the stake. [77]

McDonald's predominantly sells hamburgers, various types of chicken, chicken sandwiches, French fries, soft drinks, breakfast items, and desserts. In most markets, McDonald's offers salads and vegetarian items, wraps and other localized fare. On a seasonal basis, McDonald's offers the McRib sandwich. Some speculate the seasonality of the McRib adds to its appeal. [78]

Products are offered as either "dine-in" (where the customer opts to eat in the restaurant) or "take-out" (where the customer opts to take the food off the premises). "Dine-in" meals are provided on a plastic tray with a paper insert on the floor of the tray. "Take-out" meals are usually delivered with the contents enclosed in a distinctive McDonald's-branded brown paper bag. In both cases, the individual items are wrapped or boxed as appropriate.

Since Steve Easterbrook became CEO of the company, McDonald's has streamlined the menu which in the United States contained nearly 200 items. The company has looked to introduce healthier options, and removed high-fructose corn syrup from hamburger buns. The company has removed artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, [79] replacing chicken skin, safflower oil and citric acid found in Chicken McNuggets with pea starch, rice starch and powdered lemon juice. [80]

In September 2018, McDonald's USA announced that they no longer use artificial preservatives, flavors and colors entirely from seven classic burgers sold in the U.S., including the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the Big Mac. [81] [82] Nevertheless, the pickles will still be made with an artificial preservative, although customers can choose to opt out of getting pickles with their burgers. [83] [84]

In November 2020, McDonald's announced McPlant, a plant-based burger, along with plans to develop additional meat alternative menu items that extend to chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches. [85] [86] This announcement came after the successful testing of Beyond Meat plant based meat substitutes.

International menu variations

Restaurants in several countries, particularly in Asia, serve soup. This local deviation from the standard menu is a characteristic for which the chain is particularly known, and one which is employed either to abide by regional food taboos (such as the religious prohibition of beef consumption in India) or to make available foods with which the regional market is more familiar (such as the sale of McRice in Indonesia, or Ebi (prawn) Burger in Singapore and Japan).

In Germany and some other Western European countries, McDonald's sells beer. In New Zealand, McDonald's sells meat pies, after local affiliate McDonald's New Zealand partially relaunched the Georgie Pie fast food chain it bought out in 1996. [87] In Greece, the signature hamburger, Big Mac, is changed by adding Tzatziki sauce and packaging in a pita. [88]

In the United States and Canada, after limited trials on a regional basis, McDonald's began offering in 2015 [89] and 2017, [90] respectively, a partial breakfast menu during all hours its restaurants are open.

Types of restaurants

Most standalone McDonald's restaurants offer both counter service and drive-through service, with indoor and sometimes outdoor seating. [91] Drive-Thru, Auto-Mac, Pay and Drive, or "McDrive" as it is known in many countries, often has separate stations for placing, paying for, and picking up orders, though the latter two steps are frequently combined [91] it was first introduced in Sierra Vista, Arizona in 1975, [92] following the lead of other fast-food chains. The first such restaurant in Britain opened at Fallowfield, Manchester in 1986. [93]

In 1994, McDonald's attempted Hearth Express, a prototype specializing in homestyle takeout meals. Among the fare offered were meatloaf, fried chicken, and baked ham. This experiment started with a single location in Darien, Illinois, but closed in only one year. [94]


In some countries, McDrive locations near highways offer no counter service or seating. [95] In contrast, locations in high-density city neighborhoods often omit drive-through service. [96] There are also a few locations, mostly in downtown districts, that offer a "Walk-Thru" service in place of Drive-Thru. [97]


McCafé is a café-style accompaniment to McDonald's restaurants. The concept was created by McDonald's Australia, where it is marketed as Macca's, starting with Melbourne in 1993. [98] As of 2016, most McDonald's in Australia have McCafés located within the existing McDonald's restaurant. In Tasmania, there are McCafés in every restaurant, with the rest of the states quickly following suit. [91] After upgrading to the new McCafé look and feel, some Australian restaurants have noticed up to a 60 percent increase in sales. At the end of 2003, there were over 600 McCafés worldwide.

"Create Your Taste" restaurants

From 2015 to 2016, McDonald's tried a new gourmet burger service and restaurant concept based on other gourmet restaurants such as Shake Shack and Grill'd. It was rolled out for the first time in Australia during the early months of 2015 and expanded to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Arabia and New Zealand, with ongoing trials in the US market. In dedicated "Create Your Taste" (CYT) kiosks, customers could choose all ingredients including type of bun and meat along with optional extras. In late 2015 the Australian CYT service introduced CYT salads.

After a person had ordered, McDonald's advised that wait times were between 10 and 15 minutes. When the food was ready, trained crew ('hosts') brought the food to the customer's table. Instead of McDonald's usual cardboard and plastic packaging, CYT food was presented on wooden boards, fries in wire baskets and salads in china bowls with metal cutlery. A higher price applied.

In November 2016, Create Your Taste was replaced by a "Signature Crafted Recipes" program designed to be more efficient and less expensive. [99]


Some locations are connected to gas stations and convenience stores, [100] while others called McExpress have limited seating or menu or may be located in a shopping mall. Other McDonald's are located in Walmart stores. McStop is a location targeted at truckers and travelers which may have services found at truck stops. [101]

In Sweden, customers who order a happy meal can use the meal's container for a pair of goggles. [102] The company created a game for the goggles known as Slope Stars. [102] McDonald's predicts happy goggles will continue in other countries. [102] In the Netherlands, McDonald's has introduced McTrax that doubles as a recording studio it reacts to touch. [102] They can create their own beats with a synth and tweak sounds with special effects. [102]

Special diet

The first kosher McDonald's was established in 1997 at the Abasto de Buenos Aires mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There are many kosher branches in Israel. [103] [104]


McDonald's playgrounds are called McDonald's PlayPlace. Some McDonald's in suburban areas and certain cities feature large indoor or outdoor playgrounds. The first PlayPlace with the familiar crawl-tube design with ball pits and slides was introduced in 1987 in the US, with many more being constructed soon after. [ citation needed ]

McDonald's Next

McDonald's Next use open-concept design and offer "Create Your Taste" digital ordering. The concept store also offers free mobile device charging and table service after 6:00 pm. The first store opened in Hong Kong in December 2015. [105]

2006 redesign

In 2006, McDonald's introduced its "Forever Young" brand by redesigning all of its restaurants, the first major redesign since the 1970s. [106] [107]

The goal of the redesign is to be more like a coffee shop, similar to Starbucks. The design includes wooden tables, faux-leather chairs, and muted colors the red was muted to terracotta, the yellow was shifted to golden for a more "sunny" look, and olive and sage green were also added.

To create a warmer look, the restaurants have less plastic and more brick and wood, with modern hanging lights to produce a softer glow. Many restaurants feature free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Other upgrades include double drive-thrus, flat roofs instead of the angled red roofs, and replacing fiber glass with wood. Instead of the familiar golden arches, the restaurants feature "semi-swooshes" (half of a golden arch), similar to the Nike swoosh. [108]

Smoking ban

McDonald's began banning smoking in 1994 when it restricted customers from smoking within its 1,400 wholly owned restaurants. [109]

COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald's closed most seating and all play areas in its United States restaurants. [110] It transitioned to drive-thru and curbside orders at locations and online food ordering delivery services. [111]

Restaurants in a number of countries including France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland were temporarily closed. [112] Some of these closed restaurants have now re-opened for drive-thru/delivery service only with menu limitations and spend caps. [113] In other countries including Australia, Germany and Canada restaurants did not close but were limited to providing drive-thru, takeaway or delivery only. [112]

McDonald's Australia was forced to close 11 Melbourne restaurants temporarily after staff came into contact with a delivery driver who tested positive for COVID-19. [114]

The re-opening of McDonald's restaurants for drive-thru in the United Kingdom generated significant queues of traffic throughout the country. [115] [116] [117] Avon and Somerset Police warned long lines of traffic could "cause accidents" [118] and Warwickshire Police criticized the queues as "dangerous". [119] In July 2020, for the years's second quarter, McDonald's reported earnings of 66 cents per share. Compared to the same period of last year, it represented a fall of 68%. [120]


Since the late 1990s, McDonald's has attempted to replace employees with electronic kiosks which would perform actions such as taking orders and accepting money. In 1999, McDonald's first tested "E-Clerks" in suburban Chicago, Illinois, and Wyoming, Michigan, with the devices being able to "save money on live staffers" and attracting larger purchase amounts than average employees. [121]

In 2013, the University of Oxford estimated that in the succeeding decades, there was a 92% probability of food preparation and serving to become automated in fast food establishments. [122] By 2016, McDonald's "Create Your Taste" electronic kiosks were seen in some restaurants internationally where customers could custom order meals. As employees pushed for higher wages in the late-2010s, some believed that fast food companies such as McDonald's would use the devices to cut costs for employing individuals. [123]

In September 2019, McDonald's purchased an AI-based start-up Apprente for replacing human servers with voice-based technology in its US drive-throughs. [124]


On August 5, 2013, The Guardian revealed that 90 percent of McDonald's UK workforce are on zero-hour contracts, making it possibly the largest such private sector employer in the country. [125] In April 2017, due to employee strikes, they gave all employees the option of fixed contracts instead. [126] A study released by Fast Food Forward conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research showed that approximately 84 percent of all fast food employees working in New York City in April 2013 had been paid less than their legal wages by their employers. [127]

From 2007 to 2011, fast food workers in the U.S. drew an average of $7 billion of public assistance annually resulting from receiving low wages. [128] The McResource website advised employees to break their food into smaller pieces to feel fuller, seek refunds for unopened holiday purchases, sell possessions online for quick cash, and to "quit complaining" as "stress hormone levels rise by 15 percent after ten minutes of complaining." [129] In December 2013, McDonald's shut down the McResource website amidst negative publicity and criticism. McDonald's plans to continue an internal telephone help line through which its employees can obtain advice on work and life problems. [130]

Liberal think tank the Roosevelt Institute accuses some McDonald's restaurants of actually paying less than the minimum wage to entry positions due to "rampant" wage theft. [131] In South Korea, McDonald's pays part-time employees $5.50 an hour and is accused of paying less with arbitrary schedules adjustments and pay delays. [132] In late 2015, Anonymous-aggregated data collected by Glassdoor suggests that McDonald's in the United States pays entry-level employees between $7.25 an hour and $11 an hour, with an average of $8.69 an hour. Shift managers get paid an average of $10.34 an hour. Assistant managers get paid an average of $11.57 an hour. [133] McDonald's CEO, Steve Easterbrook, earns an annual salary of $1,100,000. [134] His total compensation for 2017 was $21,761,052. [135]


McDonald's workers have on occasions decided to strike over pay, with most of the employees on strike seeking to be paid $15.00. [136] When interviewed about the strikes occurring, former McDonald's CEO Ed Rensi stated: "It's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who's inefficient making $15 an hour bagging french fries" with Rensi explaining that increasing employee wages could possibly take away from entry-level jobs. [137] However, according to Easterbrook, increasing wages and benefits for workers saw a 6% increase in customer satisfaction when comparing 2015's first quarter data to the first quarter of 2016, with greater returns seen as a result. [137]

In September 2017, two British McDonald's stores agreed to a strike over zero-hours contracts for staff. Picket lines were formed around the two stores in Crayford and Cambridge. The strike was supported by the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn. [138] [139]


Workers at the McDonald's franchise at Saint-Barthélémy, Marseille, occupied the restaurant, in protest against its planned closure. Employing 77 people, the restaurant is the second-biggest private sector employer in Saint-Barthélémy, which has an unemployment rate of 30 percent. [140] Lawyers for Kamel Guemari, a shop steward at the franchise, claimed an attempt was made to kill him when a car drove at him in the restaurant car park. [141] [142]

Working conditions

In March 2015, McDonald's workers in 19 U.S. cities filed 28 health and safety complaints with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration which allege that low staffing, lack of protective gear, poor training and pressure to work fast has resulted in injuries. The complaints allege that, because of a lack of first aid supplies, workers were told by management to treat burn injuries with condiments such as mayonnaise and mustard. [143] The Fight for $15 labor organization aided the workers in filing the complaints. [144]

In 2015, McDonald's pledged to stop using eggs from battery cage facilities by 2025. Since McDonald's purchases over 2 billion eggs per year or 4 percent of eggs produced in the United States, the switch is expected to have a major impact on the egg industry and is part of a general trend toward cage-free eggs driven by consumer concern over the harsh living conditions of hens. [145] [146] The aviary systems from which the new eggs will be sourced are troubled by much higher mortality rates, as well as introducing environmental and worker safety problems. [147] The high hen mortality rate, which is more than double that of battery cage systems, will require new research to mitigate. The facilities have higher ammonia levels due to faeces being kicked up into the air. Producers raised concerns about the production cost, which is expected to increase by 36 percent. [148]

McDonald's continues to source pork from facilities that use gestation crates, and in 2012 pledged to phase them out. [149]

McDonald's has for decades maintained an extensive advertising campaign. In addition to the usual media (television, radio, and newspaper), the company makes significant use of billboards and signage, and also sponsors sporting events ranging from Little League to the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games. [150] Television has played a central role in the company's advertising strategy. [151] To date, McDonald's has used 23 different slogans in United States advertising, as well as a few other slogans for select countries and regions. [152]

Children's advertising

Celebrity endorsements

In 1992, basketball player Michael Jordan became the first celebrity to have a McDonald's value meal named after him. The "McJordan", a Quarter Pounder with pickles, raw onion slices, bacon and barbecue sauce, was available at Chicago franchises. [153] In September 2020, McDonald's partnered with rapper Travis Scott to release the "Travis Scott Meal", a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard medium fries with barbecue sauce and a Sprite, nationwide. Scott designed new uniforms for McDonald's employees and released Cactus Jack merchandise using vintage visuals from the fast food chain's history. [154] The company followed up with the "J Balvin Meal", a Big Mac with no pickles fries with ketchup and a Oreo McFlurry, in a partnership with reggaeton singer J Balvin. [155] LeBron James has been a spokesman for McDonald's from 2003 to 2017 [156] while co-endorsing Coca Cola-Sprite since early in his career. [157] In March 2014, a special “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James” flavor of Sprite featuring the flavors of lemon-lime, orange, and cherry, debuted just before the NBA playoffs. [158] James’ endorsement of Sprite has also included the seasonal “cranberry” and “winter-spiced cranberry” editions of the beverage. James’ deal with Coca Cola and Sprite ended in 2020, with a new partnership with Pepsi and Mountain Dew launching in 2021. [159] In 2021, McDonald's partnered with K-Pop boy group BTS to release the "BTS Meal" in 50 countries around the world, starting on May 26 in select countries. The meal consists of a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries, medium Coke, and for the first time in the United States, 2 spicy dipping sauces: Sweet Chili and Cajun. [160]

Space exploration

McDonald's and NASA explored an advertising agreement for a planned mission to the asteroid 449 Hamburga however, the spacecraft was eventually cancelled. [161]

Sponsorship in NASCAR

McDonald's entered the NASCAR Cup Series in 1977, sponsoring Richard Childress for one race. Between the years 1977 and 1986, McDonald's would only sponsor a handful of races in a season. In 1993, McDonald's became the full-time sponsor for the No. 27 Junior Johnson & Associates Ford, driven by Hut Stricklin. [162] In 1994, Stricklin was replaced in the car by Jimmy Spencer, who would go on to win twice that season. The following season McDonald's would move over to the No. 94 Bill Elliott Racing Ford, driven by team-owner Bill Elliott. [163] McDonald's stayed with Elliott until the 2001 season when they moved again, this time to the No. 96 PPI Motorsports Ford, driven by rookie Andy Houston. However, when the team failed to field a car for the entire season, McDonald's became absent from NASCAR until 2004, when it joined Evernham Motorsports as a part-time sponsor for drivers Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, A. J. Allmendinger, and Reed Sorenson until 2010. [162]

During the 2010 season, McDonald's would enter its longest partnership with a team at Chip Ganassi Racing, sponsoring the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Jamie McMurray until his final race in the 2019 Daytona 500. [164] [165] McDonald's moved to CGR's No. 42 of Kyle Larson, whom the company sponsored until his suspension in 2020, [166] and also had a one-race partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 Chevrolet driven by Bubba Wallace in 2019 and 2020. [167] [168] McDonald's continued working with the No. 42 under new driver Ross Chastain in 2021 and also joined Wallace's new team 23XI Racing as a "founding partner". [169] [170]

Sports awards and honors

McDonald's is the title sponsor of the McDonald's All-American Game, all-star basketball games played each year for top ranked amateur American and Canadian boys' and girls' high school basketball graduates.

McHappy Day

McHappy Day is an annual event at McDonald's, during which a percentage of the day's sales go to charity. It is the signature fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House Charities. [171]

In 2007, it was celebrated in 17 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and Uruguay.

According to the Australian McHappy Day website, McHappy Day raised $20.4 million in 2009. The goal for 2010 was $20.8 million. [172]

McDonald's Monopoly donation

In 1995, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital received an anonymous letter postmarked in Dallas, Texas, containing a $1 million winning McDonald's Monopoly game piece. McDonald's officials came to the hospital, accompanied by a representative from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, who examined the card under a jeweler's eyepiece, handled it with plastic gloves, and verified it as a winner. [173] Although game rules prohibited the transfer of prizes, McDonald's waived the rule and made the annual $50,000 annuity payments for the full 20-year period through 2014, even after learning that the piece was sent by an individual involved in an embezzlement scheme intended to defraud McDonald's.


McRefugees are poor people in Hong Kong, Japan, and China who use McDonald's 24-hour restaurants as a temporary hostel. [174]

In the late 1980s, Phil Sokolof, a millionaire businessman who had suffered a heart attack at the age of 43, took out full-page newspaper ads in New York, Chicago, and other large cities accusing McDonald's menu of being a threat to American health, and asking them to stop using beef tallow to cook their french fries. [175]

In 1990, activists from a small group known as London Greenpeace (no connection to the international group Greenpeace) distributed leaflets entitled What's wrong with McDonald's?, criticizing its environmental, health, and labor record. The corporation wrote to the group demanding they desist and apologize, and, when two of the activists refused to back down, sued them for libel leading to the "McLibel case", one of the longest cases in English civil law. A documentary film of the McLibel Trial has been shown in several countries. [176]

In 2001, Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation included criticism of the business practices of McDonald's. Among the critiques were allegations that McDonald's (along with other companies within the fast food industry) uses its political influence to increase its profits at the expense of people's health and the social conditions of its workers. The book also brought into question McDonald's advertisement techniques in which it targets children. While the book did mention other fast-food chains, it focused primarily on McDonald's. [ citation needed ]

In 2002, vegetarian groups, largely Hindu and Buddhist, successfully sued McDonald's for misrepresenting its French fries as vegetarian, when they contained beef broth. [177] In the same year, Spanish band Ska-P released a song titled "McDollar" in their album ¡¡Que Corra La Voz‼ criticizing McDonald's.

Though the company objected, the term "McJob" was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2003. [178] The term was defined as "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement". [179] Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary also contains the word "McMansion," a critical, pejorative term used to describe an overly large, ostentatious, sometimes poorly designed or constructed house, often found in a suburb or in new developments on traditionally rural land. McMansions are often built in multiples that are difficult to distinguish from one another, like assembly-line factory parts or fast-food hamburgers. [180] [181]

Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary film Super Size Me claimed that McDonald's food was contributing to the increase of obesity in society and that the company was failing to provide nutritional information about its food for its customers. Six weeks after the film premiered, McDonald's announced that it was eliminating the super size option, and was creating the adult Happy Meal. There was a documentary called Fat Head, which pointed out inconsistencies in Super Size Me. [ citation needed ]

In 2006, an unsanctioned McDonald's Video Game by Italian group Molleindustria was released online. It is parody of the business practices of the corporate giant, taking the guise of a tycoon style business simulation game. In the game, the player plays the role of a McDonald's CEO, choosing whether or not to use controversial practices like genetically altered cow feed, plowing over rainforests, and corrupting public officials. McDonald's issued a statement distancing itself from the game. [182]

In January 2014, McDonald's was accused of having used a series of tax maneuvers to avoid taxes in France. French authorities have billed McDonald's France in 2016 for 300 million euros for unpaid taxes on profit. [183]

In April 2020, McDonald's apologized after footage showing a notice that was being displayed inside one of its restaurants in China saying that "black people are not allowed to enter." [184]

In October 2020, the Azerbaijan branch of McDonald's was criticized for Facebook and Instagram posts endorsing Azerbaijan's military actions against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. [185] While McDonald's restaurants exist in Armenia, as of January 2020, none of them were franchises of the global chain. [186] [187]

Company responses to criticism

In response to public pressure, McDonald's has sought to include more healthy choices in its menu and has introduced a new slogan to its recruitment posters: "Not bad for a McJob". [188] The word McJob, first attested in the mid-1980s [178] and later popularized by Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, has become a buzzword for low-paid, unskilled work with few prospects or benefits and little security. McDonald's disputes this definition of McJob. In 2007, the company launched an advertising campaign with the slogan "Would you like a career with that?" on Irish television, asserting that its jobs have good prospects.

In an effort to respond to growing consumer awareness of food provenance, the fast-food chain changed its supplier of both coffee beans and milk. UK chief executive Steve Easterbrook said: "British consumers are increasingly interested in the quality, sourcing, and ethics of the food and drink they buy". [189] In a bid to tap into the ethical consumer market, [190] McDonald's switched to using coffee beans taken from stocks that are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, a conservation group. Additionally, in response to pressure, McDonald's UK started using organic milk supplies for its bottled milk and hot drinks, although it still uses conventional milk in its milkshakes, and in all of its dairy products in the United States. [191] According to a report published by Farmers Weekly in 2007, the quantity of milk used by McDonald's could have accounted for as much as 5 percent of the UK's organic milk output. [192]

McDonald's announced in May 2008 that, in the United States and Canada, it has switched to using cooking oil that contains no trans fats for its french fries, and canola-based oil with corn and soy oils, for its baked items, pies and cookies, by end of 2018. [193]

With regard to acquiring chickens from suppliers who use CAK/CAS methods of slaughter, McDonald's says that it needs to see more research "to help determine whether any CAS system in current use is optimal from an animal welfare perspective." [194]

Environmental record

Since McDonald's began receiving criticism for its environmental practices in the 1970s, it has significantly reduced its use of materials. [195] For instance, an "average meal" in the 1970s—a Big Mac, fries, and a drink—required 46 grams (1.6 oz) of packaging today, it requires 25 grams (0.88 oz), a 46 percent reduction. [196] In addition, McDonald's eliminated the need for intermediate containers for cola by using a delivery system that pumps syrup directly from the delivery truck into storage containers, saving two million pounds (910 tonnes) of packaging annually. [197] Weight reductions in packaging and products, as well as increased usage of bulk packaging, ultimately decreased packaging by twenty-four million pounds (11,000 tonnes) annually. [198] McDonald's efforts to reduce solid waste by using less packaging and by promoting the use of recycled materials were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [199]

In 1990, McDonald's worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to stop using "clam shell"-shaped styrofoam food containers to store its food products. [200]

In April 2008, McDonald's announced that 11 of its restaurants in Sheffield, England, were engaged in a biomass trial program that cut its waste and carbon footprint by half in the area. In this trial, waste from the restaurants was collected by Veolia Environmental Services and used to produce energy at a power plant. McDonald's announced plans to expand this project, although the lack of biomass power plants in the United States would prevent adoption of this plan as a national standard there anytime soon. [201] In addition, in Europe, McDonald's has been recycling vegetable grease by converting it to fuel for its diesel trucks. [202]

In an effort to reduce energy usage by 25 percent in its restaurants, McDonald's opened a prototype restaurant in Chicago in 2009, intending to use the model in its other restaurants throughout the world. Building on past efforts, specifically a restaurant it opened in Sweden in 2000 that was the first to incorporate green ideas, McDonald's designed the Chicago site to save energy by managing storm water, using skylights for more natural lighting, and installing partitions and tabletops made from recycled goods, among other measures. [203]

In 2012, McDonald's announced they would trial replacing styrofoam coffee cups with an alternative material. [204]

In 2018, McDonalds switched from plastic straws to paper ones in Ireland and the United Kingdom [205] and Australia [206] in an effort to reduce plastic pollution. Followed by the Netherlands in 2020, [207] and Germany in 2021. [208] However, a subsequent investigation by The Sun found that the new paper straws were not recyclable. [205] Disabled activists criticized that the shift away from plastic straws is ableist, as certain disabilities result in the loss of gross or fine motor control, thus would prevent a customer from safely lifting, balancing or drinking from a cup. [209]

In January 2021, McDonald's Arcos Dorados, the largest independent McDonald's franchise in the world which operates stores in Latin America and the Caribbean, introduced food trays manufactured by UBQ Materials that use a mix of food waste by-products to reduce the use of virgin plastic. [210]

McDonald's uses a corn-based bioplastic to produce containers for some products. The environmental benefits of this technology are controversial, with critics noting that biodegradation is slow and produces greenhouse gases, and that contamination of traditional plastic waste streams with bioplastics can complicate recycling efforts. [211]

Studies of litter have found that McDonald's is one of the most littered brands worldwide. In 2012, a Keep Australia Beautiful study found that McDonald's was the most littered brand in Queensland. [212] [213] In 2009, Keep Britain Tidy likewise found McDonald's to be the leading producer of fast-food litter on British streets, accounting for 29% of the total. [214] An early protest against this practice was "Operation Send-It-Back", launched by London Greenpeace in 1994 in response to the company's targeting of activists in the McLibel Trial. [215] Participants in Operation Send-It-Back returned 30 sacks of McDonald's litter to the company. [215] In the 2010s, similar individual protests took place in New Zealand [216] and England. [217]

Legal cases

McDonald's has been involved in a number of lawsuits and other legal cases, most of which involved trademark disputes. The company has threatened many food businesses with legal action unless it drops the Mc or Mac from trading names.

European Union

In April 2017, Irish fast-food chain Supermac's submitted a request to the European Union Property Office to cancel McDonald's owned trademarks within the European Union, claiming that McDonald's engaged in "trademark bullying registering brand names. which are simply stored away in a war chest to use against future competitors", after the trademarks had prevented Supermac's from expanding out of Ireland. The EUIPO ruled in Supermac's favour, finding that McDonald's "has not proven genuine use" of many trademarks, cancelling McDonald's owned trademarks such as "Big Mac" and certain "Mc"-related trademarks within the European Union. [218] [219] [220]

Burger King responded by trolling McDonald's by giving their sandwiches names like "Like a Big Mac But Juicier", "Like a Big Mac, But Actually Big" and "Big Mac-ish But Flame-Grilled of Course". [221]


On September 8, 2009, McDonald's Malaysian operations lost a lawsuit to prevent another restaurant calling itself McCurry. McDonald's lost in an appeal to Malaysia's highest court, the Federal Court. [222]

On December 29, 2016, McDonald's Malaysia issued a statement that said only certified halal cakes are allowed inside its restaurants nationwide. [223]


In April 2007, in Perth, Western Australia, McDonald's pleaded guilty to five charges relating to the employment of children under 15 in one of its outlets and was fined A$8,000. [224]

United Kingdom

The longest-running legal action of all time in the UK was the McLibel case against two defendants who criticized a number of aspects of the company. The trial lasted 10 years and called 130 witnesses. The European Court of Human Rights deemed that the unequal resources of the litigants breached the defendants rights to freedom of speech and biased the trial. The result was widely seen as a "PR disaster" for McDonald's. [225]

A Little Imperfection for That Smile?

AMERICANS are expected to spend nearly $110 billion on dental care in 2012, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, with much of it to straighten, whiten and repair less-than-perfect teeth.

Meanwhile, in Japan, a new fashion has women paying to have their straight teeth disarranged.

A result of tooth-crowding commonly derided in the United States as “snaggleteeth” or “fangs,” the look is called “yaeba” in Japanese or “double tooth.” Japanese men are said to find this attractive: blogs are devoted to yaeba, celebrities display it proudly, and now some women are paying dentists to create it artificially by affixing plastic fronts to their real teeth.

“It’s not like here, where perfect, straight, picket-fence teeth are considered beautiful,” said Michelle Phan, a Vietnamese-American based in Los Angeles, who wrote about the phenomenon on her popular beauty blog. “In Japan, in fact, crooked teeth are actually endearing, and it shows that a girl is not perfect. And, in a way, men find that more approachable than someone who is too overly perfect.”

The imperfect-teeth phenomenon has its Western equivalents. In an episode of the reality show “America’s Top Model” last year, the host and model Tyra Banks encouraged one contestant to have the gap between her two front teeth widened.


“Make it as big as you want it,” the contestant replied excitedly.

As the writers at the celebrity and fashion blog Jezebel noted at the time, Ms. Banks had instructed a model in a previous season to minimize her gap — presumably when gapped teeth weren’t so in fashion.

The gap craze has come and gone several times over the years (Lauren Hutton popularized it in the 1970s), but has seen a comeback recently with popular models like Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger.

Dr. Emilie Zaslow, an assistant professor of communication studies at Pace University in Manhattan, who has studied gender identity and beauty in consumer culture, noted that such ever-shifting tastes often have one thing in common: a fixation with youth.

“The gapped tooth is sort of preorthodontic or early development, and the naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that’s too small,” she said. “It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”

Falsely imperfect teeth aren’t easy for everyone to swallow, perhaps because for most people, imperfections come naturally but don’t score multimillion-dollar contracts. (According to a Forbes report in May, Ms. Stone had earned $4.5 million in the preceding 12 months.) Dr. Zaslow suggested that contrived imperfections like yaeba teeth have nothing to do with imperfection. “It’s not based in self-acceptance,” she said.

In other words, it’s as phony as Botox. “It’s still women changing their appearance primarily for men,” Dr. Zaslow said.

50 Times People Found The Most Unexpected Things

Akvile Petraityte and
Liucija Adomaite

We&rsquove all dreamed of finding a lost treasure box when we were kids. As adults, finding a lost note is both a blessing and a curse, &lsquocause you probably will have to lose something sometime soon to even out the karma, they say.

But this time we&rsquore talking lost and found stuff, objects, and places with a much bigger &ldquowowzer&rdquo factor. Imagine yourself coming across an alligator skull while hiking, or spotting a tiny perfect seashell in your salt. Some discoveries are cute and fun, while others are plain scary and mind-bending.

So fasten your seatbelts since we're off to a lost and found compilation from Bored Panda that will surely ignite your inner detective. More bizarre objects that have been lost, thrown away, washed ashore, or long forgotten in the woods can be found in our previous posts here, here, and here.

Head and Neck Cancers

Cancers that are known collectively as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). These squamous cell cancers are often referred to as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Head and neck cancers can also begin in the salivary glands, but salivary gland cancers are relatively uncommon. Salivary glands contain many different types of cells that can become cancerous, so there are many different types of salivary gland cancer.

Cancers of the head and neck are further categorized by the area of the head or neck in which they begin. These areas are described below and labeled in the image of head and neck cancer regions.

Oral cavity: Includes the lips, the front two-thirds of the tongue, the gums, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the floor (bottom) of the mouth under the tongue, the hard palate (bony top of the mouth), and the small area of the gum behind the wisdom teeth.

Pharynx: The pharynx (throat) is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and leads to the esophagus. It has three parts: the nasopharynx (the upper part of the pharynx, behind the nose) the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx, including the soft palate [the back of the mouth], the base of the tongue, and the tonsils) the hypopharynx (the lower part of the pharynx).

Larynx: The larynx, also called the voicebox, is a short passageway formed by cartilage just below the pharynx in the neck. The larynx contains the vocal cords. It also has a small piece of tissue, called the epiglottis, which moves to cover the larynx to prevent food from entering the air passages.

Paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity: The paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces in the bones of the head surrounding the nose. The nasal cavity is the hollow space inside the nose.

Salivary glands: The major salivary glands are in the floor of the mouth and near the jawbone. The salivary glands produce saliva.


Head and neck cancer regions. Illustrates location of paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, oral cavity, tongue, salivary glands, larynx, and pharynx (including the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and hypopharynx).

Cancers of the brain, the eye, the esophagus, and the thyroid gland, as well as those of the scalp, skin, muscles, and bones of the head and neck, are not usually classified as head and neck cancers.

Sometimes, cancerous squamous cells can be found in the lymph nodes of the upper neck when there is no evidence of cancer in other parts of the head and neck (1). When this happens, the cancer is called metastatic squamous neck cancer with unknown (occult) primary. More information about this cancer type can be found in Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary (PDQ®).

What causes cancers of the head and neck?

Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, sometimes called “chewing tobacco” or “snuff”) are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers, especially cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx (2–5). At least 75% of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use (6). People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone (6–8). Tobacco and alcohol use are not risk factors for salivary gland cancers.

Infection with cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV), especially HPV type 16, is a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers that involve the tonsils or the base of the tongue (9–11). In the United States, the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers caused by HPV infection is increasing, while the incidence of oropharyngeal cancers related to other causes is falling (9). More information is available at the HPV and Cancer page.

Other risk factors for cancers of the head and neck include the following:

Paan (betel quid). Immigrants from Southeast Asia who use paan (betel quid) in the mouth should be aware that this habit has been strongly associated with an increased risk of oral cancer (12, 13).

Preserved or salted foods. Consumption of certain preserved or salted foods during childhood is a risk factor for nasopharyngeal cancer (14, 15).

Oral health. Poor oral hygiene and missing teeth may be weak risk factors for cancers of the oral cavity (16, 17). Use of mouthwash that has a high alcohol content is a possible, but not proven, risk factor for cancers of the oral cavity (16, 17).

Occupational exposure. Occupational exposure to wood dust is a risk factor for nasopharyngeal cancer (14, 15). Certain industrial exposures, including exposures to asbestos and synthetic fibers, have been associated with cancer of the larynx, but the increase in risk remains controversial (18). People working in certain jobs in the construction, metal, textile, ceramic, logging, and food industries may have an increased risk of cancer of the larynx (19). Industrial exposure to wood or nickel dust or formaldehyde is a risk factor for cancers of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity (20–22).

Radiation exposure. Radiation to the head and neck, for noncancerous conditions or cancer, is a risk factor for cancer of the salivary glands (16, 23, 24).

Epstein-Barr virus infection. Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus is a risk factor for nasopharyngeal cancer (25) and cancer of the salivary glands (26, 27).

Ancestry. Asian ancestry, particularly Chinese ancestry, is a risk factor for nasopharyngeal cancer (14, 15).

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancers?

The symptoms of head and neck cancers may include a lump or a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty in swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious conditions. It is important to check with a doctor or dentist about any of these symptoms. Symptoms that may affect specific areas of the head and neck include the following:

Oral cavity. A white or red patch on the gums, the tongue, or the lining of the mouth a swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable and unusual bleeding or pain in the mouth.

Pharynx. Trouble breathing or speaking pain when swallowing pain in the neck or the throat that does not go away frequent headaches, pain, or ringing in the ears or trouble hearing.

Larynx. Pain when swallowing or ear pain.

Paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity. Sinuses that are blocked and do not clear chronic sinus infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics bleeding through the nose frequent headaches, swelling or other trouble with the eyes pain in the upper teeth or problems with dentures.

Salivary glands. Swelling under the chin or around the jawbone, numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face, or pain in the face, the chin, or the neck that does not go away.

How common are head and neck cancers?

Head and neck cancers account for approximately 4% of all cancers in the United States (28). These cancers are more than twice as common among men as they are among women (29). Head and neck cancers are also diagnosed more often among people over age 50 than they are among younger people.

Researchers estimated that more than 65,000 men and women in this country would be diagnosed with head and neck cancers in 2017 (29).

How can I reduce my risk of developing head and neck cancers?

People who are at risk of head and neck cancers―particularly those who use tobacco―should talk with their doctor about ways that they may be able to reduce their risk. They should also discuss with their doctor how often to have checkups. In addition, ongoing clinical trials are testing the effectiveness of various medications in preventing head and neck cancers in people who have a high risk of developing these diseases. Descriptions of these clinical trials can be accessed by searching NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials. NCI’s list of cancer clinical trials includes all NCI-supported clinical trials that are taking place across the United States and Canada, including the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. For information about other ways to search the list, see Help Finding NCI-Supported Clinical Trials.

Information specialists from NCI’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) can also help people find clinical trials for the prevention of head and neck cancers. The CIS can be reached at 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237) or by chatting with a cancer information specialist online through LiveHelp.

Avoiding oral HPV infection may reduce the risk of HPV-associated head and neck cancers. However, it is not yet known whether the Food and Drug Administration-approved HPV vaccines Gardasil®, Gardasil 9®, and Cervarix® prevent HPV infection of the oral cavity, and none of these vaccines has yet been approved for the prevention of oropharyngeal cancer. More information about these vaccines is in the NCI fact sheet Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines.

How are head and neck cancers diagnosed?

To find the cause of the signs or symptoms of a problem in the head and neck area, a doctor evaluates a person’s medical history, performs a physical examination, and orders diagnostic tests. The exams and tests may vary depending on the symptoms. Examination of a sample of tissue under a microscope is always necessary to confirm a diagnosis of cancer.

If the diagnosis is cancer, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of disease. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Staging may involve an examination under anesthesia (in an operating room), x-rays and other imaging procedures, and laboratory tests. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.

How are head and neck cancers treated?

The treatment plan for an individual patient depends on a number of factors, including the exact location of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, and the person’s age and general health. Treatment for head and neck cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments.

People who are diagnosed with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer may be treated differently than people with oropharyngeal cancers that are HPV-negative. Recent research has shown that patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal tumors have a better prognosis and may do just as well on less intense treatment. An ongoing clinical trial is investigating this question.

More information about treatment for specific types of head and neck cancers is in the following PDQ® cancer treatment summaries, which are available in patient and health professional versions, as well as in Spanish (the links below go to the patient versions in English):

The patient and the doctor should consider treatment options carefully. They should discuss each type of treatment and how it might change the way the patient looks, talks, eats, or breathes.

What are the side effects of treatment?

Surgery for head and neck cancers often changes the patient’s ability to chew, swallow, or talk. The patient may look different after surgery, and the face and neck may be swollen. The swelling usually goes away within a few weeks. However, if lymph nodes are removed, the flow of lymph in the area where they were removed may be slower and lymph could collect in the tissues, causing additional swelling this swelling may last for a long time.

After a laryngectomy (surgery to remove the larynx) or other surgery in the neck, parts of the neck and throat may feel numb because nerves have been cut. If lymph nodes in the neck were removed, the shoulder and neck may become weak and stiff.

Patients who receive radiation to the head and neck may experience redness, irritation, and sores in the mouth a dry mouth or thickened saliva difficulty in swallowing changes in taste or nausea. Other problems that may occur during treatment are loss of taste, which may decrease appetite and affect nutrition, and earaches (caused by the hardening of ear wax). Patients may also notice some swelling or drooping of the skin under the chin and changes in the texture of the skin. The jaw may feel stiff, and patients may not be able to open their mouth as wide as before treatment.

Patients should report any side effects to their doctor or nurse, and discuss how to deal with them.

Where can I find more information about clinical trials for patients with head and neck cancers?

Alternatively, call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) for information about clinical trials for individuals with head and neck cancer, or chat with a cancer information specialist online through LiveHelp.

People interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. Information about clinical trials is available in the NCI publication Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. This resource describes how research studies are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.

What rehabilitation or support options are available for patients with head and neck cancers?

The goal of treatment for head and neck cancers is to control the disease, but doctors are also concerned about preserving the function of the affected areas as much as they can and helping the patient return to normal activities as soon as possible after treatment. Rehabilitation is a very important part of this process. The goals of rehabilitation depend on the extent of the disease and the treatment that a patient has received.

Depending on the location of the cancer and the type of treatment, rehabilitation may include physical therapy, dietary counseling, speech therapy, and/or learning how to care for a stoma. A stoma is an opening into the windpipe through which a patient breathes after a laryngectomy, which is surgery to remove the larynx. The National Library of Medicine has more information about laryngectomy in MedlinePlus.

Sometimes, especially with cancer of the oral cavity, a patient may need reconstructive and plastic surgery to rebuild bones or tissues. However, reconstructive surgery may not always be possible because of damage to the remaining tissue from the original surgery or from radiation therapy. If reconstructive surgery is not possible, a prosthodontist may be able to make a prosthesis (an artificial dental and/or facial part) to restore satisfactory swallowing, speech, and appearance. Patients will receive special training on how to use the device.

Patients who have trouble speaking after treatment may need speech therapy. Often, a speech-language pathologist will visit the patient in the hospital to plan therapy and teach speech exercises or alternative methods of speaking. Speech therapy usually continues after the patient returns home.

Eating may be difficult after treatment for head and neck cancer. Some patients receive nutrients directly into a vein after surgery or need a feeding tube until they can eat on their own. A feeding tube is a flexible plastic tube that is passed into the stomach through the nose or an incision in the abdomen. A nurse or speech-language pathologist can help patients learn how to swallow again after surgery. The NCI booklet Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment contains many useful suggestions and recipes.

Is follow-up care necessary? What does it involve?

Regular follow-up care is very important after treatment for head and neck cancer to make sure that the cancer has not returned, or that a second primary (new) cancer has not developed. Depending on the type of cancer, medical checkups could include exams of the stoma, if one has been created, and of the mouth, neck, and throat. Regular dental exams may also be necessary.

From time to time, the doctor may perform a complete physical exam, blood tests, x-rays, and computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The doctor may monitor thyroid and pituitary gland function, especially if the head or neck was treated with radiation. Also, the doctor is likely to counsel patients to stop smoking. Research has shown that continued smoking by a patient with head and neck cancer may reduce the effectiveness of treatment and increase the chance of a second primary cancer.

Additional information can be found at NCI's Follow-Up Medical Care page.

How can people who have had head and neck cancers reduce their risk of developing a second primary (new) cancer?

People who have been treated for head and neck cancers have an increased chance of developing a new cancer, usually in the head, neck, esophagus, or lungs (30–32). The chance of a second primary cancer varies depending on the site of the original cancer, but it is higher for people who use tobacco and drink alcohol (30).

Especially because patients who smoke have a higher risk of a second primary cancer, doctors encourage patients who use tobacco to quit. Information about tobacco cessation is available from NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237) and in the NCI fact sheet Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking. The federal government’s main resource to help people quit using tobacco is government also sponsors Smokefree Women, a website to help women quit using tobacco, and Smokefree Teen, which is designed to help teens understand the decisions they make and how those decisions fit into their lives. The toll-free number 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669) also serves as a single point of access to state-based telephone quitlines.

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