Joann Bruso Urban Legend?

How fast things change. It just goes to show you the power of the Internet. I would have never guessed in a million years that my Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal blog would create an international stir. (Pictured is my Happy Meal on its first birthday.)

In the past week, I’ve been interviewed for print and radio media in China, England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. Various television stations called to set up interviews.

Yesterday, a reporter first told me that McDonald’s responded to my Happy Meal blog. This is McDonald’s statement: “The posting on this site about our hamburgers is completely unsubstantiated and is in the realm of urban legends. McDonald’s hamburger patties in the United States are made with 100% USDA-inspected ground beef. Our hamburgers are cooked and prepared with salt, pepper and nothing else — no preservatives, no fillers. Our hamburger buns are baked locally, are made from North American-grown wheat flour and include common government–approved ingredients designed to assure food quality and safety. These are the same foods that consumers buy every day in their local grocery stores — bread, meat and potatoes.

According to Dr. Michael Doyle, Director, Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, ‘From a scientific perspective, I can safely say that the way McDonald’s hamburgers are freshly processed, no hamburger would look like this after one year unless it was tampered with or held frozen’.”

Whoa…I’m an “urban legend”? Now, I‘m laughing. (I really laughed when the reporter read me the statement.)

Only problem is that I did put the Happy Meal on my shelf, not in a refrigerator or freezer. I’ve had it out and about as a prop for my talks. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to “tamper” with it in order to make it last a year.

Just because “These are the same foods that consumers buy every day in their local grocery stores,” doesn’t make them healthful. That’s the reason I blog, to help parents understand what’s in the food they are purchasing. Their jingle would be more truthful if it said, “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese and onions on an azodicarbonamide sesame-seed bun!”

Funny, McDonald’s didn’t mention in their statement the ridiculous amount of chemicals (hydrogenated anything is a trans fat) in their French fries. This is the ingredient list for fries from the McDonald’s site:

“French Fries: Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).”

Scary, when you think toddlers’ first finger food is a French fry and preschoolers eat fast food several times a week!

It appears people have strong feelings about their junk food. The global interest crashed my site several times. Each new server went in with larger capacity only to crash in a few hours. Finally, I got the mother of all dedicated servers. It’s as good as it gets! Only to have the motherboard crash…Murphy’s Law at work. Obviously, I’m up and running now.


16 thoughts on “Joann Bruso Urban Legend?

  1. ColoradoMom says:

    Thank you, YHGTBK, for your heartfelt post filled with common sense and wisdom. God Bless you and your grown-up boy!

  2. YHGTBK says:

    You have got to be kidding! Where has all the common sense gone?

    I wonder how many moms ate McDonald’s as kids or teenagers and still have the intelligence to work a computer and even blog let alone give birth. And to the one who said that if the hamburger didn’t decompose on your desk, how will it decompose in our digestive systems? Perhaps that’s why God created us with a digestive system so that the hamburger you ate as a kid isn’t still in your system.

    And I challenge all of the moms to think what you ate as a kid. And the things your mom said you couldn’t have, how much more it made you think about having it. And all of the time you spend blogging and on the internet is time spent away from spending with your kids OUTSIDE exercising which is a proven way to prevent obesity. And if you think your kids aren’t trading food in the cafeteria, even under the watchful eye of the lunch lady, think again.

    And did you tell your parents everything you did as a child/teenager/adult? How many times did you sneak a cookie from the cookie jar or sweet snack from the pantry and hide it under your bed to enjoy in secrecy because you know you would be in trouble if your mom found out? That my fellow mothers, is teaching your child to lie to you to avoid punishment. Amazing we grew up at all!

    We look for excuses for all of our shortcomings. Remember the Twinkie Defense (for those of you not yet born, Dan White, a former police officer who was fired, killed Harvey Milk in cold blood in 1978. His lawyer tried to say that Dan had had too many twinkies thus diminishing his cognitive reasoning)? Placing blame on something else instead of taking responsibility for our own actions and choices is partly why this great country is in such turmoil.

    With most things, moderation is the key. One cookie or Happy Meal isn’t going to harm your children for life.

    What WILL harm them however is the parental OCD and constant nay-saying to our kids that they can’t have an occasional Happy Meal, candy or dessert because they didn’t eat the mounds of green stuff on their plates (did you eat all the green stuff on your plates? Did you have traumatic meal times because of it or was meal time what it was meant to be? A reconvening and recap of our day filled with love and support). I have heard horror stories of parents leaving their child’s unfinished dinner on the table only for them to eat it in the morning. Is that sanitary or safe? What kind of mold and spoilage and bugs will crawl on it during the night? That’s child abuse in every sense of the phrase. Would YOU eat something that was left out all night? I seriously doubt it. These are the kinds of parental actions that will make our kids unhealthy and end up in years of therapy. And aren’t you hungrier some days more than others? Why would your kids be any different? It’s what we over a 72 hour period, not just one day. 72 hours of Mickey D’s would be the end of most of us.

    Life is so short, changes in a heartbeat, and one day you’ll turn around and the son that you tried (and hopefully succeeded) to raise into a man, will be loading a plane to fight a war in another country with a REAL gun slung over his shoulder. And you’ll be longing for those moments at Mickey D’s sharing a Happy Meal and praying that he remembers that too. And hoping that the box of cookies you send overseas will reach them still as cookies, instead of the crumbs you feel your heart is breaking into.

  3. joy says:

    Pemmican (pounded meat fat, nuts and berries, with or without meat) was laid in the sun to dry, much like this meal. Natural does not mean fast-decomposing. I’ve had a loaf of stale french bread hanging out in the breadbox for several months (just water, yeast, and organic flour in it). I meant to put it out for the birds to peck at over the winter, but never got around to it. It’s mold-free, too. If you live in a dry climate, or have forced air central heating, or a good sunny drying shelf, preservation is something that often just happens, even without “preservatives.”

  4. Steven says:

    The answer to all of this is found in McDonald’s own statement. They are telling the truth. What is causing this is the salt in the meat. They put a LOT of salt in their burgers. The salt speeds up the drying process, once the moisture in the meat is gone (which will be quick, as most of it was cooked out in the first place), then the meat will just dry. The salt also helps keep the mold away. Insects and pests as well.

    An ordinary dry white bun of any type will just dry up too. How do you think croutons are made anyway? Stale, dry bread. Bread that is kept from moisture will dry, not rot. That’s why sitting on the counter a load of french bread will turn into a brittle stick over time, while some bread in a closed bag will mold. Nowhere for the moisture to evaporate to in a seal plastic bag. Plastic does not breathe.

    It should be of not that this burger was ordered without the things that would have ensured rot. No condiments. No pickles, no onions, no ketchup, no mustard. Dry. While the condiments would not ensure enough extra moisture to get the meat to rot, but it is somewhat disingenuous to do such an experiment and then hedge your bets by setting controls that you do not bother to mention.

    As for the frys, Most of the moisture was fried out of them. Salt and oil won’t let things rot easily. They are how we preserved food before refrigeration after all. Without a lot of moisture, the potatoes are gonna just dry up too.

    Of course McDonalds is not healthy food. But this is a lot of smoke and mirrors. A little knowledge and common sense will let you know both no to make McDonalds a part of your scheduled diet and that this whole experiment was completely misleading. Instead of focusing on issues, this whole thing is actually either based on ignorance of plain deceit.

  5. Maryshe says:

    I have a 7yo very picky eater so sometimes– just to get her to eat *something*, you understand– we do end up at the drive-thru. Sometimes more than I like to admit. Whenever I clean out the car (which is not very often, I’m afraid), there are always stray fries and leftover parts of burgers in the floor somewhere. They are not decomposed in the least. Nor are they moldy. This is why I believe the experiment is real. Check your floorboard and see for yourself. My 2 cents.

  6. Maui Mermaid says:

    Ok..whether or not the happy meal experiment is up to NASA standards or even if it is lacking the elaborate antics of Myth Busters, it still brings to light that the fast food industry, ALL OF THEM, are preparing processed crap.

    And yes, it is a choice, and folks who choose the LAZY processed food over natural organic fresh food are killing themselves on their own. BUT, everyone has a right know what it is they are choosing. So if the fast food AND the processed food industry really wants to stand behind what they make, then ALL ingredients need to br clearly posted on packages and menus. And don’t forget that even HIGH END restaurants sometimes use prepared mixes and such in sauces and other food items.

    So it is the food industry as a whole that has sold out .Not just 1 company. People take responsibility for your food supply and defend against GMO foods and seek out local organic foods. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ORGANIC FARMER NOT GROWERS OVERSEAS. Save America. Save yourself.

  7. Tonya says:

    Wow so very interesting comments! I just want to throw out there that the preservative citric acid is from mold. Just google it to find out how they get it and you will find it comes from two types of mold which are also toxic. Which is weird that with the mold in the bun it didn’t get moldy.

  8. Dawn Spencer says:

    A local school did a scientific (as much as elementary schools can manage) experiment doing exactly what you suggest, dear reader. The control? Wendy’s. It was a moldy mess.

  9. Natalie says:

    Why don’t we all try the Happy Meal test? To make it “valid” for the powers that be at McDonald’s, we just need to put it on a shelf like Joann did. Keep the receipt to show the date you bought the meal. Then, take a photograph of the meal each day along with the front page of your metro paper, highlighting the date you took the photo (this proves that you took the photo of the same meal on that date). Jackie is right, food should mold in a short period of time, right? So, do the test for three months and report your findings to Nonna Joann and McD’s. If McDonald’s does not believe this test would be accurate, then let’s ask them to post their version of the Happy Meal test that we customers can do at home. By the way, can’t the scientific wizards at McDonald’s carbon date the actual age of Joann’s meal or something anyway? Or is throwing this test into the realm of “urban legend” just a little too convenient??

    Personally, I think McDonald’s will do anything to save its reputation.

  10. Paul says:

    THERE YA GO BARRIE!!! Just like the typical American… all of our problems are someone else’s fault. Never ours. Blame the evil food industry for obesity. Not the parents and people who are CHOOSING to eat the food. Blame blame blame, never MY fault I’m fat, I just ate too much and sat on the couch!

  11. Paul says:


  12. Jackie says:

    If anyone is in doubt, the observation is simple enough for anyone to do at home for themselves. Maybe Nonna should pose a challenge for others to do it (even for a three month period) and report back their findings. Food is supposed to mold in way less time!

  13. Paul says:

    “Nonna”, come ON! You are as bad as the fast food places you are trying to turn people against!! I dare you, DARE YOU, to take a piece of bread, ANY BREAD, get it at the grocery store, or make it from scratch yourself just to prove to yourself how dumb you are, but take a piece of bread, and sit it on your little shelf in the open air. IT WILL NOT MOLD. NEVER. EVER. If you understood anything about the food you so passionately write about AT ALL, you would know that mold WILL NOT GROW in a dry, open-air, environment. EVER. Mold grows in moist, stale, environments. Same thing for decomposition. Bacteria require MOISTURE (WATER, H20) to live. So put a burger patty on your nice, dry, open-air, shelf, and watch it dry out. ANY burger patty. Go kill the freakin’ cow yourself and make yerself a burger patty and put it on your shelf, and watch it dry out, and stay that way. If you wanted to truly drive home your point, you would have placed a “Control-Meal” next to your happy meal to show how it was SUPPOSED to decompose, except if you had done that, neither would have decomposed, and you would be exposed as a fraud, and we just can’t have that can we?? I’m a picky eater, but I rarely eat fast food. Your true enemy is laziness of parents who don’t take the time to find or fix their kids’ meals they will eat, not McDonalds. The reason fast food is thriving, is because people are lazy, not because fast food chains are evil. Propoganda like this is worse than any Fast Food company out there, because they at least, are telling the truth as a general principle, if for no other reason than those like yourself are waiting for them to screw up. While you, on the other hand, resort to pranks like this to get your attention and make your living. Man I’m hungry…. think I’ll go fix myself a BIG, FAT, JUICY, RIBEYE right now.

  14. Barrie says:

    funny…of course Mickey D’s is going to make a comment like that….and HOW silly about the scientist..guess they searched around to find one ignorant one. EVERYONE should watch Jamie Oliver THIS Friday night ABC…2 hour show on saving Americans from food…..he teaches us about REAL food….without chemicals, hormones, toxins, etc….WAY too many people are so ignorant as to WHAT is healthy food!! Why on earth do we have more disease and disorders than EVER before…..FOOD and environment causing HORRIFIC side effects!! We need to STOP the insanity….cook like our grandmothers used to–READ labels and fight for the good of our nation and our health and that of our children’s!

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