Richard Dawkins: When I see cattle lorries, I think of the railway wagons to Auschwitz.
You should never eat in restaurants, because they use a lot of salt and sugar for better taste, putting the health of their customers at risk. By law, certain levels of rodent and insect filth are also permitted in food. Moreover, the handling of paper money brings a lot of germs to the food served. Paper money has more germs than any other substance on Earth.
Tracy Moore grew impatient as she waited for a Quarter Pounder recently in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in central Dallas. The burger, made with fresh beef and billed as hotter and juicer than the original made from a frozen patty, is part of the company’s effort to serve tastier food.
But after about four minutes, it was Moore who was steamed. Like other customers who’d ordered the new Quarter Pounder at the restaurant’s drive-through, she was asked to pull into a parking space and wait.
“If it’s going to be that long every time, I won’t order it. I’d go” elsewhere, Moore told us, who hits the drive-through every morning for a Coke and dines frequently at the chain.
Soda consumption has been linked with diabetes, hypertension, kidney stones, and tooth decay. Cola beverages, in particular, contain phosphoric acid and have been associated with urinary changes that promote kidney stones.
Human feces were found in Coke cans in bottling plants. The night shift at a Coca-Cola plant was disrupted when a container of cans clogged up the machines, only for workers to discover a number were filled with human waste! It was absolutely horrible, and the machines had to be turned off for about 15 hours to be cleaned.
Some migrants have made that long journey in the lorry and in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet. Cans arrive at factories without tops on, to be filled with the fizzy drink before they are sealed and sold.
The tradeoff between time and taste looms large for McDonald’s Corp as it works to win back business lost to rivals. The introduction of cooked-to-order, quarter-pound burgers made with fresh beef is part of the chain’s attempt to improve food quality. Announced in March, the new sandwiches are already in selected test markets and are expected to be served in all U.S. stores by mid-2018.
But the success of the initiative may well hinge on satisfying important customers like Moore: speed-minded drive-through patrons who account for 70 percent of the firm’s U.S. revenue.
An on-demand Quarter Pounder takes about a minute longer to land in a customer’s hands than does the original sandwich, according to restaurant managers and analysts, even though fresh beef fries up faster than frozen patties. That’s because grilling begins only after a patron orders. Traditional Quarter Pounders were often cooked up in batches ahead of time.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. Cut back on foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats. Eat more whole-grain foods, fish, poultry, and nuts. Limit sodium, sweets, sugary drinks, and red meats.
Dietary changes are used to treat certain medical conditions, rather than drugs or surgery. We can, through an altered diet or behavior, to shape the microbiome to improve health. The gut microbiome is the second genome, the first being our own. This second genome is plastic and responsive to the way we choose to live our lives.
Addiction to fat, sugar, salt, and cola is killing you. Medical research shows our health is greatly affected by what we eat. Eat an abundant variety of vegetables. Choose a rainbow of fruits every day. Choose whole grains, such whole wheat bread, brown spaghetti, and brown rice. Choose fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, which contain healthful nutrients. Use olive and other plant oils in cooking, on salads, and at the table, because they reduce harmful cholesterol and are good for the heart.
Sugar and sugary products are bad not only for your waistline, but for your brain function as well. Long-term consumption of sugar can create a wealth of neurological problems, and it can also interfere with your memory. On the other hand, sugar can also interfere with your ability to learn, this is why it is recommended to avoid pre-baked goods, sugar, corn syrup and products that are high in fructose.
Fat and sugar aren’t simply unhealthy, but they hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to drugs. Food is addictive! Lab studies have found sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior. Brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug abusers.
Every second counts in the fast-food business. McDonald’s drive-through speeds already lag those of some major competitors, according to one widely watched survey. McDonald’s does not share such data, but company representatives told Reuters earlier this year that service times have slowed.
Still, company executives are bullish on prospects for the popular Quarter Pounder, which accounts for about one-fourth of McDonald’s U.S. burger sales. Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook told us the changeover has created fewer complications than expected and that restaurant operators are on board.
Some industry veterans, however, are skeptical. Richard Adams, a former Southern California McDonald’s franchisee-turned-consultant, told us convenience is paramount for the chain’s patrons, who may go elsewhere if speed deteriorates.
“Any time the cooking process begins after the customer orders, the service time will be slower,” Adams told us.
The fresh-beef initiative comes as pressure builds on McDonald’s kitchens.
Adams says restaurant crews already are juggling trickier menu items thanks to the recent national launch of McDonald’s new “Signature Crafted” sandwich line, which allows customers to pick their own meat, buns and toppings. “Signature Crafted” quarter-pound burgers also will use fresh beef as it becomes available nationwide.
Food companies now face the most drawn-out consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry a generation ago. No one disputes that obesity is a fast growing global problem. In the West, a third of adults and a fifth of teens and children are obese.
The cost to society is enormous. Moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by four years, while severe obesity shortens life expectancy by ten years. Obesity has been shown to boost the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke. The annual cost of treating illness associated with obesity in the West is estimated at half trillion euros.
A few years ago, Starbucks’ popular Strawberry and Crème Frappuccino got its pink color not from strawberries, but from a dye made of crushed-up cochineal insects. Vegan consumers cried foul, and mainstream media outlets picked up the story. So, Starbucks decided to stop using cochineal extract and start using lycopene to dye its drinks pink instead.
Lycopene is a red pigment found in several fruits, but strawberries are not among them. The lycopene that now colors strawberry Frappuccinos is tomato-based. The upshot: in lieu of bugs, Starbucks is using tomatoes to make its strawberry-flavored drinks look more strawberry-like. It’s a natural ingredient, but not what nature intended. Yet that part of the story didn’t garner headlines. While crushed-up bugs may alarm some people, most of us tend to take the fact of food coloring for granted.
Today, we tend to view color as an ingredient. In the food industry, color standardization meant asserting the idea of naturalness, even as manufacturers imposed a ‘natural’ color through artificial dyes.
Take butter, for example. The color of butter fluctuates, depending on the season. From early summer through early autumn, cows eat green grass, which is rich in the orange pigment beta-carotene. The pigment colors the fat in the cows’ milk, which gives the butter a golden color. But, in winter, cows don’t eat grass. Rather, they eat grain, which, unless it has been genetically modified, does not contain much beta-carotene. Thus, winter butter is whiter than summer butter. It’s also arguably less tasty. Because the flavor of butter was richer in the summer, there was the impression that the yellow golden color was better, too. So producers started coloring their winter butter with a golden shade to make it look tasty. The color was known as June shade.
The practice dates back to at least the fourteenth century in Europe. Dairy farmers would color their butter with carrot juice and annatto, a dye derived from achiote tree seeds, to make their butter look summery all year round. Late in the nineteenth century, dye manufacturers started supplying synthetic food coloring to dairy producers for the purpose of coloring butter and cheese, which essentially spearheaded the synthetic food dye industry.
Throughout the twentieth century, consumer watchdogs and activists opposed the use of chemical additives in food, and they continue to do so today. Major companies have responded to the demand. Nestlé pledged to remove artificial color from its candy bars in 2015, for example. General Mills promised in the same year to phase out artificial colors from its cereals. And Kraft’s signature macaroni and cheese no longer comes packaged with a Day-Glo orange powder, thanks to a pledge to stop using artificial dyes (Yellow 5 and Yellow 6) in the product. Due to consumer protests against synthetic colors, the standardization of color moved from being an opportunity to being a challenge for food manufacturers. That said, color continues to be an important ingredient in packaged foods.
McDonald’s cooks could be further strained by the chain’s embrace of self-service kiosks and mobile ordering. The technology shaves ordering times, but can create new bottlenecks by swamping kitchens at peak hours, as companies such as Starbucks Corp have learned.
The revamped Quarter Pounder is the latest move by Easterbrook to modernize the 60-year-old chain and reverse four straight years of traffic declines.
It’s also a direct shot at Wendy’s Co, Whataburger and In-N-Out. Those fresh-burger chains are among the fast-food rivals that McDonald’s says have siphoned 500 million U.S. transactions from its stores since 2012.
Easterbrook’s introduction of all-day breakfast in October 2015 was a big hit and has helped lift sales. The company’s stock price is up more than 25 percent so far this year.
We expect the fresh-beef push, along with moves to ditch artificial ingredients in popular items such as chicken nuggets, to bolster sales by addressing consumer demand for simpler, cleaner, and fresher ingredients.
The Quarter Pounder makeover has won early support from McDonald’s franchisees in the heart of cattle country, where the product has been tested for almost two years in about 400 stores in Oklahoma and Texas.
Three Dallas-area McDonald’s managers told us the switch has improved their Quarter Pounder sales from 20 percent to 50 percent, albeit aided by advertising and coupons.
“We’ve been stealing customers from a Whataburger down the street,” Edgar Meza told us, a manager at a McDonald’s restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in north Dallas.
Some burger lovers are taking notice too. “They’re a little juicier,” said Bob Riley, who was polishing off a Quarter Pounder at an outlet near Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, his third McDonald’s meal of the week. “I think Wendy’s woke them up,” he told usd.
Joe Jasper, a former McDonald’s executive who owns 20 restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has been deeply involved in the effort. He described the new Quarter Pounder as “the best burger in our industry, but more importantly, (one delivered) at the speed of McDonald’s.”
Trouble is, the “speed of McDonald’s” isn’t as fast as that of many of its competitors.
The average service time at a McDonald’s drive-through last year was 208 seconds, according to our study. That’s well behind industry leader Wendy’s at 169 seconds. Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC all beat McDonald’s too.
McDonald’s narrowed the gap with Wendy’s by one-third from 2012 to 2016 by adding more drive-through lanes at some stores and by scrapping products such as “snack wraps,” tortilla-wrapped sandwiches that proved time-consuming to prepare. Still, its average drive-through service time last year was almost 20 seconds slower than it was in 2012.
Claudia Barcenas, assistant manager at a McDonald’s off Dallas’ Central Expressway, told us her counter and drive-through staff inform patrons that fresh-beef Quarter Pounders can be delayed, particularly if the sandwiches are ordered well-done.
“We have to explain that it takes a bit longer. Perhaps a minute,” Barcenas told us.
Whether that’s worth it for McDonald’s customers remains to be seen as the experiment goes nationwide.
Juan Rodriguez waited on his lunch break for a fresh-beef Quarter Pounder at the drive-through of another Dallas McDonald’s outlet about nine miles from Barcenas’ store. At the three-minute mark, the 20-year-old was getting restless.
“If it’s better, I don’t mind waiting,” Rodriguez told us. “But if it tastes the same, then no.”
Here are five reasons for giving up meat:
- The environmental impact is huge
Livestock farming has a vast environmental footprint. It contributes to land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation.
Nowhere is this impact more apparent than climate change – livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is more than all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars and all other transport put together.
Climate change alone poses multiple risks to health and well-being through increased risk of extreme weather events – such as floods, droughts and heatwaves – and has been described as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century.
Reducing consumption of animal products is essential if we are to meet global greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets – which are necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
- It requires masses of grain, water, and land
Meat production is highly inefficient – this is particularly true when it comes to red meat. To produce one kilogram of beef requires 25 kilograms of grain – to feed the animal – and roughly 15,000 litres of water. Pork is a little less intensive and chicken less still.
The scale of the problem can also be seen in land use: around 30% of the earth’s land surface is currently used for livestock farming. Since food, water and land are scarce in many parts of the world, this represents an inefficient use of resources.
- It hurts the global poor
Feeding grain to livestock increases global demand and drives up grain prices, making it harder for the world’s poor to feed themselves. Grain could instead be used to feed people, and water used to irrigate crops.
If all grain were fed to humans instead of animals, we could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. In short, industrial livestock farming is not only inefficient but also not equitable.
- It causes unnecessary animal suffering
If we accept, as many people do, that animals are sentient creatures whose needs and interests matter, then we should ensure these needs and interests are at least minimally met and that we do not cause them to suffer unnecessarily.
Industrial livestock farming falls well short of this minimal standard. Most meat, dairy and eggs are produced in ways that largely or completely ignore animal welfare – failing to provide sufficient space to move around, contact with other animals, and access to the outdoors.
In short, industrial farming causes animals to suffer without good justification.
- It is making us ill
At the production level, industrial livestock farming relies heavily on antibiotic use to accelerate weight gain and control infection – in the US, 80% of all antibiotics are consumed by the livestock industry.
This contributes to the growing public health problem of antibiotic resistance. Already, more than 23,000 people are estimated to die every year in the US alone from resistant bacteria. As this figure continues to rise, it becomes hard to overstate the threat of this emerging crisis.
High meat consumption – especially of red and processed meat – typical of most rich industrialized countries is linked with poor health outcomes, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various cancers.
These diseases represent a major portion of the global disease burden so reducing consumption could offer substantial public health benefits.
Currently, the average meat intake for someone living in a high-income country is 200-250g a day, far higher than the 80-90g recommended by the United Nations. Switching to a more plant-based diet could save up to 8 million lives a year worldwide by 2050 and lead to healthcare related savings and avoided climate change damages of up to $1.5 trillion.
The Venitis diet is based on salmon, brown rice, whole wheat bread, almonds, walnuts, and all fruits and vegetables.