McDonald's burgers just got more "real." The fast food giant has already been using fresh beef for its quarter-pound burgers, and it just went one step further by removing artificial preservatives, flavors, and coloring from two-thirds of its menu. The changes affect McDonald's seven classic burgers: the hamburger, McDouble, Big Mac, single and double cheeseburgers, and single and double Quarter Pounders with cheese.
As CNN reports, calcium propionate (a preservative often used in bread) was removed from the burger buns, and sorbic acid (another preservative) was removed from the American cheese that McDonald's used. The Big Mac Special Sauce has also been revamped, and ingredients like potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium EDTA were removed "without sacrificing that signature taste," McDonald's said in a statement. As for the beef, it has always been "100 percent pure," meaning that it contains no additives, preservatives, or fillers, and it has been seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper.
One notable exception to the new rule are the pickles, which still contain an artificial preservative. This move from McDonald's recognizes "that now more than ever, people care about their food—where it comes from, what goes into it, and how it is prepared," the company said. A spokesperson for McDonald's told Forbes that individual franchises set their own prices, but the company isn't anticipating any significant price increases as a result of the menu changes.
Previously, McDonald's removed artificial preservatives from its Chicken McNuggets, announced plans to only use coffee from sustainable sources by 2020, and to only use cage-free eggs in the U.S. and Canada by 2025. As CNN notes, this is part of an industry-wide trend that has seen fast food chains like Taco Bell, Subway, and Panera remove artificial ingredients from their food offerings.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that McDonalds recently switched the brand's beef patties to "pure beef." That is not a new change. The story has been updated to correct this error.