Is McDonald’s Processed Food? (All You Need To Know)

Processed foods have developed a bad reputation over the years. However, what counts as processed food varies, and you’ll find countless definitions out there.

Typically, processed food is any food that has been changed from its original state. Often, fast-food restaurants fall into this category. To find out if McDonald’s does, keep reading!

Is McDonald’s Processed Food In 2024?

All McDonald’s patties are created off-site at a facility designed explicitly for the company in 2024. Therefore, most would consider McDonald’s’ food to be processed. McDonald’s’ burgers include no preservatives or artificial ingredients. In fact, they only contain beef, salt, and pepper and don’t contain the troublesome ingredients commonly associated with processed food.

For more information on how McDonald’s makes its food, keep reading!

Is McDonald’s’ Meat Processed?

The definition of “processed” varies. Therefore, it depends on your specific definition. That said, McDonald’s’ burgers are created in a factory and then sent to stores.

So, they are often considered “processed.” However, McDonald’s’ burgers are made from 100% pure beef cooked and prepared with salt and pepper.

With that, the company doesn’t add any “artificial” ingredients, fillers, or preservatives. For freshness, the burgers are frozen.

Therefore, the lack of preservatives may make them not count as “processed,” depending on who you ask. Of course, McDonald’s does not count its burgers as processed.

How Are McDonald’s’ Burgers Made?

How Are McDonald’s’ Burgers Made?

When customers ask if McDonald’s’ burgers are processed, they often ask how they are made. Typically, hygiene is important at McDonald’s’ burger facilities.

Also, there are no preservatives in the meat, so the factories must be cautious with virus and bacteria contamination.

Further, all employees must wear protective gear and wash their hands thoroughly before handling any meat.

The only loose items used are metal, as the burgers pass through a metal detector at the very end. Therefore, if anything falls in, they can detect it.

First, the meat is checked to ensure that there are no bones. Usually, it’s large pieces of meat that are coming to the factories.

Moreover, the bones are supposed to be removed, but the meat is double-checked to ensure that there were.

After the meat is double-checked for bones, it is placed into extremely large containers. These containers are used to transport the meat to the mincing station.

Here, the meat is ground into the proper consistency. Then, all this ground meat is taken to a machine that shapes the burgers into the correct shape.

With that, to avoid using binding agents, the company uses a mix of fresh and frozen meat.

This unique combo allows the burger to hold its shape while still being malleable enough to be shaped.

Additionally, to prevent bacterial growth, everything is extremely cold. A few burgers are tested to ensure that the fat content is 20%.

That said, to ensure proper cooking, all burgers have to have this exact fat content.

As soon as they are done being processed, the burgers are frozen and placed into bags and boxes.

Before leaving the factory, the burgers run through a metal detector to ensure nothing was dropped or misplaced into the burgers.

Are McDonald’s’ Burgers Real?

Yes, the company only uses 100% real meat in its burgers. Therefore, McDonald’s’ burgers are about as real as you can get.

Further, they don’t include any binding agents to help the burger maintain its shape.

During processing, the only ingredients added to the burger are seasonings, which help improve the flavor.

Fortunately, there are no preservatives, so the company’s health standards must be extremely high.

What Are McDonald’s’ Burgers Made From?

McDonald’s does not add much to its burger patties when they’re being created. That said, most of the additions are made at the store, depending on the burger you purchase.

Once upon a time, the company used a variety of seasonings in its burgers. However, McDonald’s now only seasons them with salt and pepper.

Of course, this seasoning is done during the preparation process. Beyond salt and pepper, McDonald’s’ burgers don’t contain anything extra.

To know more, you can also read our posts on where does McDonald’s get their chicken, if you can reheat McDonald’s burgers, and sauces at McDonald’s.


McDonald’s processes almost all the company’s food at different facilities, so most people consider the food processed.

However, many of the troublesome ingredients associated with processed foods are not in McDonald’s’ foods.

For instance, McDonald’s’ burger patties are made with only beef, salt, and pepper; no preservatives or artificial ingredients are added.

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Cara Suppa

Cara Suppa has been freelance writing for over a decade and holds a BA in English and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. Outside of work, she is an avid cook, gardener, and discount shopper.

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