If you ask someone what they think about the food at a fast food restaurant, it’s often perceived as dirty, low-quality, and unhealthy. The same can also be said for perception of the fast food restaurants and their health conditions as well.
As consumers, we demand food of high quality and cleanliness, both in terms of clean label and the prevention of food-borne illnesses. The problem is that fast food usually is considered a joke in those terms, especially when food-borne illnesses have occurred in the past at chains like Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Jack In The Box.
Fast food chains aren’t about that anymore, and many have strict manufacturing and food handling practices to ensure the health and safety of their food. McDonald’s, for example, changes their French fry oil at least twice a day to prevent it from binding together and forming unhealthy compounds as well as to preserve flavor.
UPROXX’s Steve Bramucci discovered this trade secret while on a trip in Australia. During Foodbeast’s podcast “The Katchup,” Bramucci recalls a trek he took across the entire continent while running on recycled oil, and how McDonald’s was the best to use because of that.
“It was so hard to get the right oil from the mom & pop shops ‘cause they were refrying their oil over and over and over, which is incredibly dangerous. We finally went to a McDonald’s… it was the cleanest oil I’ve ever seen. They change it out twice a day. It was like liquid gold. We would take 40 gallons of oil from a McDonald’s and store it on our roof. I can tell you, McDonald’s oil is really clean and really golden, so if these big companies can do it, the mom & pop shops need to be able, too.”
This isn’t just the case for McDonald’s and their French fry oil, it’s the case for many other fast food chains as well. Chipotle completely revamped their food safety handling practices following a rough year of food-borne illness outbreaks, and Jack in the Box made major changes to how they cook their food following the infamous E.coli catastrophe they endured in 1993. This outbreak actually caused the federal government to change their ground meat cooking temperature standards to improve consumer health safety.
Mom & pop shops and other small food businesses on the other hand, are much more susceptible to improper food handling and health concerns. Many of the most horrific health code violations on the internet aren’t even from fast food restaurants. They’re from small, local restaurants.
That doesn’t mean those risks and health concerns won’t happen, obviously. But food handling guidelines and practices in fast food restaurants have significantly improved over the years, so these incidences are becoming even more rare in fast food chains across America.
Fast food has much better handling practices and food safety than most mom & pop restaurants. So if you’re paranoid about getting food poisoning when you go out to eat, just order some fast food. It’s way less likely that you’ll get sick there.