Category Archives: Consumer Reports

McDonald’s burger declared the worst in America according to a new Consumer Reports Survey

McDonalds Sales.JPEG-054a3We know that the majority of fast food burgers aren’t exactly what we’d call healthy. Too many calories, too much fat, and a variety of bad ingredients makes the staple of American fast food a less than desirable choice for consumers. But what do you think would happen if you asked consumers to rank the fast food burgers? Do you think there might be some surprises?

Some major fast-food chains – McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell – may find the latest Consumer Reports fast-food survey hard to swallow.

According to the survey, released on Wednesday, more than 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers say these restaurants’ signature items are the worst in their categories: McDonald’s has the worst burger; KFC has the worst chicken; and Taco Bell has the worst burrito.

Consumer Reports surveyed 32,405 subscribers about their experiences at 65 fast-food and fast-casual chains. This is what they were asked: “On a scale of  1 to 10, from least delicious to most delicious you’ve ever eaten, how would you rate the taste” of their signature dishes?

Habit Burger Grill, In-n-Out and Five Guys Burgers received the highest rating for their burgers, 8.1, 8.0 and 7.9 respectively. Meanwhile, McDonald’s scored a paltry 5.8 rating.

McDonald’s has been busy changing its menu in an effort to attract more customers. But despite the novelty items the company promoted in 2013 – Fish McBites in February, McWraps in March, Mighty Wings in September, etc. – the company’s U.S. sales dropped 0.2 percent last year.

During a conference call with investors, McDonald’s chief financial officer Peter Bensen said the company “probably did things a little bit too quickly” in terms of introducing those new menu items. The constant changes and bold experiments with the menu put pressure to the restaurants’ kitchens,which sometimes took too long to fill orders. But new items introduced this year will be welcomed by the chain’s new kitchen equipment. Prep tables will be replaced with larger surfaces that are able to hold more sauces and ingredients.

In 2014, Bensen said, the company will “refocus the core,” including tried-and-true favorites such as the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets and the Quarter Pounder, as well as breakfast.

Research shows Americans are spending $683.4 billion a year dining out, and they are also demanding better food quality and greater variety from restaurants to make sure their money is well spent.

When deciding where to dine, consumers are giving more consideration to food quality, according to the Consumer Reports survey. The restaurant’s location is less important than it was in 2011, when the group last conducted the survey. Diners today are more willing to go out of their way and find tasty meals that can be customized.

“Fast-casual dining in places like Chipotle and Panda Express lets the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service consulting firm, said in the report.

While many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients, he said, some food chains — including Chipotle, Noodles & Company and Panera — have been offering meat raised without using antibiotics in animal feed, a feature that attracts consumers searching for healthier options.

FoodFacts.com has to wonder whether or not bad food is catching up with the king of fast food. Sales are dropping. Over 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers have let the world know that McDonald’s burgers taste about as good as their nutrition facts and ingredient lists reflect. While Panera and Chipotle may not be our favorite eateries, we can still agree with those subscribers who have stated that the food from those fast-casual establishments is fresher and tastes better than a McDonald’s hamburger. McDonald’s still serves up millions of burgers every day. Consumer opinions create change. We can only hope change will start with this survey.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/07/02/consumer-reports-mcdonalds-burger-ranked-worst-in-the-u-s/

The new arsenic concern: Are rice and rice products safe?

Last year, FoodFacts.com followed the disturbing controversy over arsenic found in apple juice products here in the U.S. Dr. Oz first reported on this and the concept and evidence was debunked. Just a few months later, however, the evidence was corroborated and brand names were released along with the levels of arsenic found in their samples.
Today, there’s more bad news and a brand new arsenic concern. Consumer Reports has released a report on arsenic levels in rice and rice products. Things like rice cereals, rice milk and rice that you prepare yourself. It’s disturbing and something we want our FoodFacts.com community to be aware of.

We know that arsenic is poison and that it doesn’t take much of it to actually kill a person. Those aren’t the levels of arsenic being found in these products, though. And the low levels discovered can, in fact, lead to serious health problems when consumed over time. In fact, it has been shown that just tiny amounts of arsenic exposure can result in cancer years later. Arsenic is already a known and powerful carcinogen, and there are currently studies being done by the Environmental Protection agencies that may find it to be a more serious concern than it was ever given credit for.

While these studies are being done, Consumer Reports has completed an analysis of its own. And they focused on numerous different forms of rice products. Rice was chosen as the study focus because previous research has already shown that it does contain more arsenic than other grains. Reasons for this could be because of how it is grown and the fact that it can absorb the arsenic from the soil and water used in its cultivation.

Consumer Reports tested over 60 different rice products and is recommending that people limit their rice consumption in more than a few different ways. For infants, for instance, they are suggesting that only one serving of rice cereal be given once per day. Children under five years of age should not consume rice drinks regularly. And older children should not eat any more than one and a half cups of rice cereal once per week. So much for Rice Krispies. There are even strong recommendations for adults.

While they have made some strong recommendations, the analysis illustrates a random sample of products and therefore, they are not including recommendations of specific brands. They did note however that brown rice had consistently more arsenic than white rice.

There are some great recommendations regarding how you can help reduce possible arsenic in rice by your cooking method that you’ll definitely want to check out.
FoodFacts.com feels quite strongly that both the FDA and EPA should be looking far more closely at this report. There is a need for further studies on other food sources and arsenic levels. There are many areas that need immediate attention for a variety of reasons. It’s already known that poultry manure is a source of arsenic and should actually be banned, until the feeding of drugs containing arsenic to chickens is stopped completely.

This Consumer Reports analysis raises even greater concerns about the safety of our food supply. Our government needs to step up and address this disturbing and serious problem.

FoodFacts.com invites you to read more: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/arsenicinfood.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jean-halloran/arsenic-and-rice_b_1897182.html