NEW YORK — McDonald’s believes it can make happier meals for its customers by removing certain ingredients from its McNuggets and hamburger buns.
The company said as of Monday it’s chicken nuggets and several breakfast menu items no longer have artificial preservatives. And McDonald’s plans to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from all its hamburger buns by the end of August.
Both changes are coming to all 14,000 of its U.S. stores, McDonald’s said.
Artificial ingredients have been targeted by consumer advocacy and regulatory groups raising flags about health risks.
The additives have been linked to health risks including cancer, hormone imbalances and infertility.
There are still artificial ingredients in other McDonald’s menu items, but a spokesperson said that figuring out a way to remove it from the food chain’s mega-popular chicken nuggets was a priority. The company has been developing the new preservative-free recipe since earlier this year at a lab in Seattle.
Removing high fructose corn syrup from its buns is another bid to make its meals healthier. The ingredient has long been used as a cheap sweetener in sodas, candy and other foods has been linked to obesity.
McDonald’s USA president Mike Andres said there are more changes on the way, and the company recognizes that “more than ever, people care about their food — where it comes form, what goes into it and how it’s prepared.”
This is the latest bid by a food company aimed at easing consumers’ concerns about food safety and quality. Companies ranging from Subway and Pizza Hut, to General Mills and Tyson have promised changes like nixing meat from animals raised on antibiotics, cutting out potentially harmful ingredients and using eggs from cage-free chickens.
McDonald’s promised in March 2015 to stop using meat from chickens that have been exposed to most antibiotics, and the company said Monday that initiative is now complete — a year ahead of schedule.
It’s also promised to use only cage-free eggs by 2025, and McDonald’s is testing other measures like using fresh beef instead of frozen patties.