Some consumers have turned away from products containing high-fructose corn syrup, which is derived from corn starch, because of concerns it may be linked to obesity. McDonald's is "following the customers" in switching to sucrose in buns used on Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, hamburgers and other sandwiches, said senior vice president of McDonald’s North America supply chain, Marion Gross.
Ms Gross said: "We know that they don't feel good about high-fructose corn syrup so we're giving them what they're looking for instead.”
Nonetheless, the US Food and Drug Administration has said it is unaware of any differences in the safety of foods containing equal amounts of corn syrup and sugar, or sucrose.
McDonald's has stopped adding an artificial preservative to the cooking oil used to make Chicken McNuggets and removed artificial preservatives from pork sausage patties, eggs served on McGriddles breakfast sandwiches and scrambled eggs on breakfast platters. It also removed chicken skin, safflower oil and citric acid from the meat of its McNuggets, swapping them for pea starch, rice starch and powdered lemon juice.
The company had previously planned to stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics important to human medicine from its suppliers, Tyson Foods Inc and Keystone Foods, by March 2017. It completed the change earlier due to quicker than expected work by the US Department of Agriculture, which helped to verify that birds were not given the drugs. Some health experts have raised concerns that the overuse of antibiotics for poultry may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans.
The global fast food chain has also made other changes to its menu items in the past year. Back in August, it said it would make its popular breakfast item, Egg McMuffin, with real butter rather than liquid margarine. In September 2015, it announced that it would transition to using eggs from cage-free hens over the next decade.