McDonald’s unveils burgers, buns free of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors

Credit: Cate Gillon

Credit: Cate Gillon

Fast-food burger chain McDonald's announced major changes Wednesday to its Big Mac and other signature burgers as part of its "Building a Better McDonald's" initiative.

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Chicago-based McDonald’s USA announced it has made changes to the ingredients in its classic burgers, which now contain no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no added colors from artificial sources, and its buns and sauces have also been reformulated. The pickle on top does contain an artificial preservative, though.

The changes affect all 14,000 U.S. restaurants, and mark "the next major milestone in McDonald's food journey and another way the company is helping customers feel good about the food they're enjoying," McDonald's officials said in a news release.

The classic burgers include the McDonald’s hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Big Mac.

“From switching to 100 percent fresh beef in our quarter-pound burgers ... to removing artificial preservatives in our Chicken McNuggets, and committing to cage-free eggs by 2025, we have made significant strides in evolving the quality of our food,” McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski said in a statement.

Nearly two-thirds of McDonald's national burgers and sandwiches now contain no artificial preservatives, artificial flavors and no added colors from artificial sources. Officials with the fast-food giant said the company removed artificial preservatives were removed from McDonald's real American Cheese, Big Mac Special Sauce, the regular bun, the Quarter Pounder bun (also known as the sesame seed bun), and the Big Mac Bun.

Some of the burger chain’s sandwiches still contain artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, including the Filet-O-Fish and Egg McMuffin.

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