OAK BROOK, Ill., Aug. 1 (UPI) — McDonald’s announced Monday ingredient changes in some of its products — removing artificial preservatives from its Chicken McNuggets and some breakfast items, and replacing high-fructose corn syrup in its sandwich buns with sugar.
The fast-food company’s “sweeping changes” will affect about 50 percent of the menu, said Mike Andres, president of McDonald’s U.S. operations.
Other products free of artificial preservatives are pork sausage patties, omelet-style eggs served on items like breakfast sandwiches, and scrambled eggs.
Also, chickens used in the McNuggets are no longer raised with antibiotics.
McDonald’s return last September to its original Egg McMuffin recipe with butter instead of liquid margarine increased sales by double digits.
When Steve Easterbrook took over as chief executive last year, he vowed to improve its products with less processing and more humanely treated animals.
McDonald’s ads show that its breakfast items are made with freshly cracked eggs and it will stop using eggs from chickens raised in cages. McDonald’s also plans to serve hormone-free milk.
Many food and beverage companies have already removed the high-fructose corn sweetener from products or introduced separate lines with natural sugar since some research has shown increased obesity and diabetes when corn is used as a sweetener.
“In the early days we didn’t have as many distributors, so we wanted a long shelf life so it could go across the country,” McDonald’s U.S. chief supply chain officer Marion Gross told Fortune. “Times and infrastructure have changed.”
McDonald’s started testing the new McNuggets last March in Washington and Oregon.
Mike Andres said “probably the biggest challenge” was finding a new shortening for cooking the McNuggets that was free of artificial preservatives.