This is simply gross.
Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions -- and ammonia? It sounds disgusting, but it's true. The New York Times reported in a story that flew under the radar on December 31st that McDonald's, Burger King, and other fast food chains, school lunch programs, and even supermarkets have been using and selling hamburger meat for years that contains ammonia. The ammonia is in filler from a company called Beef Products that's mixed in with ground meat. It's made of fatty meat scraps that previously had only been used in pet food and cooking oil. These scraps are more often contaminated with things like e. coli and salmonella, but about eight years ago, the Beef Products people came up with the idea of adding ammonia to the scraps to kill bacteria. The United States Department of Agriculture approved the process, and use of the filler product became widespread, saving money for food companies. Beyond the incredibly disgusting factor, the Times also reported that the process may not work that well all the time. It said E. coli and salmonella have been found dozens of times in testing for the school lunch program of Beef Products filler.