Would you eat a sandwich in which the main ingredient looks like a piece of housing insulation?
As reported by Inquisitr, a photograph of a frozen, uncooked McRib makes the McDonald's sandwich look much more like an industrial component than something you might eat.
The photo first surfaced on the link-sharing site Reddit earlier this week and was allegedly taken by a McDonald's employee. Based on the French writing on the side of the box from which the white, mass-produced slab of meat product had been taken, the picture is believed to have come from somewhere in Quebec, although that hasn't been confirmed.
First introduced to McDonald's restaurants in 1981, the McRib is a barbecue-pork sandwich allegedly comprised of more than 70 ingredients. The McRib was removed from the McDonald's menu in 1985 due to poor sales, but has been reintroduced on several occasions in recent years.
And when the McRib isn't cooked and slathered in barbecue sauce, it sure ain't pretty.
As might have been expected, reactions to the alleged McRib photo have been mixed. Commenters on Reddit range from the stunned ("Who would have guessed that precooked pork was white?") to the defiant ("I don't care if it looks like a tractor's tire tracks, I'm still going to eat that delicious unicorn of a sandwich").
Whether or not the picture was really a McRib was posed to McDonald's, who responded with the following statement:
"There are few things more legendary at McDonald's than the McRib," the statement begins.
More pointedly, it says: "One reason our customers love the McRib is its fun and wonderful shape. Just like a burger patty is formed to be round and flat, we form the iconic McRib in the shape of traditional ribs. We then flash freeze the patty to seal in flavor and freshness, just like you freeze meat in your own freezer, before going to our restaurants."
But will the unpleasant photo harm the sales of the McRib, which is currently on a comeback tour at McDonald's in Canada and the U.S.? The trade magazine Ad Age says the sandwich is a vital part of kickstarting sluggish sales in the traditionally slow autumn season in the fast-food business.
"The winter is seasonally a slower period," Howard Penney, restaurant analyst and managing director at Hedgeye Risk Management, told Ad Age. "A lot of people underestimated the massive impact the weather had on sales."
And it has been a pretty miserable autumn so far, so it's unlikely that the unappetizing photo that has gone viral will prevent many McDonald's customers from ordering the McRib. After all, remember how Homer Simpson kept ordering Ribwich after Ribwich?