Did McDonald's Serve A Semen Sandwich?

by Pamela J. Hobart
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Have you seen a story making the rounds about a McDonald's semen sandwich? If so, you're not alone, because this thing's gone viral and it just won't die. I first had the pleasure of encountering the tale via a Facebook friend who posted the version offered at the "Natural Cures, Not Medicine" website. If that site didn't sound sketchy enough right off the bat, you can find the semen sandwich story at any number of other venues online. However, it's just as much of a hoax everywhere.

Allegedly, a woman named Jessica McDowell, in a sometimes-unspecified place, was dining at McDonald's on a chicken sandwich when she noticed that her mayonnaise had an inappropriate (yet somehow familiar!) taste and texture. Frustrated by the manager's refusal to do anything, she took the sandwich "to the health department" (which one?) who tested for semen (gross) and found two kinds (really? they DNA tested it, too?) Things (allegedly) got even worse for Jessica, whose subsequent herpes outbreak added injury to insult. Hence, the legend of the McDonald's semen chicken sandwich was born.

If the lack of details didn't raise a red flag for you, try skimming the Snopes article about semen in food. This basic story has been capturing imaginations in various forms for decades because it pushes all of our buttons: sex, disgust, vulnerability to strangers, etc. The subject is usually a young woman (for extra sexiness) and the perpetrators are usually vendors of lower-class and/or foreign food, so there's a little sexism and classism for good measure, too.

Buzzfeed and others are criticizing the semen sandwich story too, so maybe we should all stop contributing to the problem already, for crying out lout. While you can contract herpes from semen, that should be the last of your worries when dining out (it was objectively more dangerous even just driving in your car to the restaurant). McDonald's may still be gross, but not because the food is likely to be contaminated with semen. If Jessica McDowell really even exists, her food-related paranoia is her real problem, not McDonald's.