WINNIPEG - A fast-food restaurant in Manitoba has backtracked on its offer to make customers a burger fit for Fred Flintstone.
Barb Barker, an administrative assistant for the Wendy's outlet in Brandon, said Wednesday night that they have stopped selling their T. Rex burger, consisting of nine quarter-pound patties held together by nine pieces of processed cheese and a flimsy bun.
"For obvious reasons, Wendy's of Brandon neither condones nor promotes the idea of anyone consuming a nine-patty hamburger in one sitting," said Barker, reading from a prepared statement.
She said the fast-food restaurant "strives to deliver a positive dining experience for our customers. Our goal is to provide options to our customers so they can make options that meet their needs."
The $21.99 burger started out as a joke ad in Sports Illustrated nine years ago, but customers came in asking for the real thing. The restaurant obliged and started selling two to three giant burgers a day.
Weighing in at around a whopping 3,000 calories, the T. Rex burger had more calories than many people consume in a day. To the dismay of dieticians, it also contained roughly 200 grams of fat — triple the daily allowance — and an eye-watering 6,000 grams of sodium, enough to last the average adult four days.
Carla Taylor, a professor in human nutritional science at the University of Manitoba, said the T. Rex sent the wrong message.
"Food is something I don't think we can treat in this way," she said. "We need to get appreciating good food ... of appropriate portion size."
While many fast-food chains have made concerted efforts in the last few years to offer healthier choices — such as salads, fruit and low-fat muffins — there are still menu items that unabashedly embrace unhealthy indulgence. And it appears the United States out-greases Canada at the cooking line: nutritional nightmares seem to originate south of the border.
There's KFC's infamous "double down" sandwich — bacon, cheese and "special sauce" between two pieces of battered chicken — which originated in the U.S. before making its way to Canada. Dunkin' Donuts is offering American connoisseurs an unusual breakfast sandwich — bacon and egg between two glazed doughnuts.
Consuming that combination of fat, sodium and calories in one sitting might appeal to some, but Taylor said it should be a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence.
"Maybe somebody wants to try it once for the challenge," she said. "But I think the better challenge is to look at how to eat healthy every day and think long term about how the foods you're putting in your mouth are impacting on your health."