NEW YORK -- McDonald's, which is trying to shake its image for serving processed junk food, says it's purging some unpalatable ingredients from its most popular menu items.

The moves announced Monday include making Chicken McNuggets and other items without artificial preservatives, and removing high-fructose corn syrup from its burger buns. The tweaks come as the world's biggest burger chain fights to win back customers.

It's just the latest evidence of major restaurant chains scrambling to step up the image of their food as competition from smaller players intensifies. Dunkin' Donuts has said it will introduce an egg patty with a higher concentration of egg. And as part of its vow to remove artificial ingredients, Taco Bell said it would switch to actual black pepper instead of "black pepper flavor."

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