McDonald’s PR is having a rough time of it this week; first with its Twitter campaign gone awry, and now with Jamie Oliver bringing attention to their switch away from using ammonia-treated beef in their burgers. Ammonia (or ammonium hydroxide) is commonly used as a cleaning agent, but apparently McDonald’s used it to convert fatty, unusable beef cuts into a filler used in their burger patties, which Jaime Oliver brought to attention on his ‘Food Revolution’ show.
The ammonia-treated beef, or ‘pink slime,’ as Jamie calls it, is made by a separate producer, Beef Products Inc (BPI). It’s been used in McDonald’s U.S. restaurants for years, but it’s only recently come under fire. A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist, Geral Zirnstein, told the Daily Mail he agrees with Jaime that it shouldn’t be sold as ground beef in McDonald’s burgers:
I do not consider the stuff to be ground beef and I consider allowing it in ground beef to be a form of fraudulent labelling.
McDonald’s plans to discontinue use of BPI products, but Todd Bacon, their Senior Director of U.S. Quality Systems and Supply Chain, claims it doesn’t have to do with Jaime:
At McDonald’s food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority.
The decision to remove BPI products from the McDonald’s system was not related to any particular event but rather to support our effort to align our global beef raw material standards.
McDonald’s complies with all government requirements and food safety regulations.
Furthermore, we have our own food safety measures and standards in place throughout the entire supply chain to ensure that we serve safe, high quality food to every customer, every time they visit our restaurants.
Which should make you feel better, given that McDonald’s in-house food safety measures have allowed live mice into hamburger buns and the same chemicals found in yoga mats in their McRib sandwiches.
We’ll just put this on our list of awesome #McDstories.