McDonald’s fights conspiracy theories

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Ujuh Reporter

An advert spotted online titled; Know Our Food, plus the visible PR campaign in the news media reveals that McDonald’s is on a serious mission to deflect negative perceptions about the quality of its products.


Fast Food giant McDonald’s seems to be feeling the pressure from a growing movement of people who are having a go at the quality of its food. The global giant is running a counter campaign titled Know Our Food.

The situation denotes the power possessed by the Ordinary Joe who is armed with web connectivity. And there is a remarkable rise of the healthy food movement which is said to affecting the bottom line of fast food traders. McDonald’s has indeed come under pressure recently with earnings collapsing by 13% in 2014. There is a new CEO in place, Steve Easterbrook, who is promising revival.

Alongside other junk food servers, the American firm has come under attack from all sorts of angles. These attacks vary from scientifically credible condemnation of the negative health effects of McDonald’s food to the most ludicrous conspiracy theories. Examples include the viralised claim that a consumer was served a rat by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). The claim had done serious damage before KFC deployed considerable resources to debunk the myth spread by one man. The 25 years old Californian, Devorise Dixon, launched the attack via Facebook.

An advert spotted online titled; Know Our Food, plus the visible PR campaign in the news media reveals that McDonald’s is on a serious mission to deflect negative perceptions about the quality of its products.

 

A click through the McDonald’s advert yields a page titled www.knowourfood.co.za/za/know-our-food.html/1282. The page is intelligently titled in missing the McDonald’s name and thus portraying an element of independence and objectivity.

The page content is styled in Q&A form and addresses a number of theories which have gone viral. These include the theory of the pink slime which is said to be used to produce some of McDonald’s food.

The page is introduced via the following extract: “We’ve heard just about every rumour out there and so have you. So, we’re taking you behind the scenes to see exactly where your McDonald’s comes from and how it’s made.”

Here follows some of the Q&A extracts from the page:

Q: Is it true that your potato supplier provides genetically modified potatoes?

A: The potatoes farmed for our products are not genetically modified. McCain Foods is our global french fry supplier and since 1999 McCain has had a policy of not using genetically modified potatoes in any of their products, including those used to make the McDonald’s fries.

Q: Are McDonald’s Fries made from powder?

A: Well, the answer is simple: not at all.  At McDonald’s SA, we guarantee that all of our fries are only made from real, locally sourced potatoes of the very highest quality. The potatoes farmed for our products are in no way genetically modified, and we make sure that all the potatoes we use to make our fries meet local regulations.

Q: Is McDonald’s South Africa Halaal?

A: Yes. We do not use any pork products in our South African restaurants. At McDonald’s South Africa, all our meats are 100% Halaal certified, and are sourced only from internationally accredited and trusted suppliers. All the suppliers and ingredients used in McDonald’s products are certified by the Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) and are fully halaal. In addition, McDonald’s ensures that its products are received and distributed from halaal certified central distribution centres that are also certified by the MJCHT.

Q: How can you serve ungraded meat? You said that the ground beef is made of different cuts so it cannot be graded? Isn’t that illegal?

A: You can rest assured that McDonald’s hamburger patties contain only 100% pure beef and we only work with experienced and reputable suppliers, who adhere to our high quality assurance and food safety standards. Our beef patty is made from a mixture of cuts from different grades of meat typical of any other patty process. In fact, McDonald’s food safety and quality standards are among the highest in the industry and have been used by government agencies as models for their own regulations.

Q: Does McDonald’s use pink slime in their products?

A: “Pink Slime” has not been used in our chicken sandwiches or any McDonald’s products.

Q: Why don’t you have Halaal or Kosher meat available?

A: At McDonald’s South Africa, all our meat is 100% Halaal certified, and are sourced only from Halaal certified suppliers. All our suppliers and ingredients used in our McDonald’s menu are certified by the Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) and are fully Halaal. In addition, McDonald’s distribution centres are also certified by the MJCHT. We, unfortunately, do not meet Kosher requirements.

Q: Are the burgers really made out of 100% beef?

A: Our burgers are made with 100% pure ground beef!  We use meat cut from the shoulder, chuck, brisket, rib eye, loin and round. We don’t use any fillers or additives, just a dash of salt and pepper.

Q: Are cow eyes included in the 100% beef claim?

A: The parts of the cow that we use are from the shoulder, chuck, brisket, rib eye, loin and round. Eyes are not allowed for consumption within the food chain. Ground beef must contain only fresh, boneless beef with no other ingredients or additives.

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