McDonald's holds Olympic beef farm visit

McDonald’s has held its inaugural Open Farm visit to raise awareness of the role farms will play in providing produce for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Local dignitaries and Olympic athlete Heather Fell took part in the visit to Maiden Castle beef farm in Dorchester, Dorset, which is one of the 17,500 British and Irish farms that supply quality food for the McDonald’s menu, and which will provide meals for what is the biggest peacetime catering operation in the world in two years’ time.

Visitors had the opportunity to see first-hand the very best practice in standards and welfare that Maiden Castle Farm demonstrates, and to meet farmer, Richard Hoskin, whose father established the 1,250 acre farm in the Dorset countryside in 1987.

Nick Hindle, McDonald’s communications vice-president, said: “We spend over £490m a year on food, much of which comes from the UK and Ireland, including quality produce such as organic milk, free-range eggs and beef. The London 2012 Olympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the best of British farming.

“The farms supplying the Olympics are standard bearers in terms of exacting quality and welfare standards and we will promote the best back to all within the farming community.”

Four further visits are scheduled in 2010 in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Cumbria and Derbyshire to beef, free-range eggs and organic milk farms. The programme will include visits for members of the public, and will continue next year to cover other key home-grown ingredients, such as potatoes and lettuce.

Dorset beef farmer Richard Hoskin added: “We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and be as self-sustained as possible, so we grow our own grain, which provides the feed for our cattle. We have also introduced our own breeding programme, which enables us to create consistently high-quality cuts of beef while maintaining high standards of animal welfare.”

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