McDonald’s moves to 100% Freedom Food pork

Fast food chain McDonald’s will be the first UK high street restaurant chain to sell 100% Freedom Food pork from RSPCA-monitored farms.

McDonald’s will make the switch across its entire UK menu in the company’s latest step to provide consumer with "locally and responsibly-sourced food on the high streets".

Vice-president of supply chain at McDonald’s Warren Anderson said: "As a big customer of British and Irish farming, we are committed to using our scale to drive positive changes, such as improvements in welfare standards.

"It’s clear that animal welfare is now an important factor for consumers, alongside provenance and traceability."

McDonald’s, however, has used the Red Tractor standard for its pork for some time now and a Red Tractor spokeswoman told MeatInfo.co.uk that, although McDonald’s would still be using Red Tractor standards, FF would be "adding another level".

The company will become the second-biggest buyer of Freedom Food (FF), and all of its sausages and bacon on its menu will be from FF-apporoved farms only. 

A statement from the RSPCA said the news was welcome and a "leap forward for farm animal welfare". It added: "If a chain as large as McDonald’s can switch to higher-welfare products such as Freedom Food, it proves other restaurant chains could – and should – follow suit."

Consumer-welcomed move

McDonald’s highlighted that, since it made the move to sell free-range eggs 15 years ago, the market quadrupled in size and hoped its support of FF pork would attract similar attention. 

It also pointed out that, in a poll of 2,000 adults, 73% said they preferred to buy food produced from farms with high welfare standards. The company also said people ranked price, animal welfare standards and traceability as the top factors behind their food purchasing decisions.

As such, Food and Farming Minister David Heath said: "It’s essential that consumers have confidence with the way their food has been produced and sourced. I welcome McDonald’s commitment to supporting British farmers who work hard to produce food to higher welfare standards."

Read the most recent RSPCA Freedom Food report here

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