We hear a lot about the importance of free range eggs and non-battery farmed chickens but what about some of the other animals that supply the UK with meat?
When eating a McMuffin have you ever wondered where the pigs that end up as bacon spend their days?
Well now your morning treat need pose no concerns about animal welfare as McDonald’s have announced that all their pork products will now be Freedom Pork.
Freedom Food is a standard assessed by the RSPCA ensuring that livestock are treated with the utmost care. The organisation assesses all farmers who have the accreditation to check that they are keeping up standards. The guidelines cover feeding, environment, transport and slaughter.
The changes will see McDonald’s spend £25m on its pork products but the company have ensured consumers that there will be no price increases in their products as the costs will be absorbed by the business.
McDonalds say that they are responding to concerns by consumers who are becoming more and more concerned about where their food is coming from and the conditions in which livestock is reared.
Following past controversies about meat in McDonalds burgers the company came under increasing pressure to be transparent about the provenance of the meat used in its restaurants.
Recent marketing campaigns have focussed on the sustainability of its products; the fact that its trucks run on recycled vegetable oil, it uses potatoes grown in the UK and with images of well-kept British farms. The company has also focussed on the health elements of their products printing the nutritional content on the packaging all of their meals.
Warren Anderson, vice president of the supply chain at McDonald’s UK told the Meat Trades Journal:
“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.”
The RSPCA has welcomed this move and believe it is part of McDonald’s ongoing commitment to producing food from livestock which are well cared for. They hope that the move will see other restaurants making the same change and encourage farmers to improve the standards of care for pigs.
David Squair from RSPCA Freedom Food said: “Having one of the UK’s biggest restaurant chains serving only Freedom Food logoed pork on its menu marks a major milestone for animal welfare.”
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.”
The standards for Freedom Food pigs differ depending on whether the animals are reared inside or outside and so far McDonald’s have not confirmed how their pigs will be reared.
About one third of UK pork is currently Freedom Pork.