McDonald’s to clear up ‘confusion’ over Olympic sourcing

FAST food chain McDonald’s has reiterated its commitment to British farming after revealing it will only use British chickens at its Olympic outlets this summer.

The food giant said it wanted to clear up the ‘confusion’ over its sourcing policy, following criticism by, among others, the NFU.

“Recent comments made on this topic have, in our opinion, created some confusion in the minds of our customers about our commitment to British farming and to the Games,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said. 

“We are a proud partner of the London 2012 Games and have been a good customer of British farming for decades. We spend over £300 million each year on our UK supply chain, purchasing from thousands of farmers across a wide range of categories from beef to free range eggs.”

The company said it had decided to only serve British chicken in its four restaurants at the London 2012 Olympics. It said this would come from its existing UK supply and had been made possible as it has recently increased the volumes of British chicken breast meat it sources.

The move follows criticism from the NFU. The union’s head of food chain Lee Woodger pointed out in January that, as an Olympic partner organisation, McDonald’s is officially exempt from the requirements of the London 2012 Food Vision. Agreed between the Games organisers, the Games’ food providers and stakeholder organisations, the Vision requires food served at the Games to meet British Red Tractor standards of production.

Mr Woodger had warned that, with McDonald’s importing around 90 per cent of its chicken, the chicken served at the Games was unlikely to be British.

But Mr Woodger said this week that he was ‘delighted to hear McDonald’s has listened to our concerns’.

“We have worked hard to ensure that the Games can create a lasting catering legacy and this decision enhances the value of the Olympics Food Vision, underpinned by UK Red Tractor standards,” he said.

“We acknowledge the high standards within the McDonald’s supply chain and that it procures a significant amount of the food it sells from UK farmers, such as pork, eggs and milk which are all 100 per cent British.

“We will continue to support McDonald’s in looking to increase the proportion of UK chicken and beef it sources across the whole business.”

Red Tractor chief executive David Clarke said: “We are delighted that McDonald’s has committed to source 100 per cent Red Tractor Assured chicken for The Olympic Games.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase Red Tractor assured chicken in not only the world’s largest chain of quick service restaurants, but in the largest peace-time catering operation in the world. We look forward to working with McDonald’s in the future.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • McDonald's will supply all british chicken to it's four outlets at the games, by switching supply from other UK outlets. This practice happens all of the time. No fast food, slow food or food retailers can guarantee British supply - we (the producer), due to the very tight regulations that we enjoy, are just not able to produce enough British food to satisfy every oultet.

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  • The British should follow the example of the French.
    Not happy with the way in France that McD were not using French produce, farer/activist Jose Bovee (spelling?) drove a bulldozer in one door of his local McD and out the other.
    After that it was only French produce at all of their outlets. :)

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