Unfrozen Beef Could Trigger Food Safety Disaster at McDonald’s

Franchisees of the company have voiced their concerns over the fresh beef push

Wikimedia Commons / McDonald's

The Golden Arches are flirting with fresh meat.

Consumers want McDonald’s to swap out frozen beef for fresh beef patties. However, the people running McDonald’s restaurants could not be more opposed to the idea.

A recent survey by Nomura of McDonald’s franchisees highlighted potential problems with a switch to fresh beef. For starters, it would limit the speed of serving the burgers. More dangerously, though, it could lead to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

One respondent fears the meat must be handled perfectly in order to eliminate a risk of bacterial invasion in the beef. Another laid out a scarier scenario: Highlighting McDonald’s position as the biggest and most popular fast-food chain in the world, the respondent said, “We are the lightning rod. Chipotle will be a walk in the park if we have an incident.”

Considering that new research shows that it will take Chipotle a very long time to regain the trust of its customers, such an incident would be disastrous for McDonald’s.

McDonald’s franchisees also worry that such a move could be a distraction from their recent surge. Since it came up with the brilliant idea to offer Egg McMuffins all day, every day, sales have boomed and McDonald’s stock is up nearly 30 percent.

Some say that using fresh beef might enhance the perception of the chain in consumers’ eyes and lead to further healthy initiatives.

However, the majority point to the fact that it is the people who already do not eat at McDonald’s pushing for this change. Loyal customers do not care about the change, and more importantly, those who do not come won’t be enticed into eating at McDonald’s by the promise of fresh beef.

In other words, McDonalds’ fresh beef may be “purely a marketing move” — but one with potentially disastrous consequences.

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