McDonald's launches major transparency drive to tackle 'pink slime' rumours

McDonald's US is launching a transparency drive that sets out to answer the public's questions about its food and methods.

McDonald's: takes questions on slime
McDonald's: takes questions on slime

The hamburger chain is confronting difficult questions as part of a campaign entitled "our food, your questions" aimed at dispelling myths that exist about its food. The initiative is primarily taking place in the company’s flagship US market, supported by TV ads there but is driven on social media and is unlikely to be contained to a US-only audience. It first aired in Canada earlier this year.

Most of the cattle we get our beef from are treated with added hormones

The first issues the push tackles are widely circulated pictures, which show horrors such as, "pink slime" and videos of burgers remaining intact for months or even years. On a specially created webpage questions are drawn in from social media and replies posted. Some elicit extensive responses explaining farming methods and others such as: "Does McDonald's beef contain worms?" receive swift rebuffs: " No. Gross! End of story."

Despite posting a pic of the infamous "pink slime" denying it was used in any McDonald's food, the question on the webpage: "Have you ever used so-called 'pink slime' in your burgers?" is answered: "Yes, we used Lean Finely Textured Beef between 2004 and 2011. We do not use this today."

Other direct questions, such as: "Does your beef contain hormones?" are met with frank answers, the response to that query being: "Most of the cattle we get our beef from are treated with added hormones, a common practice in the US that ranchers use to promote growth."

The company has also hired Grant Imahara, former host of the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, as part of the campaign. Imahara will appear in a series of videos as he travels across America visiting McDonald’s suppliers and restaurants.

Additionally, the doors to a McDonald’s food plant in Fresno, California were thrown open to cameras from Good Morning America, allowing scenes showing production methods to be filmed.

Speaking to Good Morning America, Kevin Newell, chief brand and strategy officer, McDonald's USA said: "This is being done to address the questions, the comments and the concerns of our customers. It's not linked to the business performance at all. It's linked to making sure that our customers truly know the story about McDonald's food."

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