A spokesman for the fast-food chain confirmed that it will increase the proportion of UK-sourced chicken across its the four venues at the London Olympics to 100%.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We have taken the decision to only serve British chicken in our four restaurants at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This will come from our existing UK supply and is possible because of the recent increase in volumes of British chicken breast meat that we have been purchasing.”
The change of heart has come after criticism in the UK press and pressure from environmental groups – including the environmental candidate for the Mayor of London elections – after it transpired that McDonald’s was set to follow its usual sourcing procedure for the Olympic venues.
Usually, around 10% of the chicken served in McDonald’s restaurants in the UK comes from British farms, 60% from Western Europe and the remainder from Thailand and Brazil.
Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) had defended McDonald’s sourcing policy, despite LOCOG’s previous pledge to use meat from farms covered by the Red Tractor farm assurance scheme wherever possible. LOCOG had said it is committed to hosting the most sustainable Olympic Games in the event’s history.
Red Tractor CEO David Clarke welcomed the decision. He said: “We are delighted that McDonald’s has committed to source 100% 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.
“It’s great news that LOCOG has recognised the importance of delivering quality, traceable food. I believe that this will establish a great legacy for the UK food industry to ensure that assured food continues to receive the level of support and recognition that it rightfully deserves.”
The Red Tractor food assurance scheme was created in 2000 to give UK products an independent guarantee of high standards within food production. It ensures that the product is produced and processed to strict standards, and covers food safety and hygiene, environmental protection and animal welfare issues, as well as offering full traceability from farm to pack.
McDonald’s Olympic Park restaurants will be the largest of the chain’s stores, capable of seating over 1,500 people.