Several reports in the US media suggested the decision was linked with the campaign led by UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has been fighting against the use of ‘pink slime’ – or cuts normally unfit for human consumption – that are disinfected with the chemical and added to mince in retail, foodservice and school meals.
However, McDonald’s released a statement saying the discontinuation of the product in its restaurants was only due to a commitment to quality and food safety.
“At McDonald’s, the quality and safety of the food we serve our customers is a top priority. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world. We are always reviewing and evolving our standards to ensure we continue to serve safe, high-quality food to our customers,” said Todd Bacon, senior director of quality systems at the fast-food chain.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the use of ammonia in ground beef is safe, and there is no legal requirement to mention its presence on the label.