Healthy food supporter Jamie Oliver took on the biggest fast food joint in the world, and he won.He managed to get the multi national corporation to admit that their burger meat was sub-standard and have vowed to change it.
Oliver highlighted how McDonald’s used ammonium hydroxide to ‘wash’ their beef before it was made into hamburgers, in order to make it fit for human consumption, without this stage the food would not have been legal to sell by nationwide standards. Meat that has not been treated in this way is usually used for dog and cat food.
The ammonium hydroxide is used as an anti-microbial agent which basically acts as a catalyst to turn ‘inedible’ meat into burgers.
“Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”
“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?”
Jamie Oliver has campaigned for years in the U.K for better food standards and to raise awareness for ‘healthy’ food. In one demonstration to children he showed them the process involved making chicken nuggets, using questionable parts of the chicken like the skin and the internal organs.
For years, fast food companies have gotten away with using sub-standard meat in their foods, but activists like Oliver are ringing in a change which means they no longer have anywhere to hide.
The McDonald’s website now states that their burgers do not contain the ammonium hydroxide-washed ‘beef filler’ but have declined to say whether or not the change was brought in due to Oliver’s campaign.
The meat ‘washing’ process was never used in McDonald’s in Latin America, the U.K or Ireland, only in U.S branches. There has been no explanation as to why this practice was carried out in some McDonald’s branches and not others. U.S McDonald’s customers have been understandably angered by the revelation, which suggests that some McDonald’s franchises made the choice to make their products healthier for their customers while others chose the sub-standard version.
Fast foods chains Burger King and Taco Bell both abandoned the ammonium hydroxide method of treating their meat far before McDonald’s did, why did they wait so long? One of the scariest part of this story is that because the ammonium hydroxide step was considered by the USDA as a “component in a production procedure” there was no requirement to state it on the ingredients list.