McDonald’s only announced one of the biggest menu changes in years


A Quarter Pounder burger. (Courtesy of McDonald’s Corporation around AP)

McDonald’s announced a vital change to a Quarter Pounder today: By subsequent year, it will enclose uninformed — rather than solidified — beef patties.


The proclamation comes after a year of commander tests during locations in Dallas and Tulsa. The switch to uninformed beef has been hyped as a chain’s “most extreme menu change in decades.” It comes in response to consumer final for fresher mixture — that has seen many spin to brands like Wendy’s and Five Guys, that publicize a fact that their burgers are never frozen.

But while “fresh” might interest to consumers, it also carries risks — risks finished apparent in a barbarous E. coli conflict during Chipotle. When a investment organisation Nomura surveyed 27 franchisees representing 200 McDonald’s locations during uninformed beef trials final summer, several voiced concerns about augmenting a risk of foodborne illness by switching from solidified to fresh.

“If we do not hoop a beef ideally there is a event for bacterial advance of a product,” one wrote.

“An uncaring worker [could do] something that puts a whole complement during risk,” pronounced another.

Chains like McDonald’s have traditionally minimized these risks by rarely standardized, centralized systems that extent a series of people who can incidentally pervert food or desecrate it in a approach that leads to micro-organism growth. Produce is chopped in executive kitchens where it can be tested for microbes and — crucially for McDonald’s subsequent large step — burgers arrive frozen, a state that retards E. Coli growth. They are stored in freezers until a impulse they go on a grill, and those griddle tops will not recover until a patty has been on a feverishness for a certain period.

It is, as Donald Schaffner, an prolongation dilettante in food scholarship during Rutgers University, told a Post in January, a complement that has “engineered tellurian frailty out.”

By switching to uninformed patties, however, McDonald’s is adding a tiny volume of tellurian frailty behind in. For reserve reasons, uninformed beef can't enclose even snippet amounts of E. coli when it leaves a production facility, pronounced Bill Marler, a food-safety counsel who has been concerned in lawsuit opposite McDonald’s and several other restaurants.

While solidified severely slows E. coli growth, a germ greaten fast during room temperature.  And during no indicate can a worker flipping your uninformed burger leave it unrefrigerated.

“If we was them, we would ramp adult a training for a people doing a food,” Marler said. “They’ve got to keep it in a fridge. If we smoke-stack 30 patties out while you’re cooking when it’s 70 or 80 degrees in a kitchen, you’re going to have germ growth. And that could be a problem.”

Marler cautions, however, that a risk is really tiny — so small, in fact, that he’s not worried. And that says a lot about a extensive gains that sequence restaurants and a beef attention have finished when it comes to food safety.

The emanate has been an attention priority given 1993, when a aria of E. coli found in Jack in a Box burgers killed 6 children and hospitalized some-more than 170, pronounced Juelene Beck, a former clamp boss during Burger King, speaking to a Post in January. In a issue of that tragedy — that stirred a series of lawsuits and a inhabitant cheer — suppliers extremely beefed adult their in-house contrast practices, and bondage like Donald’s ramped adult oversight.

“The beef attention has finished a conspicuous pursuit putting me out of business,” joked Marler, who has seen his burger-related cases collapse to roughly nothing.

As a result, E. coli decay in restaurant-served beef is relatively singular today. Restaurants like Wendy’s have grown complex supply bondage and review procedures to accommodate uninformed beef. That  may explain because McDonald’s feels assured creation a switch now, after several decades with solidified meat.

McDonald’s isn’t holding a thrust all during once. This switch relates usually to a Quarter Pounder, definition that a beef used in many of McDonald’s other burgers, including a Big Mac, will still come frozen. So will many of a chain’s other offerings, including fries and McNuggets.

When can we design to see those products boiled adult uninformed in stores?

McDonald’s says usually that it is “accelerat[ing] a gait of change around how we source and offer a food” — and that, cryptically, “we’re only removing started.”

More from Wonkblog:

Why a FDA hides a names of grocery stores that sell infested food

You’re about to see a large change in a sell-by dates on food

The apple that never browns wants to change your mind about genetically mutated foods


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