U.S. Burger Chains are Buying Foreign BeefTruth!



Summary of eRumor:

The writer of the eRumor accuses McDonald’s and Burger King of making the unpatriotic decision to start purchasing beef from foreign sources and urges a boycott.  

Another version adds to this by saying that some of the beef is being purchased from South American.

The Truth:

Burger King says this is nothing new and that it has been purchasing beef from Australia and New Zealand for years.

McDonald’s says it is conducting an experiment to use beef from Australia and New Zealand, but it is a small test involving less than 1 percent of its beef purchases.  

Contrary to the eRumor, there is a documented shortage of lean beef in the United States, according to McDonald’s, and that is why they are doing the test.

In a statement sent to TruthOrFiction.com, McDonald’s says it is the biggest buyer of beef in the U.S., using more than one billion pounds per year.  (Burger King is second biggest.) McDonald’s says that any foreign beef purchased is 100% USDA-approved and inspected.  According to the statement, most major quick service restaurant chains including Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Carl’s Jr. have used or are now using a significant percentage of imported beef, up to 50 percent.

In the second version (below), the writer says that McDonald’s is claiming that there isn’t enough beef in the U.S. to serve their needs.  That is not exactly accurate.  McDonald’s is saying there is a shortage of lean beef.  Also, in the second version, the burger chains are described as buying beef from South America and then the writer criticizes some of the standards regarding beef in South America.  None of the major chains has said anything about buying beef from South America.

last updated 07/16/02

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Example #1

Like our U.S. economy wasn’t hit hard enough with the events of the past
9 months, what with companies cutting back, moving offshore, and people
cutting their spending. NOW our good ole McDonalds and Burger King
chains have lost THEIR patriotism. Both chains are piloting a new plan
to use IMPORTED beef, instead of using American beef.

Is there a shortage of American beef, you ask? NO!

Isn’t there a concern about Mad Cow Disease in many countries’ beef?

So WHY is this plan being piloted? I don’t know, but I can tell you if
it continues and spreads to each location of both chains, which is the
plan, it will deal another ugly blow to our farmers, and our economy.

What can we do? First off, tell everyone you know that this is
happening. And if you know someone in management of either of these
chains, let them know that you would prefer that they not continue with
this plan, that they instead show their support for OUR country by
continuing to buy American beef. Seems that “buy American” means nothing
to them unless it lines THEIR pockets. You can boycott these chains if
you want, but they have to know that we don’t approve of this new plan,
and I believe telling them will be the first step. Then, if they don’t
listen, boycotting them will be the next step. The rank and file
employees may not even know, but I am sure the management does, as this
pilot is taking place in selected restaurants of both chains now.
Pass this along. Support America.

Example #2

 McDonald’s claims that there is not enough beef in the USA to support
 restaurants. Well we know that is not so. Our opinion is they are
 looking to save money at our expense. The sad thing of it is that the
 of the USA are the ones who made McDonalds successful in the
 first place, but we are not good enough to purchase beef from. We
 are no longer eating at McDonalds, which I am sure does not
 make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an impact
 felt. Please pass it on.
 Just to add a note, all Americans that sell cows at a livestock auction
 had to sign a paper stating that we do NOT EVER feed our cows any
 part of another cow. South Americans are not required to do this as of
 McDonalds has announced that they are going to start importing much of
 beef from South America. The problem is that South Americans
 aren’t under the same regulations as American beef producers and the
 regulations they have are loosely controlled.
 They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures that have been banned
 here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can
 also use various hormones and growth regulators that we can’t. The
 public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may be
 putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old McDonalds.
 American ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the world and this is
 what Americans deserve to eat. Not beef from countries where quality
 is loosely controlled. Therefore I am proposing a boycott of McDonalds
 they see the light. I’m sorry but everything is not always about the
 bottom line, and when it comes to jeopardizing my family’s health that is
 where I draw the line.
 I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to
 least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) … and those 300 send it to at least
 ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) … and so on, by the time the message reaches
 the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE
 MILLION consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to
 ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If
 it goes one level further, you guessed it….. THREE HUNDRED MILLION
 Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all. I’ll bet
 you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you? Acting
 together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you, please pass
 this message on.

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