Industry News | June 12, 2008

Moms Tour a McDonald’s U.S. Poultry Facility

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Recently, the Moms’ Quality Correspondents became the first customers to tour a McDonald’s U.S. poultry facility for Chicken McNuggets and other premium chicken menu items. The tour took place at Keystone Foods, which has been a McDonald’s supplier partner since 1969 and helped develop the first Chicken McNugget in the early 1980’s. The moms were granted unprecedented access to learn how their families’ favorite chicken menu items are made, including Chicken McNuggets and the new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Sandwich.

“My kids are big fans of Chicken McNuggets," says Monica Fuentes, Moms’ Quality Correspondent and mother of three children ages eight, five, and three. “Before the tour, I had been told that McDonald's Chicken McNuggets are made with all white meat but I wanted to learn more about the entire production process to feel better about the food I'm feeding my family.”

Throughout the tour, the moms met with McDonald’s Supply Chain and Quality Assurance teams, as well as experts from Keystone Foods who support the fully integrated process from farm to fork.

Beginning their tour at Keystone’s hatchery, the moms learned about food quality and safety protocols, including incubation operations and traceability--the process used to trace chicken menu items in restaurants all the way back to the egg. They also learned about McDonald’s stringent animal welfare practices, in place to ensure safe handling of the birds. The moms then visited a broiler farm to witness how the chickens are cared for, fed, and nurtured until fully grown. Keystone Foods representatives also discussed with the moms the bio-security measures that are taken to ensure McDonald's strict food safety standards are met.

On the second day of the tour, the moms visited the food production facility where they saw first-hand how the meat used to make Chicken McNuggets is carved from boneless, white meat chicken breasts. The same white meat is used in all McDonald's premium chicken menu items including premium chicken salads and sandwiches as well as snack wraps.

To ensure consistent quality, all McDonald's chicken products undergo continuous sensory testing, a comprehensive quality monitoring process that ensures McDonald's high standards are being achieved throughout the manufacturing process. Chicken McNuggets, for example, are sampled every hour for quality and safety evaluations. New products like Southern Style Chicken are tested every half hour. Each of the moms had an opportunity to conduct her own sensory testing of the Chicken McNuggets, including the best part of the evaluation--tasting.

Throughout the tour, representatives from Keystone Foods discussed their compliance to McDonald’s quality expectations, which requires all supply chain partners to agree to a series of yearly, independent third-party audits.

The moms who participated in the trip will post videos, photos, and journal entries chronicling their experience on www.mcdonaldsmoms.com. Consumers can register to join the McDonald’s online Quality Community to receive regular updates from the Moms' Quality Correspondents and submit their own questions.