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Doesn't a lot of McDonalds beef come from outside the US?

Radley Balko

No, most of it comes from the U.S. And the U.S. refuses beef from countries that haven't implemented the ruminant feeding policy. Also, the U.S. no longer accepts beef imports from Britain, where nearly all BSE cases seem to be concentrated.


Fair enough... And I think I heard him recite the same bit during his movie.


As a side-note: The danger of BSE is another topic, but science can't determine why humans may be affected. So, BSE is a bit over-rated and not nearly as thouroughly exermined as one might belief (given the hysteria). We only know that it is possible for humans to get a version of Creutzfeld-Jacob, but the rest is still not determined.


McDonalds is very careful about who they buy beef from. They have hired the noted animal psychologist Temple Grandin to personally inspect every slaughterhouse with which they deal in order to confirm that cattle are handled in the least traumatic manner possible.


Now, let's not go over-the-top attributing degrees of PETA-friendliness to McDonalds.

They certainly don't certify the entire humane treatment history of cattle they buy at auction, for instance.

I don't criticize them for that, others might, but I wouldn't respond to Spurlock over-the-top rhetoric which rosey-eyed glossing in the opposite direction.

Processing of cattle is a bit of a gross business, at least to most who are unfamiliar with it. That's something I've become comfortable living with myself...


Um, McDonalds DOES buy beef from foreign sources (NZ and Australia among others), and admits doing so. [Source: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/f/foreignbeef.htm] BK does as well. Taco Bell, Wendy's and others buy up to 50% of their beef from foreign sources.

So now you'll tell me that McD's is sending noted animal psychologists to New Zealand and Australia and Argentina to check out cows as they're raised. Bullshit, as they say.

The practice you mention, ruminant feeding, was quite common. Luckily, now it's not.


Zach, perhaps you should read your link carefully. The link you provided (minus the stray endbracket, which breaks it) points out that McDonald's imports less than 1% of its beef from two countries (Australia and New Zealand) because there is not enough lean beef available in the US to satisfy the demand. Nothing about Argentina, and the Australian and New Zealand beef is subjected to the same rigid USDA standards as American beef.

As to ruminant feeding, it may or may not have been quite common at one point, but it was BANNED OUTRIGHT eight years ago in the US. It was banned in Australia in 1997 (nationwide; since the 1980s in most of the states), and in New Zealand since 2000 (a widely-respected voluntary ban had been in place since 1996). So, at least in the case of McDonald's, Spurlock is full of bovine excrement.


Ruminant feeding is, in law, forbidden. Is it in practice? Eric Schlosser, Sheldon Rampton and others (from whose work Spurlock's descends) have made a good case for 'No.'

The idea that McDonald's and its agribusiness partners are trustworthy, law-abiding corporate citizens is slightly Pollyannish. Aside from the USDA and the Dept. of Agriculture's (woefully enforced) regulations, there's not much between the corporate ranches'/slaughterhouses' whims and your dinner.

I also wonder if it's a benign omission, the absence of this page's metion of chicken and pig feed. Do we care if they're cannibalizing?


"Ruminant feeding is, in law, forbidden. Is it in practice? Eric Schlosser, Sheldon Rampton and others (from whose work Spurlock's descends) have made a good case for 'No.'"

Let us be the judge of that with links and specifics. Not that I expect them from your side, anymore than I expect credentials from grafiti artists.


>the absence of this page's metion of chicken and pig feed. Do we care if they're cannibalizing?

Since neither is a vector for BSE, it really doesn't matter what they are fed. In any case, the nervous systems of cattle and sheep (the source of the prions involved in BSE) are not used for feed of any sort.

The topic of this post was Spurlock's outright lies regarding what cattle are fed, not chickens or pork. It's not surprising that Mr. Balko made no mention of them in the post, because that is not germane to the rebuttal.

FWIW, there is also the Thermal Depolymerization solution to prions. There was a lengthy article in USA Today that addressed this issue.


As to your smear of corporate America in general and McDonald's in particular, Mr. Balko has made it clear that some of Spurlock's points are well-taken, and that sometimes McDonald's is at fault. He simply doesn't have your fairly obvious hostility to big business.


and of course, you get BSE/CKJ from eating the brain, spinal cord, etc., or contaminated meat. (Most Brits got it from beef cut by TRADITIONAL butchers, not industrial houses, due to cross contanimation.)

The dangerous parts of the cow are no longer used in the USA for human food.

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