McDonald’s Switches to 100% Grass-fed Beef

by | Apr 1, 2009


UPDATE: April Fools!

Fast food mega-chain McDonald’s has just announced it will be making all its burgers from 100% grass-fed beef by the end of 2010.

McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of beef in the United States, serving more than 47 million customers daily. Since the company was founded in 1940, their beef has been supplied by feedlot livestock raised predominantly on a diet of corn and soy. As the first major fast food chain to make the shift away from traditional corn-fed beef, McDonald’s is hoping to be a leader in a new era of responsible fast food.

A spokesman for the company says the effort is motivated by consumer demand for safer, healthier products, as well as concern for the environment.

“The nation is ready for change and McDonald’s wants to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

The new grass-fed cattle used by McDonald’s will also be free of antibiotics, which are only necessarily when livestock are artificially fattened on grains. Grass-fed cows are healthier and do not produce as much toxic waste as cows reared on feedlots, but they also mature more slowly. As a result, more time and money are required to raise grass-fed cows. McDonald’s acknowledges that this will result in a substantial 40% increase in the price of their burgers, but believes consumers are willing to pay for the added health and safety.

“Consumers are nervous about the increasingly dangerous problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that results when livestock are given large amounts of drugs, as they are on feedlots. By switching to grass-fed beef, we believe McDonald’s can play a substantial role in reducing this risk.”

The company is also aware of the positive impact this move may have on greenhouse gas emissions. It has been reported that nearly 20% of all greenhouse gases are produced by cattle, even more than are produced by automobiles and transport. They are hoping that their move away from corn-fed beef will encourage more environmentally friendly practices by the beef industry.

This new project is part of an ongoing effort by McDonald’s to offer more high-quality, environmentally friendly items to consumers. McDonald’s began serving organic milk in the U.K. in 2003 and premium coffee was added to U.S. menus in 2006. But the switch to grass-fed beef is by far the most significant “green” change any fast food chain has made to date.

The shift has only been announced for U.S. restaurants, but insiders suggest grass-fed beef may reach global consumers by 2012.

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27 Responses to “McDonald’s Switches to 100% Grass-fed Beef”

  1. Scott says:

    This can’t be true. Where is your normal back-linking to the original article? I can’t find any other articles about this at all on the internet.

  2. Sam says:

    Happy April Fool’s day to you, too 🙂

  3. Tana Butler says:


    This is like the time I posted, three or four years ago, about Monsanto offering me a part-time, six-figure job as a liaison between small farmers and their company. I couldn’t believe how many of my readers took me at my word. I vowed no more April Fool’s jokes again.

    : D

  4. doug says:

    I heard that they’re also replacing their fleet of trucks to ship their products around with toyota priuses.

  5. Scott says:

    Lol nice one!

  6. Somehow I doubt they will complete this by 2010 and if they do I imagine there will be some kind of shortcuts or loopholes. Am I too cynical?

    Now I just heard on NPR yesterday that grass-fed cattle produce more methane that corn-fed, making grass-fed beef an even larger environmental issue. What do you think about that? I feel like the truth is getting twisted up and I just have to remember that the best answer always seems to be to do whatever is most naturally occurring in nature. And that is cows grazing on grass.

  7. Jed says:

    I love it. Subtle, but well done. You should send it off to McD’s corporate hq 🙂

  8. tbone says:

    It doesn’t matter if the cow was fed corn or grass, if it wasn’t treated to sake and massaged daily then it isn’t good enough for my consumption.

    And global warming should be promoted! Melting of the artic would open a great norther sea passage and warmer climates would make certain regions more hospitable.

  9. Matt Shook says:

    Very clever Darya…;)

  10. Oh man. Hook, line and sinker. I fall for anything 🙂

  11. Greg says:

    I like your picture. Made the article so much more believable, till I read the comments……

  12. Scott says:

    I knew all along that this was a farce.

  13. Mike says:

    Just imagine if this were true though. I’d be eating every meal at McDonalds!!!!

  14. someguy says:

    This is only funny on April Fools Day. Not funny when someone is actually trying to find facts on the Internet years later.

    • Darya Pino says:

      And yet I still find myself laughing…. 😉

      • someguy says:

        I’m just a spoiled Manhattanite who was looking for a late night hamburger made from grass-fed beef. I was hoping McDonalds made the switch, but I guess not.

        A burger chain that just opened up a block away from me, Elevation Burger, serves hamburgers made from 100% grass-fed, free-range beef. Their burgers are good, so I thought I’d give them a plug.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Haha, amazing. Well glad you found a good burger spot. I couldn’t live without my favorite joint in SF. But just FYI, with the amount of cows Mickey D’s goes through every year it would be physically impossible for them to switch to grass-fed. There just isn’t enough land or real cows (by orders of magnitude).

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