Between the push for healthier diets and Canada's recent E. coli beef recall, it's easy to imagine McDonald's execs getting a little sweaty under the collar.
So in an attempt to reassure consumers that their burgers dens have always been 100 per cent 'pink-slime' free, McDonald's Canada has released a timely, PR-savvy video that claims their burgers are made of beef and nothing but. The video (seen above) is part of McDonald's larger Our Food. Your Questions campaign.
The short clip, fronted by Jeff Kroll, the fast food monolith's supply chain senior VP, addresses a question from a concerned citizen who wants to know if the company is rinsing their beef in ammonia or other chemicals to offset the presence of e-coli - a process which has given this type of processed beef the name 'pink slime'.
Standing in Spruce Grove, Alberta's Cargill meat processing plant where McDonald's Canada gets its patties produced, a goggles-and-safety-helmet-clad Kroll provides his response.
"I can assure you that we don't use ammonia in our beef. In fact… it's illegal in Canada and there's no other chemicals that are used," he affirms.
In perhaps the video's most apt question, a viewer named Micah G. wonders whether "100 per cent beef" means the entire cow gets used — hoofs, eyeballs and all, as the popular legend goes.
"There's absolutely no additives, no fillers, no chemicals," Kroll emphasizes, taking viewers on a slightly grotesque visual tour of the meat grinding process. Although it's important to note that the quality of the meat never really gets addressed.
The "Our Food. Your Questions" campaign is a smart one, though, coming at a time when public scrutiny over fast food practices is at a high.
As the world's most recognized fast food brand, McDonald's tends to bear the brunt of the negative attention, and therefore runs the greatest risk of hurting their bottom line.
And its bad rap is not without good cause either. While the pink slime furor took place south of the border, McDonald's recently came under fire in the U.K. for promoting its sugary Fruitizz drink as equivalent to one of the daily recommended fruit and vegetable servings.
Plus, once you've seen the ingredients list of a Chicken McNugget, it cannot be unseen.
But the company's Canadian offshoot appears to be taking these health concerns a bit more seriously, opening up a line of communication and offering a transparency not yet present in the U.S. market.
That's not to say a Big Mac combo is good for you, just that an effort is being made to listen to the public.
And compared to some of the stuff we unwittingly consume in our other food choices, there's far more than one meal to get angry about.