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environment | health

McDonald's demanding organic beef in its hamburgers by next year

Isn't it amazing when big business gets a clue?
Where's the Beef?
Organic Farming Results in Big Taste, Big Profits

By Bill Redeker

F O R T D A V I S, Texas, Oct. 18
Organic beef is selling briskly and ranchers Rocky Beavers and Jack Dees are profiting from it.

Beavers and Dees raise 100 percent organic cattle in the high plains of West Texas. They don't use pesticides and herbicides on their grass or feed, or growth hormones and antibiotics on their cattle.

"We became concerned about the implants, steroids, antibiotics in beef and began to look at other alternatives," said Dees.

Going organic is not easy. Calves must be born from organically raised mothers. And if a calf gets sick and needs antibiotics, ranchers must give it a different tag on its ear and send it through the conventional process. The calf is then no longer considered organic.

The federal organic rules, which are monitored by inspectors, are so strict that organic feed must be kept under lock and key to avoid tampering or contamination.

Even the slaughterhouse must be cleaned after processing conventionally raised cows. And an animal that is not born organic can never be converted to an organic animal.

Nutritionists suggest that organically raised beef may prevent the spread of diseases such as "mad cow" disease. But the Department of Agriculture makes no claims that the meat is safer or more nutritious.

Why Is It So Popular?

So why is demand outpacing supply? Why is McDonald's demanding organic beef in its hamburgers by next year?

Many shoppers say they choose organic beef because it gives them peace of mind due in part to marketing claims that it is better.

As one woman in a grocery store said, "It's fresh, it's good, I know where it's coming from."

But there is another reason: taste.

"The taste is delicious," said Mike Murphy, a chef in Ft. Davis, Texas who owns a restaurant and catering service, as he closed the lid of his grill barbecuing organic steaks. "It's a fresher taste."

That's because organic ranchers breed only cows that produce flavorful beef while keeping the fat content down.

But buying organic can be expensive. Organic beef costs 50 to 60 percent more than conventional beef, which explains how ranchers can afford all the organic expenses and still make a profit.

"We're talking somewhere between 20 and 30 percent profit margin," said Beavers. "I'll take it."

And the profit margin is why Beavers and Dees hope to triple the size of their 500-head herd in two years.

homepage: homepage: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/Living/organicbeef031018.html

OK 14.Nov.2003 22:17


Fat content maybre high but if they want organic beef let them use Dick, Colon and George W.

not organic 14.Nov.2003 22:39

Purple Punk

I'm pretty sure Dick, Colin, and Bush have used antibiotics before. ;)

Not sure that this belongs in 14.Nov.2003 23:38


the category "animal rights." Organic doesn't necessarily mean much more humane animal husbandry practices. Let's see McDonald's demand more humanely raised cows (there isn't such a thing as a humanely raised and slaughtered food cow, but it can definitely be better than it is now). Let's see the customers demand that too. As usual, most people are worried about their own health, not the lives of the animals they take.

i agree 15.Nov.2003 04:42

indy volunteer

This seems to be a health and environment issue. I will recategorize it as such.

Croc-er-if-ic 15.Nov.2003 09:25

jack in the pants

Wow MickyD's is really attempting to clean up their image; first a huge donation to Public Broadcasting Television and now organic burgers! What next, Ronald McDonald renouncing his anti-semitism?

now that they've changed what organic means 15.Nov.2003 09:45

they're fullofit


Organic is the new marketing craze...even the USDA now has the official federal stamp for organic foods, but nowadays the term is misleading--thanks to the lobbying efforts of industry in DC lately.

The federal standards for Organic meat are an example of how the fascists are turning terms like organic or earth-friendly into new marketing hooks.

Bush recently changed the rules governing organic meat: the organic cows may now consume non-organic feed and still be considered organic by the government and McDonalds. So when they say organic meat, they're full of McShit. But who really knows? Organic is all the rage.

It's kinda like chocolate-flavored candy: it's not chocolate at all...

PS...check out the cartoon meatrix...

No Credit Where Undue 15.Nov.2003 10:04

Den Mark

McShit did not give money to PBS. Mrs Kroc did. McShit The Corporation doesn't give a shit about anything but their profit margin.

Deja Vu 15.Nov.2003 14:35


I remember something just like this from McDeath in 1990 or '91. They took some bad PR hits about their proctices in the Brazilian rainforest and announced that they would no use "Rainforest Beef" to make their burgers... They started buying only "100% US Beef"... heh. Bush Sr. had changed the rules regarding what was US Beef to say that any beef bought in the US was now 100% US Beef. So McDeath got a middleman and bought the reclasified rainforest beef on american soil from another company. It is BULLSHIT. Ronald McDonald needs his teeth kicked in and every McDeath needs to be burned to the ground. Okay, we can leave one... we left Aushwits standing as a reminder right? Then we can start on Starbucks.
I am not saying that you should burn down a McDeath in your neighborhood because I don't condone the use of violence, drugs, or any religion other than Baptist. But what I AM saying is burn down a McDeath in your neighborhood. But don't use fire, cause then it would be arson. So, use fire. But not the hot kind.

Thoughts 15.Nov.2003 18:08

Bison Boy

To "lalalala":

It might have an impact on the conditions cattle are raised in. If they no longer use feedlots, that would be a huge help. The article does not say that they're dropping the use of feedlots, though. It sounds like they reserve the option to give a cow some antibiotics if they get sick in the feedlot, but if they do their profits on that animal are much reduced. Which will, hopefully, encourage ranchers to reduce their use of feedlots, and achieve some humanitarian gains. It's not a solution, but it is a step in the right direction.

To "they're fullofit":

Hey, you can hardly blame them for using "organic" as a meaningless buzzword. People here do the same thing with "fascist" all the time. :) If you demand precision in language, start being precise.

To "AA":

Let's not be beating up any Ronald clowns, eh? I happen to know one, and he's a very decent fellow. It's just a McJob.

bison restoration, not McCows 16.Nov.2003 14:05

more McShit lies

Bison restoration in the Great Plains is preferd to more McShit lies from McDonalds. If people really want to eat meat, they should go out and kill the animal themselves..

Bison grazing is healthier for the prairie ecosystem and would restore a species that were almost wiped out by European immigrants who hated indigenous people so much they killed thousands of bison and piled their dead bodies all over the Great Plains..

Now the Montana cattle ranchers (with help from US gov) are killing Yellowstone bison who migrate across the imaginary park boundaries. They claim fear of brucellosis from bison to cattle (not one case of transmission), but the truth is they don't like to share rangeland with the grazing bison..

Since McShit gets most of their McCows from former rainforest land, this doesn't totally apply, but the concept is the same. European invaders to North America have destroyed ecosytems in their hunger for beef. The same wanton destruction is happening in South America and Africa as rainforest is clear cut for cattle agribusiness. The alfalfa and corn grown to feed the cattle require the diversion of several major rivers..

McShit, Murder King, Arby's, Wendy's, Outrack Steakhouse, etc. are all causing the same problems by encouraging cattle consumption. The Earth is not infinite and cannot support the amount of beef consumed in America and other wealthy nations..

If we want to encourage desertification, by all means, eat beef every day. The children will inherit a dry planet devoid of forests, only scarred Earth from overgrazing..

"There are some 265 million acres of BLM and USFS lands. Eighty percent of these are grazed. These lands belong to ALL of the citizens of the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that grazing on these lands is not a right but a privilege. These lands produce only some 2% of the nation's forage for cattle. Public lands grazing costs the federal government a net loss of half a billion dollars annually in subsidies and damage costs exceed grazing receipts from ranchers. BLM, USFS and State Lands together make up 55% of Arizona. Eighty percent of these lands are grazed. When one adds grazed Indian lands in Arizona, much more than half of Arizona has systematically undergone desertification and destruction from livestock grazing over the last 130 years.

The impact of removing cattle from OUR public lands would have an invisible impact upon U.S. beef production. But it would have a highly visible impact upon our streams, soils and landscape vegetation.

In the accompanying "before" and "after" cattle grazing illustrations, note how the water table has dropped after livestock introduction. The illustration shows how the roots of the cottonwood, willows, and mesquite and other riparian vegetation are no longer able to reach the water table. Grazing with its destruction of native grasses and forbs causes rapid run-off following rainstorms. Rapid run-off prevents sufficient time for the water to percolate into the water table. In addition, groundwater pumping such as for livestock windmills and water catchments, and for irrigated fields for alfalfa and other cattle forage, are key factors in lowering water tables. Groundwater extraction adjacent to our desert watercourses causes reduction of in-stream flows, as well as lowering the water table and impacting riparian root zones (see illustrations). As a result, Arizona's once lush desert watercourses like the San Pedro, Verde, Salt, Gila, Bill Williams and Big Sandy Rivers have lost much of their native fish, wildlife and esthetic values. As the graphics show, these riparian areas are needed by the majority of Arizona's birds, mammals and other wildlife at some point in their life cycles.

Arizona once had many beautiful grassland habitats. They have now undergone desertification and become desert-scrub at best, and often simply moonscapes. Grassland species such as Grasshopper, Baird's, Botteri's, and Cassin's Sparrows, Montezuma Quail, Sprague's Pipit, and longspurs, are just a few avifauna that have suffered from the desertification and conversion of the Southwest's grasslands to desert wasteland."

From this site;

It's true...anyone who calls 16.Nov.2003 14:25


themselves an environmentalist must also stop eating meat. Even if you could give a McShit about the immense suffering of food animals, the damage that raising them causes is too immense. Non-vegan environmentalists: wise up, stop making excuses, and start living your professed values.