The Irish and the Brits won't eat like Americans, it’s official.
This week McDonald's, whose US based franchises made the headlines in recent weeks for the use (and the sudden disavowal) of the so-called 'pink slime' treated meat product in their hamburgers, announced a new program for their Irish and British chains they call Farm Forward, a three-part program aimed at supporting farmers, improving the sustainability of their own supply chain.
According to a report in the Enviromentalleader.com the initiative includes a training program in sustainable farming practices for young farmers.
More established farmers will be provided with a 'carbon calculator' to measure their output and the impact of their work on the environment.
Additionally McDonalds will supply major funding for research and innovation to both the British and Irish agriculture sectors. The fast food will reportedly spend $1.5 million on the program in its first year.
McDonald’s is also reportedly partnering with Harper Adams University College, the University of Reading and Newcastle University to fund one-year courses where students will spend time at farms and factories that supply the restaurant chain, as well as at McDonald’s franchises throughout the UK and Ireland.
Brian Mullens, the senior vice president of McDonald’s U.K. supply chain, told the press he hopes the program will be 'a call to arms' that will inspire similar initiatives by other major food retailers.
Responding to public pressure McDonald’s last week announced that it will serve chicken sourced exclusively from U.K. farmers at this year’s London Olympics. McDonald’s says it expects to serve more than 30,000 metric tons of chicken at the 2012 games and before it responded to the public outcry had been planning to source the meat from farms as far away as Brazil, alongside U.K. farms.