This tour of the company's Ontario, CA facility, was led by Plant Manager, Bob Mitchell. Bob's new $22-million facility cranks out 14.4 million buns per week! Nancy was joined by visiting nutritionists and they saw it all.
One segment of the tour was led by McDonald's head of U.S. Supply Chain Management, Todd Bacon. Quoting from Nancy's report, "Bacon, who holds a doctorate in "meat science," discussed the strict controls and guidelines McDonald's places on vendors and suppliers. Rules apply for just about any kind of scenario along the food chain — from how to treat a sick broiler chicken to requiring hot buns to pass through metal detectors." Good stuff.
This report includes a very interesting slide show (pix snapped by Nancy). It is worth the read. You'll even grab an awesome trivia point: How many sesame seeds adorn a sesame seed bun? The answer is in the slide show.
In Part 2 of the two-part series, titled, McDonald's: Let-tuce Assure You of Quality, Nancy visits lettuce supplier Taylor Farms, in California's Salinas Valley. She opens her story with, "I will never look at a McDonald's salad the same way again."
Nancy is no stranger to food safety and related health issues. As a reporter, she has covered this beat for years. She has a keen eye for the issue. So, impressing her is quite a feat. Nancy reports, "Taylor's safety reputation is considered to be the "gold standard" of the Salinas Valley with its plant subject to 62 audits a year."
According to Nancy, "We saw everything from the hearty green leaf lettuces used in Angus burgers to delicate, red oaks found in the chain's entree salads."
Nancy was joined by other industry professionals on this tour and shared this:
Mary Barbour, a Los Angeles dietitian and tour participant, said she was impressed by the level of care taken "at every stage" of the growing and packing process. She also noted that the spring mix varieties mirrored selections used in salads found at top, fine-dining restaurants.
"The next time I'm craving a gourmet salad, I'll go to McDonalds knowing the quality of care that is placed in every serving," she told me after the tour.
For more on Nancy's detailed experience at the farm, read the second part of her story. A slide show accompanies this segment, too.
The McChronicles really appreciates the effort that Nancy invested to capture and deliver this excellent two-part story. We also appreciate McDonald's increasingly open and transparent stance regarding sharing information with the public. Name another fast food purveyor that even comes close to this level of openness.
Images: Nancy Luna.