What are hamburgers actually made of? “Imagine an unfortunate exile, then imagine an angel appearing suddenly from transcendental distances and placing in front of the traveler a huge piece of selected beef fillet, about 4 cm thick. Bursting with heat, sprinkled with allspice, adorned with melting pieces of butter of the very first freshness and covered with the precious drops of meat juice dripping onto the sizzling pan and dissolving in the gravy.
This was Mark Twain’s reaction in 1880 to the difficulties faced in Europe by this American, accustomed to beef from childhood (“Wanderings Abroad”).
As I understand it! Being also a true “meat” soul, all my 30 years I have always trembled at the sight of a juicy steak, fresh chop or chopped cutlet.
It is my deep conviction that after almost a century and a half, beef can rightfully be considered the best meat. Like it or not, this is the most popular meat in the world. And the most discussed: I very often hear from my acquaintances and friends where you can eat meat dishes, and where not. But few of us are interested in how solid these conclusions are.
For example, about McDonald’s restaurants, there are a lot of reviews with prejudice … But I’m used to making sure of everything myself. So today I will either come to terms with the fact that “the meat there is so-so”, or I will refute this belief.
The thing is, I’m going to visit McComplex is a plant that manufactures products for all McDonald’s restaurants in Russia. And accordingly – to look with my own eyes at what then turns out to be in my hamburger.
Makkompleks was built 18 years ago. Its main activity is aimed at the continuous production of meat cutlets, buns, pies, in general – the main products that we see and eat at McDonald’s.
The tour of the McComplex began with the fact that I was asked to put on disposable shoe covers, a hairnet, a white coat and was also instructed to fill out a questionnaire in which I had to indicate whether I was a carrier of contagious diseases and infections.
Since our topic today is MEAT, namely beef, I will omit the details describing the rest of the products … So we will pay close attention to the production of cutlets.
I, as a person who simply adores beef, I know that it should be a juicy red color, have a pleasant smell of fresh meat, and of course, a delicate fibrous structure.
The best varieties of beef are the meat of large, but young cattle. The most valuable is the meat of 20-month-old, well-fed animals.
Actually, Makkompleks does not supply meat from animals older than two years. I will not hide: I was simply delighted to see the meat that gets into the hamburgers that I periodically have lunch. Only 100% beef is used in the production of cutlets! So the McDonald’s cutlet is only selected meat and no additives.
On the production line, the meat is ground in large meat grinders. Each batch of minced meat is tested for fat content. Then the minced meat enters the molding machines, where cutlets are made from it with strictly specified parameters (weight, diameter, thickness) according to the specification.
Moreover, this is possible only at a certain temperature of minced meat during molding. In this case, it is possible to form a cutlet from pure meat – without any binding additives. Then cutlets on the conveyor belt immediately enter the shock freezer with a temperature of -43-53 C.
Fast freezing process for 90-120 seconds, developed by McDonald’s to preserve the quality and freshness of the meat.
“McComplex” has revealed a few more details that are related to meat. I was told almost everything about McDonald’s beef suppliers. I learned that the most advanced enterprises in Russia, Lithuania, Brazil, Germany and Italy supply raw meat to Makkompleks.
All enterprises have developed and implemented a Food Safety Plan (HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), which controls all stages of the production process, from the transportation and acceptance of animals to the meat processing plant, the stages of slaughter, deboning, and ending with the packaging and delivery of finished products.
This system is reviewed and adjusted at least once a year by specialists of meat processing plants, taking into account the recommendations of specialists from the quality control department of McDonald’s Russia and the European Security Manager of McDonald’s, VNIIS (All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Certification and Standardization), as well as taking into account requirements of independent audit companies, for example, the English company EFSIS.
As part of the requirements of the MAAP (“McDonald’s Agricultural Assurance Program”) system, feedlots (farms) have developed a special set of standards and rules that guarantee the quality and safety of the supplied raw materials. Representatives of meat-packing plants visit fattening enterprises in order to verify compliance with IAAP requirements.
Now I will try to explain in a nutshell how McDonald’s relates to the entire production process. In order for beef to get to one of the McDonald’s meat processing plants as a future hamburger patty, the supplier must comply with a significant number of standards, which are a whole package of six documents!
Having learned the conditions for keeping animals at any of these enterprises, you can simply not believe it. Starting from air circulation standards, dust levels, temperature, air humidity and gas concentrations, and ending with lighting.
They also told me about all the technological processes that accompany the meat from the beginning of its journey to the direct entry into the kitchen of the restaurant – the scale is amazing!
Just a huge number of different checks at all levels, the absolute inadmissibility of any even minimal flaws. You will be surprised, but at McDonald’s you can trace the “pedigree” of every cutlet in every sandwich.
I care about my health, my appearance, so I needed to know that every meat patty at McDonald’s is made from 100% beef, that the semi-finished meat product is simply peppered and salted during cooking, and that they will offer me a sandwich at the McDonald’s restaurant, which will be stored after cooking for no more than 10 minutes.
Well, from now on I am absolutely calm, which is what I wish you! Any of you can be convinced of the quality of meat at McDonald’s, if you have a desire … Or maybe you can continue to listen to legends and myths about hybrid hamburgers, genetically modified potatoes, etc. In general, the choice is yours!
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