McDonald's app reveals cow your burger came from in transparency drive
Australian customers of fast food chain McDonald's can now track the progress of a meal from the herd of cattle that become meat in their burgers to the restaurant where they are served, all through a smartphone app.
The "Track My Macca's" app, which uses the Australian nickname for McDonald's, currently tracks some of the chain's most popular products, including the Big Mac, McChicken burger, Filet-O-Fish, and three, six or 10 packs of Chicken McNuggets.
It also reveals the supply chain of the fast food giant's french fries.
Track My Macca's uses a customer's location and a scanned QR code (mobile barcode) on the side of a burger's container, along with the date and time, to tell users its source and where the meat in it was processed before being cooked onsite.
Users can then listen to a "real meat story" from a farmer, and accounts from bakers and fishermen who supply the chain with ingredients for their products.
McDonald's currently employs more than 85,000 people in Australia, and has 780 branches in the country.
The fast food chain has gone on a global transparency drive since a number of scandals in the last two decades over the health effects of eating its food.
These included criticism from vegetarians in the early 1990s that McDonald's were not honest about beef flavouring used in their french fries, and the effect of 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which American filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald's meals for a month and gained two stone, risked liver damage and suffered mood swings and decreased libido.
A McDonald's spokeswoman told The Telegraph the company had no plans to launch a similar app in the UK.
She said: "Track my Macca's is a purely Australian thing.
"We have our own McDonald's app [in Britain], with a restaurant locator and information on nutritional content."
The Track My Macca's iPhone app was launched in January and is available to Australian iPhone and iPad users until the end of June.