Farm Ireland

Monday 19 March 2018

McDonald's target greener beef burgers with major study of Irish cattle suppliers

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

One hundred Irish beef farms are to take part in a major study by fast food giant McDonald's, who are aiming to cut greenhouse gases in beef production.

Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhaunis will each nominate 50 farms to take part in the three-year study, which will begin in April.

Another 250 farms in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England will also take part in the American company's study.

All 350 farms currently supply McDonald's and will be audited in April.

The project, being run by the European supply arm of the US giant, will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting energy use on farms, increasing feed usage and improving growth rates in cattle. The overall aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of beef production.

When complete, the results of the investigation will be used to create best practice standards for McDonald's suppliers.

Beef from around 4,000 Irish farms is used by the burger giant. The contract is worth €80m annually, making McDonald's the single biggest buyer of Irish beef.

Some 20pc of all beef used by McDonald's in Europe is supplied by Irish farmers, with the majority being used for the UK and Scandinavian markets.

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Ray and Mary Dempsey's farm, on the Offaly/Tipperary border, is the company's flagship beef farm for Europe.

Irish Independent