McDonald’s 'working to rectify' nut contamination

14 May 2018

Contamination in the supply chain may have left traces of peanuts in McDonald’s buns and breakfast muffins.

The firm said it has posted notices informing customers at some of its UK stores after it was made aware peanuts “may have entered” its supply chain. The company did not elaborate on how the contamination happened, and said the problem would be rectified in the next couple of days.

A spokesperson said: “We have been made aware that traces of nuts and peanut may have entered our supply chain and come into contact with the buns and English breakfast muffins served in some of our restaurants.

“This is a temporary issue which we are working to rectify as quickly as possible, and not a permanent change to our buns.

“The health and safety of our customers is our absolute priority and we have already introduced clear signposting in the restaurants affected... Anyone with any concerns should speak to the restaurant team or contact customer services.”

The spokesperson stressed that the contamination was unintentional and not a menu change, and the company was committed to keeping its buns nut-free.

Speaking generally about the risk of food contamination, David Read, chairman of food services business Prestige Purchasing, said buyers needed to actively engage with suppliers and visit them to verify safety standards.

Talking to SM, Read said: “What a buyer has to do is ensure that they do their due diligence, and their due diligence is usually visiting any significant supplier and looking at how they manage the process of food safety.”

He added that buyers needed to be familiar with “what good looks like” within a supplier or manufacturer, and they must work in collaboration with suppliers to check they are meeting standards.

If a food safety issue does arise, whether it’s a contamination or any other hygiene or safety issue, a buyer’s first priority is customer safety. This means reviewing whether a product should be withdrawn from circulation, and notifying customers “really clearly” about the situation, he said.

Once this is done, Read said buyers should work with suppliers to understand if there is an issue, and what action should be taken.

He said: “Sometimes these things occur and it’s not an issue, and on other occasions you go and check with a supplier, you audit a supplier and you find a flaw and you agree what remedy should be taken.”

In some cases, like the recent Russell Hume case, companies then choose to withdraw from contracts. “But in many other cases buyers just need to agree a course of corrective action, keep the customers in the loop then re-establish supply,” said Read.

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