1. I am the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McKey Food Services Limited which company was established in 1978 as a joint venture company with McDonald's Restaurants Limited.
2. In April 1990 I purchased the McDonald's equity in the company which is now wholly owned by me.
3. Since leaving University in 1953 I have been associated with the meat industry working variously for Union International Australia and England, Unilever and Marsh Harris in England and Robert Wilson in Scotland.
4. McKey is the sole supplier of beef hamburger patties and the many pork products to all McDonald's restaurants in the United Kingdom and in Denmark, Holland, Belgium and part of Ireland.
5. All cattle for the meat that goes into McDonald's hamburgers are reared in Ireland, Scotland and England, and very occasionally the company purchases meat from cattle reared in, France, Germany and Denmark. 90% of the meat used in the patties is from cattle reared in Great Britain and Ireland. The only parts of the animal purchased by McKey for McDonald's beef patties are hindquarter flank and the whole of the boneless forequarter.
6. All the cattle purchased for use in McDonald's hamburgers are either raised on farms and are marketed direct to Abattoirs on a grade and dead weight basis, or are marketed through cattle markets and bought by buyers for the Abattoirs.
7 All pigs purchased for use in McDonald's pork/bacon products produced by McKey are both raised on farms and slaughtered in the U.K.
8. At all stages the animals are handled humanely and McKey is a member of the Humane Slaughter Association. The Humane Slaughter Association is a registered charity and originated as the Council of Justice to Animals founded in 1911. In 1928 it amalgamated with the Humane Slaughter Association, a charity with similar aims. Today the society is known as the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), the objects of which are to promote humane methods of slaughter and to introduce reforms in livestock market, including transport facilities.
9. The HSA is the only registered charity which specialises in the welfare of food animals during the marketing and slaughter process. It depends entirely on donations and because McKey totally supports its aims and objectives it became a member in about 1987 to support the charity. However since its inception in 1978 McKey have always purchased cattle and pigs from Abattoirs where the transportation and killing of the animals are carried out humanely.
10. The Humane Society inspects Abattoirs to ensure that the laws relating to lairage and humane killing are carried out properly. For example, these laws require
11. I have read the report of Dr. Neville Gregory and in particular those sections relating to cattle and pigs. I confirm that the abattoirs visited by Dr. Gregory supply beef and pork to McKey for McDonald's products.
12. As Dr. Gregory describes in his report McKey buys all the port for McDonald's products (sausage patties, McRibs and smoked bacon) from a single Company. However, beef is purchased from a number of abattoirs in addition to the two visited by Dr. Gregory.
13. As far as I am aware, the standards and conditions described by Dr. Gregory from his visit to the pork supplier and cattle abattoirs are consistent with all of the abattoirs from which McKey purchases its meat and that these same standards and conditions have been observed and maintained throughout the entire period during which McKey has purchased its meat from these sources.
14. My staff and I personally visit the Abattoirs from whom we purchase beef and pork on a regular basis and it is from this knowledge that I am able to confirm that the standards have been consistent.
15. On leaving the abattoir the meat is transported in refrigerated trucks to McKey's two plants in Scunthorpe and Milton Keynes. On arrival if the meat is more than 4° centigrade it will be rejected. If there are traces of the stomach contents of the animal and faeces on meat which arrives at McKey the meat will also be immediately rejected.
16. All meat arriving at McKey has already been passed fit for human consumption by certification of a veterinary surgeon at the abattoir; McKey will not accept the certification of an Environmental Health Officer although such certification is permitted. McKey then undertakes a further 40 quality control checks, none of which are required in law. A list of these 40 quality control checks is attached to the end of this statement marked "LDW 1".
17. On arrival each consignment of meat is sent for bacteriological analysis, the results of which fall into three categories :
18. The meat with satisfactory and passable results will be used but the unsatisfactory meat will be rejected.
19. Every month a 'league table' is prepared detailing the results of each consignment of meat arriving from the supplier. If any supplier is bottom of the list on two consecutive months, and the results fall into the passable or unsatisfactory category, then we will take this matter up with them and if they cannot improve on the quality of their product they will be dropped as a McKey supplier.
20. In about July 1990 McKey started to test on a random basis for E.Coli Ol57H. Our Laboratory supervisor, Sally Turnidge, decided to purchase testing equipment for use in our laboratories.
21. When the testing was first introduced in July 1990 we did not know if the testing equipment would prove satisfactory or the tests would prove meaningful, particularly as all the random checks proved negative.
22. Following the outbreak of food poisoning in Preston in January 1991 resulting from E.Coli 0157H McKey did the following:
23. Firstly we immediately started to test every consignment of meat for E.Coli 0157H. Second, in about October 1991 we changed our meat specification to stipulate that all beef suppliers sample for and establish controls to prevent E.Coli 0157H contamination of meat. A copy of this specification is attached to this statement marked "LDW 2".
24. The specification is dated October 1991. The company has destroyed the preceding specification as we only work from the current document but I confirm that the preceding specification was almost identical to the one appended hereto, save for the requirement of testing for E.Coli which was the cause of the revision in October 1991.
25. In order to address the E.Coli situation generally the company arranged a seminar on E.Coli in June 1993 for all our beef suppliers who were required to attend. The company arranged the seminar with Camden Food & Drink Research Association and the lecture was given by Dr. Jeff Banks, a imaging authority on E.Coli.
26. The purpose of the seminar was to give detailed information to our suppliers about E.Coli 0157H and to explain fully preventative methods.
27. Additionally the company has commissioned Camden Food & Drink Research Association, at its own expense, to review and critique the various different methods of testing for E.Coli 0157H to identify the most sensitive and efficient method. Their report is due imminently.
28. The bacteriological tests for salmonella which the company undertakes are part of McDonald's specification. In addition to these, consignments of meat on arrival are checked for other pathogens some of which are additional to those specified by McDonald's. All meat that has passed these two tests is retained by McKey for processing into Beef patties.
29. As well as stringent quality control checks being carried out on meat at Abattoirs and on arrival at McKey when it is checked to ensure that it is of the highest quality and is free from pathogens, there are also annual checks on all staff by X-rays and stool checks to ensure that they are not salmonella carriers. Further if any member of staff returns from travel in the Far East there will again be checked stool tests for the presence of salmonella.
30. Following the bacteriological tests the meat is then stored in chilled containers, after which it is ground into meat patties, the grinding process of which takes 12-1/2 minutes. The patties are then frozen for 11 minutes in temperatures as low as -200°F where they reach a temperature of -20°C and they retain that temperature until they are cooked on McDonald's grills.
31. All products pass through metal detectors.
32. The meat used in the beef patties, the bacon and sausages is 100% beef and pork respectively.
33. It is usual for the meat to be ground into hamburgers and frozen within 2-4 hours from delivery but it is never any longer than 24 hours maximum from arrival to the freezer. Nothing other than 100% beef is used, 50-56% comes from steers and heifers and 44-50% of which comes from 'shop cows'. 'Shop cow' is cow meat which has white and not yellow fat, and which is young and firm. McDonald's specifications specifically excludes wet old cows.
34. To explain the significance of this it is necessary to describe the beef industry. This is largely divided into two:- the dairy and the beef industry. The dairy industry farms cattle for dairy herds principally for milk. When cows have had their calves the young calves are removed from the cow and the mother's milk is sent to the dairy. The calf, which is fed on artificial milk as the mother's milk goes to humans, either goes to the veal trade or to the beef trade. In the veal trade the young calves are killed for the young meat; if the calves go to the beef trade they are reared for meat rather than for dairy purposes.
35. Therefore the second half of the industry is known as the 'clean beef trade'. Steers and heifers are killed at 2-3 years for their meat. Steers are castrated bulls and heifers are virgin cows. The reason the young bulls are castrated is to prevent the meat from becoming male strong and staggy.
36. The cows from the dairy industry are killed normally at the end of their productive life, which is at 8-9 years, by which time they have had 6-7 calves. However if a cow destined for the dairy trade is a poor yielder it will be killed at 3-4 years. These are called 'shop cows'.
37. As I have said 50-56% of the meat used in McDonald's hamburgers comes from steers and heifers which are the top quality butcher shop meat.
38. The balance is cow meat but not old canner quality i.e. cows who have been killed at 8-9 years but the younger shop cows killed at 3 years because they are poor yielders or barren.
39. McDonald's specification specifically excludes wet old cows i.e. 8-9 year olds.
40. Bulls residual from the rearing herd are banned for use in McDonald's hamburgers. Special Young Bulls ("SYB"'s) with natural hormones i.e. bulls which have not been castrated, are killed at about 2/3 years before the bull becomes staggy and the meat from SYB's is now allowed in the McDonald's specification.
41. I have read the leaflet "What's wrong with McDonald's?" and the allegations in the pleadings of Greenpeace (London) and I make the following comments.
42. With regard to the general issue of slaughter of animals it is also vitally important to realise that if cattle were not killed for the meat industry then farmers would not keep the animals and the countryside in the United Kingdom as we know it would not exist. A farmer keeps land to raise animals and crops to sell for profit. If there was no meat industry there would be no animals other than for dairy purposes and then when these become too old for economic milk supply - what is to happen to them?
43. With regard to the allegation of food poisoning, I do not know whether it is accurate to say that meat is responsible for 70% of all food poisoning incidents, or whether chicken and minced beef are the worst offenders. This allegation is not true as far as McDonald's is concerned because all meat on arrival at McKey has been passed by a veterinary surgeon's certificate as opposed to an EHO's, that it is fit for human consumption and the certification certifies that the meat which has been killed is good and wholesome and that the animal has been killed in hygienic conditions. In other words the certification relates to both the quality of meat and the hygienic standards of the abattoir.
44. All Abattoirs that supply McKey conform to EC standards as do the boning rooms. McKey will not permit the purchase of meat which comes from 'secondhand' boning rooms i.e. the boning rooms must be attached to the abattoir to avoid double-handling and further contamination.
45. All Abattoirs supplying McKey are inspected twice annually as a minimum and usually on an unannounced basis. The Abattoirs will conduct their own quality control checks in addition to those imposed by McKey and each abattoir has its own Veterinary surgeons, laboratories aid Environmental Health Officers.
46. I have already described that on arrival at McKey the meat is tested for pathogens and the McKey premises have a reputation in the United Kingdom second to none. It is for this reason why they have been chosen to supply McDonald's and other major supermarkets.
47. Whenever the Ministry of Agriculture have VIP visitors, for example an international delegation of vets or visiting Ministers of Agriculture, they will be shown the McKey premises because of their exemplary standards. I have kept many unsolicited letters of commendation praising the quality hygiene and cleanliness of the premises.
48. The leaflet alleges that when animals are slaughtered meat can be contaminated with gut content, faeces and urine leading to bacterial infection. In a good abattoir when the animals are slaughtered their stomach should be removed intact so that no contents fall over the carcass. In a bad abattoir there will be bad working practices, in which stomach contents can fall onto a carcass. McKey checks all meat on arrival and in the exceptional cases where there may be traces of gut contents, faeces or urine in a meat consignment, this will be rejected.
49. It is incorrect to say that farmers routinely inject animals with doses of antibiotics to counteract infection. Animals are not routinely injected by farmers because only vets can inject antibiotics. Only if an animal is unwell would a vet consider giving an injection of antibiotics before which he would have to consider the cause of that illness. Further, animals like humans, if routinely injected with antibiotics, would build up a resistance to the drug rendering further injections ineffective. There would then be no other means of treating the animal for further infection.
50. With regard to the allegation that the use of pesticides on cattle feed results in a build up in the animals' tissue, further damaging the health of people on a meat based diet, in my opinion this statement is incorrect. Pesticides are used on agriculture crops but are not used on grass. Cattle mainly eat silage (wet cut grass and molasses) and they eat grass, none of which are sprayed with pesticides.
51. Pesticides are sprayed on young crops before the grain has matured and it is sprayed on the ground. It is not sprayed on the mature crop and thus it is unlikely that a cow would eat grain that has been treated with pesticides; even if it did, there is no proof that the animal would digest it and absorb it into the muscle.
52. I have read the expert report of Dr. Michael Jackson following his inspection of McKey Food and confirm that the standards of hygiene described therein are and have been consistently maintained in all areas of the company's processes.
18 January, 1994|
Appeared in court|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available
transcripts of court appearances: