Press Release: 23rd March, 1996

This briefing outlines the situation as established by McDonald's own representatives and experts in the McLibel Trial - all facts and quotes are taken from the daily official court transcripts

(1) On 22nd March 1996, McDonald's in Holland banned British beef.

(2) Statement from the Director of the UK Consumers' Association, 22nd March 1996: "Consumers who want to avoid the risk of BSE have no choice but to cut out beef and beef products from their diet".

Dave Morris, McLibel Defendant, questions McDonald's UK President Paul Preston on Day 4 of the McLibel Trial (July 1st 1994) about BSE (from the official court transcript):


The court heard that there had been several occasions when the authorities had taken action against McDonald's for selling raw or undercooked meat products including an incident in November 1994 when a 3 year old girl was served undercooked Chicken McNuggets containing salmonella. The McNuggets were tested by local health officials and declared unfit for human consumption.

The court also heard how the company now admitted responsibility for a serious food poisoning outbreak in Preston in 1991, when several customers were hospitalised as a result of eating undercooked burgers contaminated by potentially deadly E.Coli 0157H bacteria. They also admitted responsibility for a similar outbreak in 1982 caused by the same type of bacteria, which affected 47 people in Oregon and Michigan, USA.

NB: McDonald's have refused to call their own expert witness on food poisoning, Colin Clarke, who prepared a detailed report following a visit he made to three company stores. The court heard that, regarding the cooking of hamburgers (which he had tested), Mr Clark "recommends that 73 degrees centigrade be the internal minimum temperature of the final product, and that their temperatures were not reaching that in all cases. The minimum was, in fact, 70 degrees centigrade."

The Corporation's confidential Operations Manual for all stores world-wide was quoted. It set a minimum internal temperature to be reached of 64 degrees centigrade for a cooked burger. Robert Beavers said the company was "maybe 99.8%" sure this temperature was safe. But he believed it had been raised a degree or two following the deaths of two customers of Jack-In-The-Box a couple of years back, in a similar incident to the 1982 McDonald's one. He admitted that this recent incident had "heightened the awareness of everyone in the industry" and agreed that the US Government "was concerned" about internal temperatures of cooked burgers and was considering introducing regulations "if necessary".