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McDonald's Promises Sustainable Beef—and No One Knows What That Is

McDonald's Promises Sustainable Beef???and No One Knows What That Is
Photograph by Matthew Staver/The New York Times via Redux

McDonald’s is used to getting all kinds of grief about the quality of its food, especially its meat. Never mind pink slime, the company’s website includes answers such existential questions as: Is your meat real or fake? If your meat is of such high quality, why is it so cheap? What animal is the McRib made of? Why is the Filet-O-Fish square?

Fast-food competitors, meanwhile, have been busy boasting about their high-quality meat: Five Guys promises it only uses fresh beef, for example, and Chipotle makes much of using naturally raised beef. Now McDonald’s, the biggest buyer of beef in the U.S., vows that it will slowly begin purchasing verified-sustainable beef in 2016, with the goal of eventually buying all its beef from sustainable sources.