Relying on the internet as your main source of information is great for the wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, but can in some cases lead you astray. Let’s play a game, right? I will present two news items related to fast food giant McDonald’s, both with quotes and links, that came to my attention in the last weeks. However, only one seems to be true once you trace the articles back to the original source. Let’s see whether you can figure it out!
In China, McDonald’s afficionados are having a hard time: last week, “video footage of a U.S.-owned meat processing plant in Shanghai showed workers reprocessing expired beef and chicken, picking meat up off the floor, and throwing it right back on the line.” In the wake of the scandal, a massive recall of the meat provided by the processing plant (that also supplied KFC and Pizza Hut in the country), many McDonald’s in the country, including in Beijing and Shanghai, cannot offer any products that include beef or chicken. I guess now they are realizing they have a pretty pithy vegetarian selection, since, as this picture below (that was tweeted on July 25) shows, the only thing they are currently able to supply in their menus are fries and drinks. Though the Wall Street Journal reports (hilariously) that they seem to be aggressively pushing fish burgers, the only protein they have on offer. According to a spokesperson, a full menu “is not expected in restaurants until early August, while some outlets may need more time.”
However, this precariousness could soon be a thing of the past, as McDonald’s has recently committed to researching and developing lab-grown meats to its menu in the form of ‘chicken’ McNuggets. In May, it announced that they will ‘grow’ their own chicken McNuggets in special laboratories across New Jersey. This step forward is expected to significantly reduce its need for real chickens across its 35,000 outlets worldwide, and is seen by environmentalists as an impressive innovation in terms of its corporate responsibility toward the climate and animal welfare. The company’s CEO Don Thompson is quoted as saying that “with climate change raging out of control, we decided that it doesn’t make sense to use water and feed to keep real chickens alive anymore. Plus, animal rights activists have been on our case for a long time about how chickens are treated. This should put their concerns to rest.” However, PETA, though welcoming this first step, feel that more could be done, as explained by its president Ingrid Newkirk: “Although we think it’s bizarre that future McNuggets will be grown in a lab, we’re relieved to know that chickens no longer have to be sacrificed to feed McDonald’s customers,” Newkirk said. “But we won’t truly be happy until the company stops selling real beef burgers too, since cows suffer in disgusting feedlots across the United States.” Well, one step at a time, right?
So, what do you think? Which one is true, which one is fake? Is it obvious or not? The revelation is after the jump!
I think you may have guessed it, but the first news item is actually true, whereas the second one is not. This did not prevent it (mind you, word for word the same article) from appearing on various ‘news‘ sites, being picked up by blogs, and given several issue dates. Once it appeared on my radar, I got curious because it seemed so unlikely and followed the sources back to the original article, which was published on April 1st. Ooooh. Nevertheless, of all the previous links, only one mentioned that factoid; the rest treated the information at face value.
The lesson to be drawn? Always check your sources. And McDonald’s might do well in taking the fake news item seriously if it wants to prevent the current fries-and-drinks situation from reoccurring.
And with that, have a wonderful week!