Posts Tagged ‘McDonald’s (맥도날드)’


Burger King confirmed to use the beef from cows older than 30 months.

July 4, 2008

Peter Tan, President of Burger King, Asia Pacific, has clarified on the age of the beef used to make hamburger patties sold in Burger King restaurants in the U.S. Dong-a Ilbo, a right-wing propagandist daily, published last month an op-ed article claiming that Burger King USA and McDonald’s USA use cattle over the age of 30 months for hamburger patties. In his letter to Dong-a Ilbo, Mr. Tan reversed Burgur King Korea’s denial of that claim, and confirmed that the beef Burger King USA uses for hamburger patties may come from cattle older than 30 months of age:


Burger King Korea itself has issued a pop-up notice on Burger King USA’s official position, namely that the hamburger patties sold in Burger King restaurants in the U.S. “are made from 100 percent beef from healthy cows of all ages in accordance with strict U.S. federal regulations”:


This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that about 20% of the beef consumed in the U.S. comes from cows older than 30 months of age.


WSJ apparently confirms what McDonald’s has officially denied.

June 6, 2008

In an article published today, Wall Street Journal’s South Korea correspondent Evan Ramstad makes two immensely interesting statements:

1) After noting that South Korean “Protesters and opposition politicians are pushing for a formal renegotiation that would lead to explicit exclusion of the sale of meat from cattle 30 months and older”, Ramstad states that “About 20% of the beef that Americans consume annually comes from cattle over that age, chiefly in the form of hamburger.” While he didn’t name any names, his statement clearly suggests that U.S. fast food companies such as McDonald’s are using the beef from cows over the age of 30 months to make hamburger patties. Otherwise that much of the beef consumed in the U.S.—about 20%!—can’t come from cows over that age. This is a new twist in the saga of the U.S. beef debate in Korea. As we reported earlier, McDonald’s U.S.A. has announced through McDonald’s Korea that “hamburger patties sold in the U.S. are made following Mcdonald’s global standards from the beef from American cows younger than 30 months”. A looming showdown between WSJ and McDonald’s?

2) Ramstad also states, to my shock, that “Less than 3% of the beef that the U.S. sold to South Korea in 2003 came from cattle 30 months or older.” If this is true, then the previous Roh Moo-hyun government imported American beef from cows over the age of 30 months, if not in large quantities. The 3% of the beef must have been consumed in the form of hamburger. Yuck.

Here’s the complete report by Ramstad (all bold emphases mine):

Korea’s Beef With the U.S.: A Trade Backlash Simmers Amid Food-Safety Concern

June 6, 2008; Page A11

SEOUL, South Korea — The U.S. and South Korea have a complicated friendship that is burdened by history and by beef. Five weeks ago, South Koreans started to protest against the restart of U.S. beef imports, and those protests have evolved into a political crisis between two allies who have a love-hate relationship that is sometimes acted out with histrionics on the country’s streets.
[Lee Myung-bak]

South Koreans’ sentiment toward the U.S. is rooted in history that goes back to before the 1950-1953 Korean War, which many Americans tend to view as the crucial moment in the relationship between the two countries. At a young age, South Koreans learn not only about the role of the U.S. in the Korean War but also that a U.S. decision in the 1890s paved the way for Japan to eventually invade and occupy the Korean Peninsula.

As a result, many South Koreans were ready to believe the worst when a TV news program on April 29 reported that mad-cow disease may still be present in the U.S. and that American consumers were avoiding the meat for health concerns.

While Washington is Seoul’s closest military ally and a lead trading partner, South Koreans chafe at the appearance of being under America’s thumb. And to many of them, the new president, Lee Myung-bak, appears to have exhibited weakness by making a less-restrictive beef-import deal than neighbors Taiwan and Japan did with the U.S.

The controversy erupted over food-safety concerns following Mr. Lee’s agreement in mid-April to reopen the nation to full imports of U.S. beef. Imports had stopped after a case of mad-cow disease was discovered in the U.S. in 2003.

Eager to appease the public, Seoul is now seeking to change the deal’s terms without asking the U.S. formally for new talks, which would present a diplomatic embarrassment to both countries.

During the past few days, protesters and South Korean government officials alike have raised the specter that, unless the deal is amended, the backlash could turn into an anti-American movement.

“If the current situation keeps going, regardless of the original reason, it could affect Korea-U.S. relations,” Kang Jae-sup, chairman of the ruling Grand National Party, told the U.S. ambassador to South Korea on Thursday.

Meanwhile, opposition parties boycotted the opening of the new session of South Korea’s National Assembly over the deal. And activists announced they will try to spur one million people to demonstrate against the deal in Seoul next Tuesday, an anniversary of a major democracy protest in 1987.

If the beef-import deal unravels, it could damage the hopes of U.S. beef producers to regain access to what was once their third-largest export market, accounting for $800 million in sales in 2003 before an incident of mad-cow disease in Washington state led many countries to stop buying U.S. beef.

An unraveling also could reduce the chances for U.S. congressional approval of a broader free-trade agreement that South Korea and the U.S. forged last year. South Korea’s previous president agreed to reopen the country to imports of U.S. beef in return for the U.S.’s leaving South Korea’s rice industry out of the free-trade pact. Several American farm-state lawmakers have said they want South Korea to hold up its end of the bargain before they will consider ratifying the pact.

But the South Korean activist groups that are organizing the beef-deal protests also oppose the pact because they believe more imports from the U.S. will hurt Korean farmers. “The farm industry is not ready for trade protections to be taken away,” says Jang Dae-hyun, spokesman for one of the groups, Solidarity for Progress Korea.

Just after the U.S. and South Korea made the deal on April 18, politicians from the United Democratic Party, who led South Korea for a decade but recently lost control to Mr. Lee and the GNP, criticized Mr. Lee for being outmaneuvered by U.S. trade negotiators. “The political left had been waiting for an opportunity to damage the new government after losing the elections, and they took advantage of it,” says Jhe Seong-ho, a law professor at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.

Mr. Lee viewed the beef deal as a way to push the trade deal closer to realization and boost the economy, a central campaign promise. He may have misjudged the strong potential reaction back home.

On May 2, thousands of South Koreans gathered in downtown Seoul to protest. Activist groups distributed candles, re-creating the image of the anti-U.S. protests that occurred in 2003 when people became angry at the outcome of a trial of American soldiers involved in a vehicle accident that killed two South Korean girls. South Koreans felt disappointed that the soldiers were acquitted. Those protests helped elect President Roh Moo-hyun, who said in his campaign that South Korea should stand up to the U.S.

On May 3, a newspaper photo showed a girl holding a candle and a sign saying she didn’t want to die from American beef. A cartoon “candlelight girl” has since come to symbolize the beef-deal backlash. The protests have continued almost every night since.

As the initial health-concern fears subside, discussion is turning to the potential dangers of meat from older cattle that are more susceptible to mad-cow disease. Protesters and opposition politicians are pushing for a formal renegotiation that would lead to explicit exclusion of the sale of meat from cattle 30 months and older, similar to what Taiwan and Japan did with their U.S. beef-import deals.

About 20% of the beef that Americans consume annually comes from cattle over that age, chiefly in the form of hamburger. The U.S. exports younger, more profitable meat overseas. Less than 3% of the beef that the U.S. sold to South Korea in 2003 came from cattle 30 months or older.

Earlier this week, Alexander Vershbow, Washington’s ambassador in South Korea, got a taste of the simmering anti-U.S. sentiment when he emphasized the safety of American beef. “We hope that Koreans will begin to understand more about the science and about the facts of American beef,” he said.

The next day, politicians from several opposition parties took offense. One called the ambassador’s comments an “insult to all Korean citizens.” Mr. Vershbow expressed regret that he was misunderstood.

–SungHa Park contributed to this article.

Write to Evan Ramstad at


[Breaking news] McDonald’s rebuts Yim.

June 6, 2008

McDonalds Korea has just announced on their home page the following:

According to what we have confirmed through an official channel of McDonald’s America, hamburger patties sold in the U.S. are made following Mcdonald’s global standards from the beef from American cows younger than 30 months, and are made from 100% pure beef as in all Mcdonald’s including McDonald’s Korea. We also confirmed yet again that internal organs are not included in hamburger patties.


McDonald’s is dragged into the debate.

June 6, 2008

Last night on “100 Minute Debate“, a popular TV program hosted by the Korean broadcasting company MBC, one of the panel made a controversial claim to the effect that McDonald’s and other American fast food companies use the beef from cows older than 30 months to make hamburger patties, contrary to the official position of McDonald’s.

Below is my translation of what Yim Hun-joh, a member of the pro-Lee Myung-bak New Right Association, said:

About 18% of all beef consumed in the U.S. are from cows older than 30 months. Most of it is used to make hamburger patties by McDonald’s and others. When you drive along the highways and go into resting places in the U.S., most of them are hamburger shops, whether they are McDonald’s or something else. And a hundred of thousands of Korean students are studying in the U.S. Studying abroad, they don’t have enough money and so eat hamburgers often. And Americans too eat hamburgers often. The very hamburgers are made from the beef from cows older than 30 months and also contain their internal organs.

Assuming that McDonald’s will surely rebut Yim’s careless remark, many Koreans are welcoming it as an opportunity to publicize that the Korean government is misleading the public by insisting that the beef that will be imported from the U.S. is the same as what Americans eat.