McDonald’s announced Tuesday that the company has achieved its goal of sourcing 100% cage-free eggs in the U.S. two years ahead of schedule. The quick-service chain set the original 10-year goal in 2015 to improve the animal welfare in its supply chain, and has been working toward achieving it ever since, in partnership with Cargill and its egg-producers.
"Our journey to move to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs in the U.S. was a huge undertaking — made uniquely possible by our owner/operators, Cargill and their egg producers, and our supply chain working together as one team," Bob Stewart, senior vice president North America chief supply chain officer with McDonald’s said in a statement. “I am incredibly proud of what we achieved together and the positive impact we will continue to make on the path toward a more sustainable future.”
According to the original 2015 announcement, the goal was to shift to cage-free eggs in both the U.S. and Canada, though this week’s announcement did not give an update on the status of the cage-free goal in Canada.
McDonald’s stated that under its new cage-free commitment, hens will be housed in farms that will give them access to perches, scratch areas, and nests, and each farm has a staff veterinarian who will attend to the chickens to ensure that they have a high level of care. The goal was reached with the help of animal welfare experts and academics, who were able to help renovate farms and implement new technology to ensure the improved welfare of the chickens.
“As a family, we sat down and said, 'Are we going to be able to do it?',” Peter Forsman, owner of Forsman Farms, a Cargill egg producer, said. “We had zero cage-free systems, and we knew this was going to be a big challenge.”
McDonald’s was one of many restaurant chains that made this commitment in the 2010s, including Burger King in 2012, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ in 2015, and Denny’s in 2016. While Burger King has not yet achieved its goal in the U.S., Restaurant Brands International has committed to being 100% cage-free (both for chickens and pigs) by 2030. Taco Bell began sourcing all cage-free eggs in the U.S. in 2016, and Dunkin’ has still not quite reached its 10-year goal of going cage-free by 2025. Denny’s has also yet to reach its 10-year goal of going cage-free by 2026.
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