McDonald’s is switching to 100% Freedom Food-certified pork for all its UK restaurants.

The move affects the 10,000 tonnes of British pork that McDonald’s sources through OSI and Tulip for sausage, burgers and bacon each year, and will come into effect from the end of April. It will take McDonald’s spend on British pork to more than £25m a year, but the fast food chain said its customers would not have to pay more, with McDonald’s absorbing the extra cost.

Warren Anderson, vice president for supply chain at McDonald’s UK, said consumers were increasingly interested in provenance, traceability and animal welfare. “There are lots of standards out there, but Freedom Food is the only standard that looks specifically on higher-welfare standards,” he said. “If consumers are saying they want more, higher welfare, Freedom Food is the answer.”

Anderson added about one-third of UK pork was already reared to Freedom Food standards, giving McDonald’s confidence there would be sufficient volume to meet its needs. McDonald’s hoped its commitment to Freedom Food would give even more farmers the confidence to switch to Freedom Food production, he said.

There are Freedom Food standards for indoor and outdoor rearing of pigs, and McDonald’s has not specified whether farmers rear their pigs indoors or outdoors. Pigs produced to the scheme’s standards are given more space, bedding and enrichment materials than pigs in conventional production systems.

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