Stringent food safety measures in place for your Big Mac

JOBURG – McDonald's opens its 'engine room' to journalists during a tour.


Before plunging your teeth into that Big Mac, have you ever stopped to think what goes on behind the scenes to prepare it?

Maybe not, but after my eye-opening tour of what I would call the engine room of the Craighall store of McDonald’s on Jan Smuts Avenue, I can safely make that bite on the burger knowing very well my fears of getting that nasty stomach bug have been put to rest.

Before the whistle-stop tour, Sechaba Motsieloa, corporate affairs director of McDonald’s South Africa, read the dos and don’ts of the tour to this reporter and one of them was that no coughing was allowed.

Recovering from a recent bout of flu, I almost chickened out of the tour in fear of that stubborn cough which might pop-up and catch me off-guard.

Other stringent measures put in place for all kitchen staff and visitors include washing and sanitisation of one’s hands. For staff members, it includes the constant cleaning, washing and sanitisation of the work bench and tools of the trade.

Floors are also constantly washed and sanitised because our shoes step on everything in the street, hence the desire to freshen the floors too.

Another taboo in the kitchen is loose hair. How many times have you bought a meal elsewhere and discovered some strand of hair in it after munching more than half of the meal? This is why the staff have to strictly ensure that all hair is covered with specially-made kitchen headgear.

When you move from one section of the engine room to another, you have to wash and sanitise your hands once more. This is so to avoid cross food contamination and poisoning. To also lay the fears of their customers to rest, McDonald’s has the #KnowOurFood which has onsite videos that actually tell the story of food safety.

Considering the close to 10-million customers served by McDonald’s per month, Motsieloa said they seldom received complaints from customers.

Motsieloa also pointed out that food safety did not only apply when the items were delivered to their stores. “We have the same stringent requirements that have been placed with our suppliers, including the farms themselves,” Motsieloa said.

So in a nutshell, their famous burgers and each and every other item on the menu are safely prepared. I hope this allays your fears to rest as it has done mine.

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