It’s unclear what the foreign matter is as of yet, but the company isn’t taking any chances with how they handle the situation.

In Ishikawa Prefecture on 2 August, a 58-year-old man visited the Kanazawa Arimatsu branch of fast-food giant McDonald’s for breakfast and ordered a Sausage Egg McMuffin. However, upon biting into the meat patty he noticed some unusual white fragments.

After examining the tooth-looking pieces measuring about seven millimeters (a quarter inch) in length the man showed them to the staff who were also unsure of what they were. Nevertheless, they submitted them for analysis and filed a report with the local health inspector on 3 August.

The following day, McDonald’s Japan issued an official apology to the customer and promised to both give him a full refund and determine what those things were within a month. Following that they will launch an investigation into where along the supply chain the foreign matter might have made its way into their food.

With regards to Sausage Egg McMuffins, the meat is processed and imported from the USA while the buns are produced in Japan.

For such a large company, McDonald’s Japan might seem unusually but refreshingly forthcoming with an admission of fault and transparency on what’s being done. The reason for this is a spate of incidents involving foreign objects in food beginning in 2013 that ultimately resulted in an unprecedented loss of revenue.

The incidents themselves and ensuing lack of satisfactory apologies – which Japanese people take very seriously – nearly brought the massive company to its knees as Japanese customers walked away in large numbers.

▼ At its worst, operating losses exceeded 30 billion yen (US$269 million)

I’m no sausage aficionado, but those white chunks pictured above look an awful lot like the kind I often encounter in this particular type of meat and just assume to be cartilage. McDonald’s is probably assuming the same thing, but are playing the situation as safe as possible and following the “foreign matter” playbook word for word, to avoid another calamity.

Let’s see how well it’s working so far:

“There was a similar thing a while back and I stopped going. Now, I’m glad I don’t go there.”
“Because sausage is made from different parts of pigs. Did people forget this?”
“Ooh, a spooky story for the summer.”
“How could a tooth possibly get in there?”
“They’ll have to check the dental records of everyone on the processing line.”
“Check the DNA! Then we’ll know for sure where it came from.”
“Stop eating at McDonald’s. It’s not human food.”
“It was a HA-ppy meal.” [“ha” is the Japanese word for tooth.]
“I just like McDonald’s for their shakes, pies and fries. So, I’m good.”
“Oh, and I was enjoying their improved customer service…”

It will take some time for the test results to confirm what this stuff is, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. In the most likely event that these are just chunks of chewy cartilage, we may be in store for a really awkward press conference where McDonald’s Japan has to offer a sincere apology for having a little too much gristle in their sausage, complete with full bowing and all the trimmings.

Still, in this era of “black corporations” and other unethical activities it’s kind of nice to see a major corporation have the fear of God put in them and act almost too responsibly for a change. It’s the way capitalism was supposed to work.

Source: Chunichi Web, Hachima Kiko
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