McDonald’s is very confident that its short and simple supply chain has ensured there is no horsemeat contamination in its beefburgers.

Warren Anderson, vice-president supply chain for McDonald’s, reassured farmers at the NFU conference today that their burger samples had been sent off for DNA testing and came back negative.

“Our chain is not under intense scrutiny, because we keep the supply chain simple and transparent and it is based on long-term relationships,” he said. “Customers tell us they want good-quality ingredients sourced locally s far as is possible. We understand good food does rely on a strong farming sector.”

Delegates heard that McDonald’s serves more than three million customers a day in more than 1,000 communities and the company believes in the mantra that trust is hard won and easily lost.

Mr Anderson admitted the restaurant chain did take its eye off what consumers wanted about 10 years ago and it learnt the hard way. He added: “I am very confident in what we are doing. I am pleased a number of retailers are now realising simple supply chains work in giving reassurance to farmers and consumers. McDonald’s have as few a steps to the consumer as possible and it works.”

Its beef patties are 100% beef with no filling or trimmings and are processed by only two businesses, one of which has been working with McDonald’s for more than 35 years in Scunthorpe.

Social media is hugely important to keeping in touch with customer views and answering their concerns over provenance. McDonald’s website receives 50,000 visits every week and online traffic has intensified in the past two weeks after the horsemeat scandal.

Mr Anderson was quick to reject an idea from a farmer that perhaps McDonald’s horseburgers were a new product line worth considering.

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