Other burger purveyors like Wendy’s and Shake Shack already use fresh beef in their products, and McDonald’s still plans to use frozen patties in Big Macs and other burgers. Wendy’s wasn’t about to let McDonald’s bask in the news unchallenged:
Ouch. Like many other fast-food chains, McDonald’s has recently made a whole host of menu changes designed to boost its reputation among ingredient-conscious diners, including switching to cage-free eggs (a decade-long process) and swapping the corn syrup in its buns for sugar (which isn’t any better for your body).
The chain, which is the world’s largest purchaser of beef, has been testing fresh patties in select markets since 2015. The change to Quarter Pounders will roll out nationwide by the middle of next year, according to a press release.
Freezing meat does not affect its nutritional value, food safety expert CiCi Williamson told The Washington Post in 2013. Frozen meat should also look and taste the same as fresh meat — and possibly better, since freezing stalls the aging process — but chefs and consumers tend to prefer fresh meat anyway, according to the USDA-backed Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program.