The QUALITY Scouts

LYNCHPIX


It’s been a very busy month here at LynchPix towers with lots of interesting projects undertaken. One of the most enjoyable (and the most challenging) was the McDonald’s “Quality Scouts” initiative. To give you a bit of background on the project, McDonald’s is very proud of it’s British & Irish supply chain which wasn’t impacted by the horsemeat scandal, so they invited selected members of the general public to see for themselves & tour the various facilities & organisations that help create some of their most iconic products.

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We opened with the Big Mac tour breaking down each individual ingredient that makes up this flagship item. The tour began in Chichester at Nature’s Way Foods, the producers of Big Mac lettuce with scout leader & “Quality Scouts Ambassador” Phil Vickery.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

We cracked on with the tour starting out in one of their enormous lettuce fields where the product is picked.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

Before moving into the production plant where the lettuce is washed, trimmed & bagged.

Next stop was the sweltering hot Guenther Bakeries facility in Newbury, Berkshire where the unmistakable triple-decker bun is created.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

It’s a truly enormous operation turning out thousands of buns per day. The volume is so great that the dough has to be moved in giant metal baths!

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

Before it’s filtered into the massive machinery & dropped out on giant baking trays.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

One thing that I picked up more than anything else on this project is the amount of quality control that takes place. At every single stage for all the items shot throughout this two month project, there was some form of check.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

Once the product is OK’d, it’s bagged, racked & distributed across the country.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

Our final stop of this very busy opening day was one of the many independent UK cattle farms McDonald’s source from.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

After such a hectic day, it was the perfect end standing in a lush field in the peaceful Berkshire countryside- and big Phil found himself an admirer!

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

We started day two at a nearby abattoir where the cattle are slaughtered & butchered before heading north to OSI Food Solutions- the patty plant where those prime cuts of beef are formed into burgers.

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Oh did I forget to mention the outfits?

Entering these enormous facilities did have one drawback- the get up we had to wear!

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Big thanks to Quality Scout Alan Macdonald (no relation!) for this flattering shot of yours truly…

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

Back to OSI where the meat is checked over again before being minced, pressed & formed into perfect patties with nothing added whatsoever. At the final stage of production, they are simply frozen to retain the shape & integrity of the product for transportation to the restaurants.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

The final stop of day two was a nearby restaurant where the scouts had a chance to cook their own Big Macs.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS UNDERTAKE THE 'BIG MAC' TOUR

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The second Quality Scouts tour saw us breaking down their breakfast favourite; the Sausage & Egg McMuffin.

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After a mammoth drive north, we kicked off in Penrith up near the Scottish border.

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As it’s a morning product unavailable at the back end of the day, we did things in reverse & our scouts began with orientation at a nearby restaurant where they had a go at cooking their own.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We then took a short drive to The Lakes, a free-range farm where McDonald’s source their eggs.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

The chickens’ surroundings were absolutely luxurious!

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

After touring the fields, we headed into the barn where the eggs are collected & graded.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

Each of the unique numbers on the eggs above can be traced back to the farm where it was laid- now that’s traceability.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR


McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We then headed into the plant where the eggs are checked again before being boxed & packed.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

Our final stop of the day was Guenther bakeries’ Lancashire facility to see how the muffins are made.

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We kitted up in more gorgeous balaclavas & headed into the factory.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

As with the Newbury plant, the scale of production was just staggering.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We started with dough & followed it down the line.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

It’s formed into doughballs which filter down to trays before passing along a conveyor belt into the towering ovens.

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McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

After one last quality control stop,the buns are packed & shipped out.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We kicked off day two on a pig farm in Nottinghamshire.

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McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We slipped into some very swanky(!) boiler suits before having a wander around the facilities.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We started out in the open-air fields before moving inside where we had a ball with the piglets. Pigs are by far my favourite of farm animals- they’re so intelligent & inquisitive (and they taste good too).

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

Then it was a short trip to the nearby abattoir before heading back up to OSI to see the sausage patty production.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

We wrapped the day with the all-important taste test- my favourite bit!

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN TOUR

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My third & final Quality Scouts tour broke down the production of McDonald’s’ famous French fries.

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McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

We began on the Elvenden Estate in Suffolk where the potatoes are grown.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

It was straight out into the field where the scouts had a go at harvesting the spuds.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

Before moving through to sorting.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

Then we headed across to Peterborough & the McCain factory.

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McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

The potatoes are once again checked before being fed into production.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

The skins are steamed off.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

Before they are prepared for chipping.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

The final factory stop was Quality Control where random batches of fries are removed from the conveyors, scrutinised, cooked & tasted.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

From the McCain factory, it was a short drive to the last stop of the day & indeed the entire project- a nearby restaurant so the scouts could cook their own batches of fries.

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

Even the used cooking oil is accounted for! It’s pumped away with the delivery vehicles, refined & turned into biodiesel that powers those very trucks!

McDONALD'S QUALITY SCOUTS - FRENCH FRIES TOUR

ENJOY!

For my day-to-day snappery, you can find me on Flickr & EyeEm. You can also follow my day-to-day activities on the Facebook & Twitter channels...www.Lynchpix.co.uk