One of the comforting things about McDonald’s is no matter where in the world you are, you can always get the same Big Mac. And while that may be true, different McDonald’s in different regions do have their own particularities. Some European McDonald’s sell beer. McDonald’s in Canada sells poutine, which is to fries what crack is to cocaine. And as you can imagine, McDonald’s in Japan has all sorts of crazy stuff. But some local tastes may be just a little too extreme for McDonald’s to touch with a 10 foot arch. During an interview about the first McDonald’s to ever open in Kazakhstan, franchise owner Kairat Boranbayev caused a stir by suggesting the restaurant may serve horse meat versions of popular McDonald’s offerings. “We’ll try to adjust our consumers’ requests and cater to Kazakh national cuisine,” he said, leaving many to assume the country’s tradition of eating horse may carry forward into the fast food age.
McDonald’s quickly clarified the situation, denying that any of their restaurants had plans to include horse meat in their burgers. This is definitely more for those outside of Kazakhstan than Kazakhs who may wander into their new Astana location. To them, there’s nothing wrong with eating horse as it’s been a part of their diet for centuries. But across Europe and beyond, there are more and more scandals over horse meat finding its way into ground beef.
It all raises unappetizing questions about where the hell this meat is coming from and what sort of standards are being kept when horse keeps getting into the mix. One executive for the British supermarket chain Iceland didn’t exactly reassure anyone when commenting on horse meat found in their store in 2013.
“Did we test for horse? No, but we didn’t test for cat or dog either,” he said. “There might be dog and cat.”
The last thing McDonalds wants is to open the door back up a crack to rumors their meat isn’t beef. You all remember variations of the rumor that ‘100% Pure Beef’ was just the name of the company that provided McDonald’s meat, while the actual meat was mostly soy or rat or shredded paper? Yeah. It took McDonald’s decades to squash those. There’s no way they’ll let “McDonald’s puts horse meat in their burgers” become factually true just to please a franchise in Kazakhstan.