Speaking at the World Meat Congress in Australia, Gary Johnson, a senior director of worldwide supply chain management at McDonald’s delivered a ‘wake up’ speech calling for immediate action to introduce cattle traceback programmes.

According to Dow Jones, Johnson stressed that the food industry depends on the trust of consumers for its future operations.

“Consumer trust in the safety of the food they eat across the entire food chain including the proteins is the single most critical factor for our industry,” he said.

The US industry has slowly been moving toward adopting programmes that can trace retail beef back to individual farms. The system was adopted in Australia, the second-largest exporter in the world, in mid-2005.

“Any company that can’t build and maintain their public trust doesn’t have to worry about any other trend in the food industry – that company will simply not be in business any more,” Johnson warned.