American Hamburger Chain Seeks Meat Outside U.S. Borders

For many-- McDonald's is synonymous with "American Fast Food."

But now the restaurant chain has started importing lean beef from Australia and New Zealand for 400 of its southeastern stores. While McDonalds says its just an experiment, the decision has some American cattle ranchers very upset.

"It's a blow for those of us in the states who are trying to be more aware of how we raise our animals," said Margaret Griffin, a cattle producer.

Griffin and her husband have worked hard to meet the needs of commercial buyers like McDonalds. They started producing leaner cattle..because that's what commercial beef buyers want.

McDonalds is one of a few fast-food franchises that have turned overseas for lean beef..due to what they call a shortage in America.

Griffin says she wants McDonalds and other companies to consider American lean beef first. Her family has spent money and time producing cattle with as little fat content as possible. She also says transporting meat frozen overseas or transporting cattle brings numerous health and disease considerations. Such as making sure any animals sent from other countries are free of disease.

McDonalds says, "Every ounce of beef served at McDonald's has been 100% inspected and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture as well as McDonald's own rigorous inspection process."

They also say McDonalds is still one of the largest buyers of U.S. beef.