16 December 2010

McDonald’s brass tires of attacks from ‘food police’

It appears the increased heat from government agencies, anti-fast food legislation and those of us who actually believe children and adults should consume healthy food is finally getting to McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner.  The same man who told the USA Today last month that Mickey D’s is “part of the solution” in America’s battle with obesity is now taking aim at his critics, calling those who support San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meals “food police.”  How Rush Limbaugh of him.

“We’ve seen many years of someone trying to dictate behavior through legislation. Our Happy Meals have been supported by parents since the 1970s. The nutrition of Happy Meals, which include apples, meets FDA guidelines,” said CEO Jim Skinner in an interview with the Financial Times. “We sell choices on the menu that make our customers feel better.”

For lack of eloquence, is he smellin’ what he's shovelin’?

Clearly no one is blaming McDonald’s solely for an obesity epidemic that is not only sweeping the United States but is also inflicting many other developed and developing areas of the globe. But establishments like Ronald’s house of saturated fat and sodium have not helped the situation.

The “support” Happy Meals have garnered from parents is due to convenience and lack of cost, not for health reasons. Does anyone sincerely believe McDonald’s sells healthy food?

Let’s take a look at Mr. Skinner’s example of a menu selection that makes consumers “feel better.”

A Happy Meal containing a hamburger, french fries and an 8 oz carton of 1% milk has 590 calories, 810 mg of sodium and 23 grams of fat. Within seconds anyone who eats properly can conjure up ideas for a meal that includes substantially more food and is definitely more healthful.

In all fairness though, Mickey D's CEO did mention “apples.”

Remove the french fries from the aforementioned example and instead include apple dippers with caramel dip—yes this is Mr. Skinner’s idea of health food.

The adjusted nutritional totals: 510 calories, 12 grams of fat and 710 mg of sodium.

Ah but don’t forget the additional 27 grams of sugar.

Feel “better” yet?

If you are looking for more enlightening statements from McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner you can read the rest of his Financial Times interview here.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/stadiumarcadium