Category Archives: McDonald’s

Under the Bun: McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger

McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse BurgerHave you heard about the new McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger? If you Google the new burger, you’ll see that the big news here is that this is the only burger besides the Big Mac that features the “special sauce” that graces its big brother burger. It appears that people are excited about the use of the Big Mac “special sauce” on a sandwich that isn’t the Big Mac.

The Bacon Clubhouse Burger is attempting to appeal to a more sophisticated audience, though. It also features an artisan roll, smoked applewood bacon, carmelized grilled onions, leaf lettuce and Angus seasoning.

Just what does that cosmopolitan burger description really get us, though? Time to go under the bun with FoodFacts.com as we investigate what’s really in this new McDonald’s creation.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts:

Calories:                 720
Fat:                          40 g
Saturated Fat:           15 g
Sodium:                1470 mg
Sugar:                      14 g

Let’s just say that, believe it or not, the Big Mac is actually a better nutritional choice than the Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Obviously that’s not saying much. This burger contains 180 additional calories, 11 extra grams of fat, 5 more grams of saturated fat, 430 mg of additional sodium and 5 more grams of sugar than the Big Mac. Not exactly a healthy meal — and we didn’t even add fries to it yet!

What about the ingredients? We’re sure you can guess, but here they are:

QUARTER POUND 100% BEEF PATTY  Ingredients: 100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders. Prepared With Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper). *Based On The Weight Before Cooking 4 Oz. (113.4g) ARTISAN ROLL Ingredients: Wheat Flour or Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour or Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Malted Barley Flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% or less: Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Corn Flour, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Vegetable Proteins (Pea, Potato, Rice), Sunflower Oil, Turmeric, Paprika, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Acetic Acid. TOMATO SLICE THICK CUT APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON Ingredients: Pork Bellies Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Natural Smoke Flavor (Plant Source), Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. CARAMELIZED GRILLED ONIONS Ingredients: Slivered Onions Prepared in Onion Reduction Sauce (Palm, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors [Plant Source], Spice). BIG MAC SAUCE Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Color, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavor). PASTEURIZED PROCESS WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE Ingredients: Milk, Water, Cheese Culture, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), May Contain One or More of: Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Enzymes, Acetic Acid, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation). LEAF LETTUCE ANGUS SEASONING Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Onion Powder, Natural (Animal and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavors, Spice, Maltodextrin, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dried Beef Broth, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Worcestershire Sauce Powder (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor [Fruit Source]), Spice Extractives, Beef Fat, Caramel Color, Annatto and Turmeric (Color).

We counted. That’s about 17 ingredients we don’t want to eat all in one burger. Please make sure you read the ingredients in the Big Mac sauce carefully. This is the sauce consumers are making such a big fuss over. They’re happy it’s making an appearance on another burger. We’re not.

The McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger isn’t deserving of the buzz surrounding its introduction. It’s just another fast food monstrosity with too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium and too many bad ingredients.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.sandwiches.1360.bacon-clubhouse-burger.html

Who’s defining sustainable beef for McDonald’s?

Or better yet, exactly what is “sustainable beef” anyway? It appears that this question has been discussed quite a bit in the last few years. And even back in January, when McDonald’s announced that it will begin the transition to sustainable beef in 2016, the answers weren’t very clear. That might explain why their plan was met with skepticism.

That plan didn’t provide any answers either. In the weeks that followed, McDonald’s continued working with a group called the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) to come up with a working definition of the term, and on Monday, GRSB released a draft of its definition for public comment. In addition to McDonald’s, GRSB’s new set of sustainability guidelines will also be implemented by the group’s other members, which include Walmart, Darden Restaurants (the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster), Cargill, Tyson Foods, and the pharmaceutical company Merck.

Despite its name, the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is not so much an environmental organization as a meat industry group. Its executive committee includes representatives from McDonald’s, Elanco, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Just two environmental groups—the World Wildlife Fund and Netherlands-based Solidaridad—are part of its executive board. Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and chief sustainability officer for JBS USA, a beef-processing company, said that McDonald’s, along with other members, helped come up with the organization’s “sustainability” definition and guidelines.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the group’s leadership, the GRSB’s guidelines are short on specifics. Instead, the group provides a definition for sustainability that is open to members’ interpretation. The plan says, for example, that sustainable companies must provide “stable, safe employment for at least the minimum wage where applicable” and institute “where applicable, third-party validation of practices by all members of the value chain.” But it doesn’t doesn’t specify which third-party groups should conduct audits, and doesn’t explain how workplaces should be monitored to prevent labor violations. In its section on climate change, it says that GRSB members should ensure that “emissions from beef systems, including those from land use conversion, are minimized and carbon sequestration is optimized.” But it does not include any specific examples of target emissions standards or grazing policies.

Also absent from the plan is any mention of the beef industry’s use of antibiotics. In the United States, four-fifths of all antibiotics go to livestock operations. McDonald’s uses antibiotics to “treat, prevent, and control disease” in its food-producing animals, according to a McDonald’s spokesman.

Using antibiotics to prevent disease—rather than only to treat infections—has been criticized by some food-safety experts. But the new plan doesn’t recommend that members ditch the practice. “I don’t know if there’s any justification for banning antibiotics in feed, I know that’s popular in some media circles, I haven’t seen the scientific evidence,” said Bruett. Yet studies have shown that antibiotic-resistant bugs can jump from animals to humans.

GRSB says that the lack of details in the plan is intentional; it “deliberately avoids” metrics that could be used to measure progress in sustainability, instead leaving it up to local roundtables to tailor the recommendations to specific regions. Bruett noted that “You could come out with a global standard, but it would simply be ignored, and it wouldn’t lead to improvements among members.” He adds, “There’s all the discussion about sustainability, but it’s by people who have very little knowledge or participation in the livestock industry…you’ll never achieve [improvement] unless you have producer participation or support.​”

Hmmm. When we look closely at these statements, FoodFacts.com still doesn’t come away with a usable definition of sustainable beef. O.k., there seem to be some guidelines taking shape, but they seem to be fairly loose. The use of the term “where applicable” more than once might lead us to believe that members of the industry get to define the term sustainable for themselves, rather than having it defined for them.

Not that we’re suspicious about the intentions, but we could easily see this as a way for a variety of companies (McDonald’s included) to change the public’s perception of the food they serve, without actually changing the food. While the issue is certainly not finalized (as the definition is still open for public comment), we’d like to call the public’s attention to the other concerns regarding the majority of items on McDonald’s menu. If the company is looking to change perceptions, it would behoove them to begin with much-needed changes to the ingredients used in the foods they serve. And that could easily change public perception without any arguments about definition.

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/03/mcdonalds-sustainable-beef
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-20/fleshing-out-the-incredibly-vague-concept-of-sustainable-beef

How does the Big King stack up against the Big Mac?

iStock_000018665961Small.jpgShort answer: they’re both pretty bad.

Back in November, Burger King reintroduced its own version of the Big Mac. The Big King originally appeared on the Burger King menu back in 1997. It was — and still is — an almost exact replica of the historic McDonald’s sandwich, which will go down in the annals of fast food history as the most successful burger in the industry.

It’s no secret that Burger King lags behind McDonald’s in popularity. In an effort to improve its position with consumers, Burger King has been aggressively marketing new products. In the past year, the chain has developed a rib sandwich to compete with the McRib and introduced a lower calorie, lower fat french fry option with Satisfries. And late last year, Burger King called back the Big King for a second stint on the menu.

FoodFacts.com thought it would be appropriate to see how the two stack up where it really counts. Are there differences in the nutritional content of the burgers? Is there any way, if we were incredibly hungry and we were on the road and every restaurant, deli, and grocery store were closed, except for a McDonald’s and a Burger King that happened to be located next door to each other, we’d pick a Big King over a Big Mac, or vice versa?

After taking a look at the nutrition facts (we aren’t even looking at the ingredients), our only reasonable answer is that we’d probably keep driving. Here’s a quick look:

Big King
Calories:              510
Protein:                18 g
Fat:                      29 g
Saturated Fat:      10 g
Sodium:               780 mg

Big Mac
Calories:              550
Protein:                25 g
Fat:                     29 g
Saturated Fat:      10 g
Sodium:               970 mg

Add a medium order of fries to either the Big King or the Big Mac and you’ve just consumed close to 50 grams of fat and almost two-thirds of your daily allowance of saturated fat in one meal.

For FoodFacts.com, there is no good choice here. For fast food consumers, the jury still seems to be out. But since the Big Mac has been available nationwide to consumers since 1968, the Big King may have a long way to go.

http://www.heraldextra.com/entertainment/dining/drive-thru-gourmet-bk-brings-back-big-king/article_f8d61c90-373f-5dce-b7e5-577989d4cf98.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/02/10/burger-king-mcdonalds-fast-food-big-mac-big-king/5366137/

There’s no mechanically separated chicken in McNuggets, but we still don’t want to eat them

Mechanically separated chicken has been in the news again recently. That’s the chicken that’s created by grinding up any chicken part you might be able to think of. It looks like pink slime and while many manufacturers argue that there’s really nothing wrong with it, millions of consumers have adamantly disagreed.

That disturbing pink slime has been associated relentlessly with the manufacturing of chicken nuggets, especially in fast food products. Over and over again, McDonald’s has stated that McNuggets cannot be included in that statement.

Now McDonald’s is attempting to dispel those rumors with a new video. McDonald’s Canada has taken a film crew behind the scenes to document the manufacturing of the McNugget.

The YouTube video takes viewers inside the Cargill plant in Ontario that makes McNuggets. And we do find out, in fact, that there is no mechanically separated chicken used — at least not in the traditional sense of the term.

They do start the process with actual chicken breast meat. That meat is then put through a grinder along with chicken skin and seasoning. To be perfectly honest, that still evokes a loud “ewwww” from the folks here at FoodFacts.com. But in fairness, it doesn’t include any and every imaginable chicken part.

After the grinding process, the “substance” is shaped into McNuggets in four specific shapes. We’re not sure McNuggets have specific shapes here in the U.S., but apparently in Canada they are bells, balls, bow ties and boots.

They are then battered twice and par-fried for shipment.

McDonald’s has stated that the manufacturing process for McNuggets is exactly the same here in the U.S.

The average McNugget fan is eating a six-piece portion of this “treat.” That serving contains 280 calories, 17 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat and 600 mg of sodium — not exactly what we’d call a healthier option.

Technically, McDonald’s is telling the truth. McNuggets are made from white meat chicken. They are lying by omission, though, because chicken skin is never cited as an ingredient. And 17 grams of fat is a lot to find in six small nuggets. Sorry, McDonald’s, but you haven’t made McNugget fans out of anyone around here with this new information.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/06/272112028/oh-so-thats-what-goes-into-a-mcdonalds-chicken-mcnugget

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua5PaSqKD6k

Consumers petition McDonald’s for a McVeggie

We’re not fast food fans. FoodFacts.com has detailed the long lists of controversial ingredients and copious amounts of fat, salt and sugar contained in the majority of fast food options available to consumers. Nutritional benefits and fast foods are not synonymous. While major chains have added salads to their menus in hopes of finding an audience of more health-conscious consumers, a little digging will tell anyone that even those salads leave something to be desired. And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, those are your only options at some of those restaurants. And McDonald’s is one of them.

McDonald’s introduced a veggie burger in the early 2000′s, but it failed to gain a following. But health and wellness author and activist Kathy Freston, believes it’s time for that veggie burger to make a comeback.

She has collected more than 90,000 signatures for a petition urging McDonald’s to debut a vegetarian burger. Adding some publicity wattage to the campaign are celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Simmons, Pamela Anderson and Alicia Silverstone, who have supported the effort on social media.

It remains to be seen whether McDonald’s will listen the way Taco Bell did when an Arkansas man embarked on a decidedly less health-conscious Facebook campaign to marry Doritos chips with Taco Bell tacos. The resulting Doritos Locos Tacos have been one of the chain’s best-selling products ever.

Will McDonald’s consider the petition? A spokeswoman didn’t reveal much: “In our experience, menu items at McDonald’s are most successful when enough customers choose to select them,” she said in response to questions. “It allows us to ensure freshness of ingredients and overall quality of the food item. We’ll continue to evolve our menu to meet the changing preferences of our customers.”

Those healthy eaters haven’t been going to McDonald’s very much. The chain has rolled out a number of salads in recent years, but the company has said that salads make up only 2% to 3% of U.S. sales.

Ms. Freston, a vegan, said she wouldn’t eat salads at McDonald’s either, because they’re not filling. A non-beef protein patty, she said, would leave people feeling satiated. Ms. Freston, a regular talk-show guest who has penned several bestsellers, said she was motivated to start the petition on Change.org because she travels a lot and would love to pop into a McDonald’s to find something she could eat.

She points out that rivals like Burger King, Subway and Denny’s offer vegetable-based protein patties and that Chipotle has recently added tofu as an option to its burritos. She says McDonald’s recent admission that it has lost relevance with consumers could be rectified, in part, by becoming more vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

“They’re not only not getting the new customers who are health-minded, they’re losing customers to competitors,” says Ms. Freston, who has been tweeting her plea but says she hasn’t gotten a response from McDonald’s.

McDonald’s restaurants in Canada began offering vegetarian snack wraps in August. “People always ask for the veggie burger. So this we’re going to surprise them,” McDonald’s Canada CEO John Betts was quoted as saying at the time.

In the U.S., for now, McDonald’s says vegans and vegetarians can customize orders to be made without meat. Ms. Freston doesn’t think that goes far enough. “I hope they know McLettuce won’t do the trick! I would love to meet with McDonald’s because they seem to mistakenly believe that a healthy plant-based option means eating a tortilla with lettuce,” she says.

We do need to point out that the veggie burger offered at Burger King is not the healthiest choice. A quick look at the ingredient list tells a story of numerous controversial items with an unhealthy dose of sodium. So we’re not quite sure that a similar effort from McDonald’s would tell a different story.

But in fairness to vegetarians everywhere who might like additional choices, this does appear to be an idea that McDonald’s should be willing to get behind. They may find that in 2014, a veggie burger might be more enthusiastically embraced than it was at the beginning of the new century. Times change and staying relevant requires the ability to change right along with them.

If you’d like to add your voice to Kathy Freston’s position, click here to sign: https://www.change.org/petitions/mcdonald-s-it-s-time-for-a-healthy-meatless-option

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/01/29/attention-mcdonalds-the-people-demand-mcveggie/

McDonald’s tells its employees not to eat McDonald’s

McDonald’s maintains a resource website specifically for its employees.  Sadly, that site has recently been giving tips lately that its employees haven’t exactly appreciated.  A few of the special nuggets of advice have been telling workers to work a second job and sell their belongings for quick cash.

But the latest advice given by the website is actually helpful — although odd, considering the source.  McDonald’s employee website is advising its workers not to eat McDonald’s.  Actually, it doesn’t refer specifically to McDonald’s, but does explain the unhealthy nature of a fast food meal … and tells workers to avoid such meals.

An image posted on the site labels a McDonald’s-like meal of hamburger, fries, and a coke as an “unhealthy choice,” and warns employees against consuming such foods, which are “almost always high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt.”

“It is hard to eat a healthy diet when you eat at fast-food restaurants often,” the site goes on to say. “Many foods are cooked with a lot of fat, even if they are not trans fats. Many fast-food restaurants do not offer any lower-fat foods. Large portions also make it easy to overeat. And most fast food restaurants do not offer many fresh fruits and vegetables.”

“In general,” the site suggests, “eat at places that offer a variety of salads, soups, and vegetables.”

In a statement made to CNBC, McDonald’s insisted the website’s tips “continue to be taken entirely out of context.”

Not exactly sure what could be “out of context” about advising employees that fast food is an unhealthy choice. FoodFacts.com thinks it’s actually very good advice.   We also think that perhaps this could have just been a big mix-up and the firm McDonald’s hired to publish content to their employee site didn’t actually realize that the content was, in fact, meant for the employees of a fast food chain.  There are any number of possibilities here.  But we think the obvious take away might just be that McDonald’s is trying to steer their own employees away from the products they serve every day.  Which, when it comes right down to it, really says a mouthful.

Mighty Wings, Mighty Flop????

In September, McDonald’s introduced Mighty Wings. These spicy snacks were originally expected to be a tremendous hit with consumers and add yet another category to the McDonald’s menu that would compete with wings sold in other fast food chains.

Unfortunately for McDonald’s things didn’t work out exactly as planned. It seems that as we move forward into 2014, the fast food giant has about 10 MILLION pounds of unsold Mighty Wings. McDonald’s is looking to dispose of this gargantuan inventory as quickly as possible.

10 million pounds is a lot of wings. So what exactly happened there, anyway?

McDonald’s purchased 50 million pounds of wings for it’s limited time product introduction. About 20% of that original inventory remains unsold. Consumers didn’t think the Mighty Wings were quite as mighty as McDonald’s had hoped.

While Mighty Wings reportedly tasted great, consumers apparently had a problem with what they may have considered a mighty price.

At more than $1 per wing for orders under 10 wings, the price “was not the most competitive,” Don Thompson, McDonald’s chief executive, told Bloomberg Businessweek. Three wings were sold for $3.69, five for $5.59 and 10 for $9.69. Three wings are barely a snack. A restaurant appetizer wing portion is usually six. And while you’re paying more than $3.69 for that appetizer — it isn’t fast food. Next, take into consideration that an order of 20 piece Chicken McNuggets is about $5.00 (depending on your location) and you can see why folks weren’t thrilled about paying close to $10.00 for 10 chicken wings.

In an attempt to sell 10 million pounds of wings, McDonald’s will now lower the price of Mighty Wings to $2.99 for three, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Even at a discount, that’s still a lot of wings to sell. FoodFacts.com really can’t imagine what 10 million pounds might actually look like. Especially frozen.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/mcdonalds-mighty-wings_n_4475103.html

See that frozen white slab coming out of that box???? That unappetizing icy block is the McDonald’s McRib!

Maybe we should coin a new phrase … Mc-Icky!

This year, McDonald’s has decided that it won’t be doing its usual national roll-out of the “beloved” McRib sandwich. It’s currently leaving it up to individual franchise owners to decide whether or not to include it on their menu.

We hear year after year after year how many millions of consumers are die-hard devotees of this strange and unusual “rib” sandwich. We must admit we don’t know any of these consumers personally. And we do have difficulty imagining the existence of a large army of people clamoring for this “rib that isn’t a real rib” sandwich. It is our guess that we’ll have a better read on how many devoted fans the McRib really has after the numbers of franchisees offering the sandwich at the end of 2013 is counted up. But we are guessing that the release of this photo picturing the raw, frozen McRib may have something to do with an unexpected downturn in that number.

Do you want to eat that?

We sure don’t! O.k. FoodFacts.com didn’t want to eat it before we saw that photo. That’s because we’re pretty well-versed in its contents. The ingredient list here is far from pretty:

Ingredients (78):
McRib Pork Patty (Pork, Water, Salt, Dextrose, BHA, BHT, Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid) , McRib Bun (Flour Enriched [Wheat Flour Bleached, Barley Malted Flour, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)] , Water, Yeast, Corn Syrup High Fructose Contains 2% or less of the Following: (, Salt, Corn Meal, Wheat Gluten, Soybean(s) Oil, Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated and/or, Ammonium Sulfate, Calcium Propionate, Calcium Sulphate (Sulfate), Cottonseed Oil, Dextrose, Dough Conditioner(s) [Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Datem, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono-And Diglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzyme(s), Guar Gum, Calcium Peroxide] , Barley Malted Flour, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Sugar, Wheat Flour Cultured) , McRib Sauce (Water, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Tomato(es) Paste, Vinegar Distilled, Molasses, Flavor(s) Natural Smoke, Food Starch Modified, Salt, Sugar, Beet(s) Powder, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Onion(s) Powder, Sodium Benzoate, Soybean(s) Oil, Spice(s), Xanthan Gum, Pepper(s) Chili) , Pickle Slices (Cucumber(s), Water, Vinegar Distilled, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Alum, Potassium Sorbate, Flavor(s) Natural, Polysorbate 80, Turmeric Extractives) , Onion(s) Slivered

But now we have this pre-cooked visual to accompany this very disturbing ingredient list.

The image of this indistinguishable frozen white slab JUST HAS to turn at least some consumers off to the concept of consuming one sandwich that contains well over 70 ingredients (a whole host of them being REALLY bad), 26 grams of fat (including 50% of your RDI of saturated fat) and 980 mg of sodium.

Let’s face it, the McRib really never had anything going for it in terms of healthy eating. After the release of this image, honestly, it has even less.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/frozen-mcrib_n_4260461.html
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/11/mcdonalds-frozen-mcrib-photo-stirs-web-not-appetites/

9-year old calls out McDonald’s CEO, tells him his company is tricking kids

FoodFacts.com loves hearing stories about consumers making a real difference in the issues surrounding our food supply. We applaud nutritionally-conscious consumers who speak their mind and make their voices heard. And we especially applaud situations where those voices are coming to us loud and clear from the youngest generations. FoodFacts.com salutes those young people with the strength and courage to make their opinions count at early ages.

Recently, McDonalds CEO Don Thompson had the pleasure of being put on the spot by just such a nutrition-conscious consumer – 9 year-old Hannah Robertson from Oakbrook, Illinois. Hannah’s mom, Kia is a kid’s nutritional activist. She created an interactive children’s nutrition game called “Today I Ate a Rainbow”. Hannah’s apple didn’t fall far from Kia’s tree – Hannah stood up in front of the CEO of one of the wolrd’s biggest brands and gave him a piece of her mind at the McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting.
“There are things in life that aren’t fair — like when your pet dies,” said Hannah, who spoke with great confidence. “I don’t think it’s fair when big companies try to trick kids into eating food. It isn’t fair that so many kids my age are getting sick,” she said — blaming McDonald’s for unfairly targeting kids with advertisements for food that isn’t good for them.

Hannah ended her time-limited comments, made during the meeting’s question-and-answer session, by pointedly but politely asking: “Mr. Thompson, don’t you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and healthy life?”

Mr. Thompson responded to Hannah, telling her that McDonald’s doesn’t sell junk food and that his own kids eat McDonald’s.

He explained that he, too, watches what his kids eat. “We cook lots of fruits and veggies at home,” he said. He also noted that McDonald’s sells fruits (apple slices in kids meals) and veggies (including side salads on the Dollar Menu). He also said that McDonald’s recently began to sell fat-free chocolate milk. Mr. Thompson thanked Hannah for her comments and told her he thought it was great that she wants to eat more fruits and veggies.

His response to this brave and well spoken young girl was basically a non-response. But sadly for Mr. Thompson the issue of improving childhood nutrition and fighting childhood obesity isn’t going anywhere. And while FoodFacts.com understands that McDonald’s has tried to make changes to improve its menu … well, let’s just say that we’re not quite as concerned about the calorie count of their menu items as we are about what’s lurking in the ingredient lists of said menu items.

So, Mr. Thompson, we think you should listen to Hannah and avoid telling her that your company isn’t selling junk food. We actually think you might want to review the ingredient lists for some of your “healthier” menu items like the Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken or the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal. Then you should take a look at your company’s most popular children’s offering, Chicken McNuggets. Hannah has a point, Mr. Thompson. We think you should start listening.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2013/05/23/mcdonalds-ceo-don-thompson-childhood-nutrition/2355129/

Are calories the only thing we should be worrying about?

Today, Food Facts heard about the roll-out of McDonald’s “Favorites Under 400 calories promotion. As of today, you’ll be able to walk into your local McDonald’s and view signage listing the products on the McDonald’s menu that are under 400 calories each. The promotion has been timed around the Summer Olympics in London that begin with opening ceremonies this coming Friday, July 27th, 2012.

It’s no secret that McDonald’s came under fire for sponsoring the games. With obesity rates on the rise worldwide, folks in the medical profession as well as health advocates everywhere were questioning whether or not this particular company should be one of the “faces” of this ancient event that promotes athleticism and sportsmanship. So … it appears as though this was McDonald’s answer to its naysayers.

In the first place, it’s important to note that there aren’t really that many menu items on the “Favorites Under 400 Calories” list. And the products featured are single items – not meals. You won’t find a burger with fries and a coke on it. Instead, you’ll find a burger – a regular, small burger. We all know that’s not the burger most folks are ordering from their menu and that it’s fairly rare that anyone is going to order any burger without some sort of meal accompaniment.

But more importantly, Food Facts feels compelled to ask – just how are we defining healthy these days??? If an item is under 400 calories, does that actually make it desirable to eat? We don’t think so. And we wanted to take the time to point out some of the less-than-desirable ingredients you’ll find in a few of the products on the new McDonald’s list.

Filet O Fish sandwich: A few of the controversial ingredients you’ll find in this item are: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Barley Malted Flour, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Azodicarbonamide and Polydorbate 80. But it does come in at 380 calories.

 

Sausage McMuffin: The controversial ingredients for this product include: Barley Malted Flour, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, BHA, BHT, Caramel Color, Propyl Gallate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and Sodium Benzoate. But it’s on the list at 370 calories.

 

Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wrap: A few of the ingredients you may not want to consume include: Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Hyrolyzed Protein, Polysorbate 80, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil and Sodium Benzoate. This weighs in at 270 calories.

There are more products to examine and we’d like to encourage our blog followers to go into our database and search them out. You can find an image of the “Favorites Under 400 Calories” signage here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/mcdonalds-favorites-under-400-calories_n_1695885.html   Take a look inside these products that are being heralded as “better to eat” than the Big Mac and make some educated choices. And, more importantly, educate others about your own educated choices.

For some people, calories are a big concern. But Food Facts likes to think that if people understood the ingredient list, calories wouldn’t be the ONLY concern.

Read more about the McDonald’s “Favorites Under 400 Calories” promotion: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/07/23/low-cal-menu-mcdonalds-new-ploy-woo-its-critics
http://jezebel.com/5928496/mcdonalds-swears-its-a-perfectly-healthy-olympic-sponsor