David Green, Senior Vice-President of Marketing (USA), stated 'McDonald's food is nutritious' and 'healthy'. When asked what the company meant by 'nutritious' he said: 'provides nutrients and can be a part of a healthy balanced diet'. He admitted this could also apply to a packet of sweets [candy]. When asked if Coca Cola is 'nutritious' he replied that it is 'providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet'. He agreed that by his definition Coke is nutritious.
When asked to define 'junk food', Professor Wheelock (McDonald's consultant on nutrition) said it was 'whatever a person doesn't like' (in his case semolina). With disbelief mounting in the courtroom, Richard Rampton(McDonald's QC) intervened to say that McDonald's was not objecting to the description of their food as 'junk food'!
Peter Cox, (a Defence marketing expert) quoted from 'Behind the Arches', a book authorised by McDonald's in 1987, as evidence that McDonald's were engaged in 'a strategy of subversion' by trying to alter the dietary preferences of whole nations, 'very often for the worse'. The book states that, in Japan, McDonald's faced "a fundamental challenge of establishing beef as a common food". Their President, Den Fujita, said "the reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years"; "if we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blonde".
McDonald's began a major advertising campaign in the USA in 1987 which aimed "to neutralise the junk food misconceptions about McDonald's good food". An internal company memo, reporting on a high level meeting in March 1986 with public relations advisors prior to the advertising campaign, was read out in court. It states "McDonald's should attempt to deflect the basic negative thrust of our critics.....How do we do this? By talking 'moderation and balance'. We can't really address or defend nutrition. We don't sell nutrition and people don't come to McDonald's for nutrition".
Paul Preston, McDonald's UK President, said that if one million customers each bought a soft drink, he would not expect more than 150 cups to end up as litter. Photographs were then put to him, showing 27 pieces of McDonald's litter in one stretch of pavement alone (the company has over 600 stores in the UK and serves over a million customers each day).
In some countries the company has abandoned or limited the use of polystyrene packaging, in part because it is not biodegradable and takes up a lot of space in landfill sites. Ed Oakley (McDonald's UK) stated that there is "no landfill problem in the UK". Questioned as to whether he believes that "as long as there is room in the dumps, there is no problem with dumping lots of McDonald's waste in the ground?" Mr Oakley said "and everybody else's waste, yes, that is true". He said "I can see [the dumping of waste] to be a benefit, otherwise you will end up with lots of vast, empty gravel pits all over the country." Asked if he was "asserting it is an environmental benefit to dump waste in landfill sites" he stated "It could be"...."yes, it is certainly not a problem".
David Walker (the Chairman of McKey Foods, the sole supplier of McDonald's UK hamburgers) admitted that he had personally organised the direct import of the consignments of Brazilian beef for McDonald's UK stores in 1983/4. A letter from Mr Walker at the time was quoted in court. It revealed that the imports were a matter of great controversy. The letter stated that Prince Philip, the President of the World Wildlife Fund, had recently met George Cohon, President of McDonald's Canada, and had said: " 'So you are the people who are tearing down the Brazilian rainforests and breeding cattle' to which the reply was: 'I think you are mistaken', whereupon HRH said 'Rubbish' and stormed away". Following this, the letter stated that Fred Turner, the Chairman of the McDonald's Corporation, "issued a worldwide edict that no McDonald's plant was to use Brazilian beef". The same letter revealed that McDonald's UK had given Walker permission to use the Brazilian beef imports.
McDonald's claim that they do not use beef from cattle reared on recently deforested land. However, in his statement (which has been read out during the Trial, Ray Cesca (Director of Global Purchasing of the McDonald's Corporation) admits that when they opened stores in Costa Rica in 1970, they were using beef from cattle raised on ex-rainforest land, deforested in the 1950's and 1960's. In other words, some of it had been cleared less than 10 years earlier. McDonald's own definition of 'recently deforested' is unclear and seems to fluctuate between 10 and 25 years or "from the time that we arrive...in a country" (Gomez Gonzales, International Meat Purchasing Manager of the McDonald's Corporation).
McDonald's claim that they only use US-produced beef in the USA. However, during the Trial an extract from the TV documentary 'Jungleburger' was shown, in which McDonald's beef suppliers in Costa Rica stated that they also supplied beef for use by McDonald's in the USA.
Sid Nicholson, McDonald's UK Vice President, admitted that McDonald's set their starting rates for crew employees for most of the country "consistently either exactly the same as the minimum rates of pay set by the Wages Council or just a few pence over them". He agreed that for crew aged 21 or over the company "couldn't actually pay any lower wages without falling foul of the law". However, he said "I do not accept that McDonald's crew are low paid".
Mr Nicholson said the company was not anti-union and all staff had a right to join one. Under questioning he admitted that any McDonald's workers interested in union membership "would not be allowed to collect subscriptions...put up notices...pass out any leaflets...to organise a meeting for staff to discuss conditions at the store on the premises...or to inform the union about conditions inside the stores" (which would be deemed 'Gross Misconduct' and as such a 'summary sackable offence'). In fact, Mr Nicholson agreed, "they would not be allowed to carry out any overt union activity on McDonald's premises".
Jill Barnes, McDonald's UK Hygiene and Safety Officer, was challenged over a previously confidential internal report into the death by electrocution of Mark Hopkins in a Manchester store on October 12th 1992. It had catalogued a number of company failures and problems, and had made the damning conclusion: "Safety is not seen as being important at store level". In addition, a Health & Safety Executive report of 1992 concluded: "the application of McDonald's hustle policy [ie. getting staff to work at speed] in many restaurants was, in effect, putting the service of the customer before the safety of employees".
Ed Oakley (Chief Purchasing Officer for McDonald's UK) claimed that the company "had a very real feeling that animals should be kept and slaughtered in the most humane way possible" and so had published an animal welfare statement two years ago. When questioned about this so-called policy Mr Oakley admitted that the "animal welfare policy is, in fact, just a policy to comply with the laws of the various countries in which McDonald's operate", and added "we do not go beyond what the law stipulates".
McDonald's have refused to call their own expert witness on food poisoning, Colin Clarke, who prepared a detailed report following a visit he made to three company stores. The court heard that, regarding the cooking of hamburgers (which he had tested), Mr Clark in his statement "recommends that 73 degrees C be the internal minimum temperature of the final product, and that their temperatures were not reaching that in all cases. The minimum was, in fact, 70 degrees C."