ADVERTISEMENTS for McDonald's Chicken McNuggets were branded "misleading" by a United States scientific watchdog, the High Court was told yesterday, writes Danny Penman.
A letter from the US attorney-general's office in New York State to McDonald's was disclosed to the court by two environmentalists accused of libelling the company. McDonald's has accused Dave Morris and Helen Steel, from Tottenham, north London, of writing, publishing and distributing a leaflet claiming the fast-food chain was responsible for acts of environmental vandalism and produced food which causes cancer and heart disease.
In the letter, dated 6 September 1985, Stephen Mindell, assistant state attorney-general, said the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) contended that certain statements contained in McDonald's advertisements were false and misleading.
"Specifically, CSPI alleges that the advertising claim 'only delicious chunks of juicy breast and thigh meat go into Chicken McNuggets' is false because, in fact, the chicken meat is mixed with chicken skin and McNuggets are cooked in high-fat beef lard which is absorbed into the chicken."
Cross-examined by Ms Steel on why McDonald's did not improve nutritional content, John Horwitz, the American company's assistant general counsel, said: "We are not a health store - that's not what we do."
The case continues.