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28/02/03 . n/a . Reuters . United Kingdom  
Hold your fries - fresh fruit is coming to McDonald's  
LONDON (Reuters) - How about a Big Mac with apples and grapes instead of the usual fatty French fries?  

Fast-food giant McDonald's announced on Friday that from April it will sell fresh fruit at its restaurants in Britain -- a world-first for the chain more normally associated with burgers and shakes.

A bag of sliced apples and grapes will be offered along with the traditional fare of Big Macs, French fries and Chicken McNuggets.

The 59 pence bag can be ordered separately or as a substitute for the fries sold in children's "Happy Meals".

"Tastes are always changing and these changes to McDonald's menu aim to provide our customers with even more choice," said Mike Scott, head of national marketing for McDonald's.

The introduction of fruit to the menu comes after McDonald's posted its first loss in January and after it was taken to court for allegedly making children obese with its food.

McDonald's said the 80g bag was equivalent to one of the Department of Health's five-a-day recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

A U.S. court threw out a lawsuit against McDonald's in January alleging that its food was making children obese.

The judge said the plaintiffs failed to show that customers were unaware that eating to much McDonald's fare could be unhealthy.

But food experts said the hamburger giant's latest offering was an attempt by McDonald's to counter criticism about a possible link between fast food and growing levels of obesity.

"While anything that promotes fruit to children is welcome, it remains to be seen how McDonald's markets this product and whether they put as much effort into it with their other products," Kath Dalmeny, research officer at the Food Commission, an independent group campaigning for healthier food, told Reuters.

The proportion of obese people in Britain has risen dramatically in the past 20 years and obesity in children is now seen as a health crisis.  
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