McDonald's Continue to Deceive Their Customers
in defiance of UK High Court Ruling

McLibel Support Campaign

21st January 1998

Processed fast food such as hamburgers, coke and fries (the typical McDonald's meal) are obviously of poor nutritional quality, high in fat (especially saturated fat) salt and sugar, and low in fibre and vitamins. The UK High Court ruled that McDonald's food was, as a whole, 'high in fat and saturated fat and animal products and sodium', and that company 'advertisements, promotions and booklets have pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which McDonald's food...did not match'. The judge also concluded that those 'who eat McDonald's food several times a week will take the very real risk of heart disease [and possibly cancer] if they continue to do so throughout their lives, encouraged by company advertising'.

McDonald's, for example in New Zealand, continue to deceive the public about the supposed healthfulness of their food products and meals. For example, in the McDonald's New Zealand customer leaflets:'Nutrition' and 'Nutrition For Kids', the recent 'Nutritional Value Of Our Food' charts omit information on the saturated fat content, and the following claims and points are subtly made, creating a deceptive impression:

'Food's main purpose is to feed our body and keep us healthy', 'McDonald's can be part of anyone's balanced diet', 'We all know that good food contributes to a balnced diet - it keeps us healthy and strong', 'you and you family can choose widely and wisely from our menu for each of your important meals of the day', 'McDonald's understand that Kiwis [New Zealanders] have grown up eating good quality, fresh food. Why change a good thing? [Why, indeed?!] Our nation of healthy children and talented and accomplished sporting figures attest to the tradition that McDonald's is committed to fostering and enhancing at every opportunity' [!!!]. They describe their main meal processed products as 'a delicious and nutritious burger or sandwich' [despite most of them having huge fat, saturated fat and salt content].

But a revealing paragraph explodes their propaganda: 'At McDonald's we are committed to providing the best food possible. We have made ongoing and substantial improvements to our menu over the past decade. These have included: reducing salt and sugar contents of many products, using natural colourings and natural preservatives whenever possible, adding calcium to our buns.' Its an admission that they can't get away from the fact that their products have to be judged on their nutritional content - and the verdict is 'guilty'.

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